Delaware County Council Candidate Questionnaire - October 2011
Over the last decade, significant numbers of residents in suburban Philadelphia have switched over to using their bike to commute to work. Between 2000 and 2009, the percentage of bike commuters grew by 488% in Chester County, 126% in Delaware County, 84% in Montgomery County and 67% in Bucks.
Despite this growth, bicycle facilities in these counties have lagged behind in Philadelphia. An onerous PennDOT regulation called the Bicycle Occupancy Permit (BOP) causes municipalities to be unwilling to agree to allow bike lanes on state roads. Consequently, there are only 14 miles of bike lanes in the four counties, as opposed to over 200 in Philadelphia. The Bicycle Coalition is working to remove this regulatory obstacle to help promote the development of more bicycle facilities in suburban counties.
1. Would you support completing the region’s Trail Network by funding projects that would complete the East Coast Greenway and the Chester Creek Trail in Delaware County and study the Valley Forge to Heinz Refuge Trail?
Yes. I am a proponent of bicycle trails and have participated in the planning and development of recreational bike and pedestrian trails. We have added sharrows to some roads to show this support of biking. I come from a place where pedestrian and bike travel are encouraged. Lansdowne is committed to improving these forms of transportation. Our part of the county is dense and car travel often results in traffic congestion. Encouraging bike travel with appropriate street markings and handy bike racks could have a positive impact not only on the environment and health of participants but on the economic revitalization effort as well. When people bicycle or walk throughout the county they actually see things motorists miss. Businesses would benefit from increased bike and pedestrian travel through increased visibility. I would support duplicating Lansdowne’s effort throughout the county where ever appropriate. The value of multi modal travel much exceeds any potential liability foreshadowed by the Bicycle Occupancy Permit.( a frivolous piece of legislation)
2. Would you support devoting more federal and state transportation funds to bicycle and pedestrian projects?
Absolutely, pedestrian and bike travel improvements will positively impact the environment and the economy. I believe in the concept of “Complete the Streets”. All forms of transportation should be able to share our streets. Every effort should be made to offer alternatives where appropriate and where it can be done in a safe manner. Supporting multi modal transportation takes into account the variety of transportation methods available and encourages better use of resources. PennDot administers the federal funding for the “Safe Routes to Schools” program. Any infrastructure improvement that makes it safer for children to walk or bike to school improves conditions for all citizens. As a member of County Council I would encourage our many school districts to explore this funding source to make bike and pedestrian travel safer for all.
3. Would you support implementing the Delaware County bicycle plan through PennDOT’s resurfacing projects?
Yes. When projects from the Transportation Improvement Plan come to the shovel ready stage is the time to step in and include bicycle traffic. Transportation Enhancement funding should sought for bicycle/ pedestrian projects Bicycle and pedestrian travel should be encouraged through the creation of safe trails. The Delco Bicycle Plan is an achievable project with the support of municipal and county decision makers committed to this vision. The visual promotion of bike and pedestrian travel will do much to encourage others to adopt those means of travel when ever they can. Reduced car congestion is just one outcome; overall improvement of public health would also be a benefit. County Council is in a position to encourage municipal partnerships with PennDot. Any resurfacing projects scheduled in the county should factor in the bicycle plan to make the best use of resources.