PENNDOT's Deputy Chief Director of Transportation Affairs Bruce Armstrong announced today that the agency will be kicking off an ambitious 5 year plan to make every state road in Pennsylvania a "Complete Street" by the year 2014.
Nicknamed the "Amsterdam Project" Penndot will simply be shifting funding set aside for highway expansion to bikeway and sidewalk planning and construction.
Armstrong said that reallocating the state's dwindling transportation funds will create more construction jobs per dollar than the big highway projects and will eventually give every Pennsylvanian the ability to safely walk or bike to any place that they choose to go.
PENNDOT believes that the retrofit, along with a vigorous safety campaign will for the first time create a significant reduction in the number of bicyclists and pedestrians killed or injured on the state highway system and will contribute to the states plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
The State Health Department agrees. Dr. Sarah Breen Minick, Assistant to the State Surgeon General believes that the expected reduction in vehicle miles traveled will reduce the negative effects of asthma on the young and elderly alike. And that improving the infrastructure for bicyclists and pedestrians will encourage Pennsylvanians to get active. Dr. Minick notes that physical inactivity is a major contributing factor for obesity and its associated health problems of diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.