Wednesday, July 21, 2004

PennDOT's broken promises
1 - The Bicycle and Pedestrian Checklist: Introduced in 2001 and routinely ignored since. Excellent resource to assure that bicycles and pedestrians are included in transportation planning. Recent checklist training may help but considering that the sessions were voluntary and not attended by many of PennDOT's contractors means that advocates will have to keep the pressure for quite some time before we see results.

2 The Springfield Rail Trail: PennDOT ignores question 1 of the Checklist in the route 309 reconstruction project Is the transportation facility included in or related to bicycle and pedestrian facilities identified in a master plan? Intead of designing the road in harmony with the plan PennDOT instead opts to ask ambivolent politicians in power if they could simply fill it in. 

Recent easing of environmental regulations allows PennDOT to bypass Environmental Impact Statement, which would have likely caught the error since it is reviewed by FHWA.  The subsititute Categorical Exclusion document does not even mention that such a plan exists, calling it simply the "Conrail line".

3 - Route 413 Streetscape Project: Promised bike lanes for this road were dropped, dozens of nasty commercial driveways remain, ironically it was selected as a segment for Bicycle PA Route E.

4 - Bicyclists Baltimore Pike: Local elected official opposes minor changes on Providence Road in his tiny borough. Despite the fact that Providence is a state road, PennDOT quickly caves in and puts the project on indefinite hold.

5 - Line Striping Contract: This was an ambitious plan drafted by PennDOT planners to stripe bike lanes on state roads if there is sufficient room as part of the routine resurfacing program. To date there is no evidence that this plan is being honored by PennDOT maintenance. 

  • A 300K Contract was awarded in 2003, the contract was a watered down version of the plan that simply would have looked at shoulder paving opportunities. 
  • Program was cancelled and instead resurfacing plans were supposed to be reviewed by DVRPC's bike/ped planner.
  • PennDOT is currently working through their 2004 paving schedule, they did not consult DVRPC for bike lane striping opportunities.