Thursday, August 02, 2012

Bucks County Planning Commission Bashes Their Own Bike Plan

According to this article in, the Bucks County Planning Commission was presented a draft of the Bucks County Bicycle Plan on August 1st and apparently was met with scepticism and little support.

The writer of the article staked his perspective on the story with the first two sentences:
"It’s estimated that fewer than 1 percent of Bucks County residents get to work on a bicycle.
But that might be more than enough for the rest of us driving on the road."

The plan is the result of a $80,000 project three years in the making and counting. The process included several public meetings and was put online for public comment and highlighted on our blog in March 2011. We don't quite understand why it took so long for the plan to be presented to the Commission, but the real disappointment was the battery of redundant, negative and irrelevant comments of planning commissioners amplified by the County's intention to not implement the plan.

Commissioner Nyman - “They’re ignoring the right of way. They’re not stopping at stop signs.”*
Commissioner Peirce - “If people on bicycles are breaking rules of the road, then how do we identify them?”

Executive Director Bush - "The county has no intention of building a bike trail or labeling any of those routes for cycling at this time".

So here we go again; when presented with a professionally prepared plan that focuses on infrastructure, individual commissioners take the opportunity to share their gripe with scofflaw cyclists. Was there any constructive criticism of the plan? Any positive input about livable communities? I have yet to see any governing body critique PENNDOT highway plans because motorists ignore speed limits and yield signs. I expect this level of conversation in the Phillyburbs comments section but not among a body that has charge over transportation and land use planning.  It's even more disappointing because Bucks lags behind other suburban counties in terms of bicycle commuters, bike/ped projects and trail miles.  Of all the counties, Bucks is the one that can least afford this kind of attitude.

What about motorists breaking the law? Route 413 in Plumstead Township where cyclist John Chapman was killed by a hit and run driver while standing off the side of the road in the Fall of 2011.

The article did not indicate whether a recommendation was made by the commission, although it does quote planner Dave Johnson who stated that the a final draft for County approval could be packaged as early this fall.

Bicycle facilities have scored very high on several municipal recreational and open space surveys (e.g. Plumstead Township) and have a high return on investment. Let's hope that Bucks County moves forward by adopting and implementing its bicycle plan.

*Note Commissioner Nyman has stated that he had been misquoted in the linked news article.


Andrew J. Besold said...

Wow! With attitudes and comments like that, I'll make sure to spend my money of the Jersey side of the Delaware when I occasionally cross the river on my rides in Hunterdon County.