Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Upper Darby Study Recommends Center Median Bikeway On West Chester Pike

Upper Darby Township held a public meeting to discuss its draft plan for the West Chester Pike Traffic, Parking and Streetscape Improvements Study. The study examines the street between Bywood Road and St. Laurence Road, a distance of just under one mile.

West Chester Pike as it appears today (photo: Google Street View)
Proposed street layout for median bikeway

A key component to the plan was a complete streets analysis (you can see that analysis at the bottom of this post) which looked at three options for the bikeway:
  1. Standard bike lanes next to parking;
  2. Two-way sidepath distinct from the sidewalk;
  3. Center median bikeway.
The center media bikeway ended up being the preferred layout. The standard bike lane option conflicted with parked cars and bus stops. The two-way sidepath would push the vehicular travel lanes towards the center, removing most or all of the center median. That media was a characteristic of the road that residents wanted preserved.

Upper Darby Public Works is taking written comments on the projects using this form and survey. You can fax your comments to 610-734-7775 (put "RE: West Chester Pike Study" on the cover) or mail it to:

Submit Comments and the survey to:
Upper Darby Township
Department of Public Works
100 Garrett Rd, Room 301
Upper Darby, PA 19082

The next step for the plan will be to present the plan to the Township Council, who will need to adopt it. It will be up to the residents to push for its implementation.

Using the median on West Chester Pike as a transportation corridor has been kicked around for years. In 2007 DVRPC conducted a feasibility study of making the median into a dedicated busway. The study recommended against it, citing insufficient bus traffic, pinch points and problematic left turn lanes. A bikeway that extends beyond Upper Darby could have similar challenges, but the implementation of this plan could become a pilot for such a facility.

West Chester Pike Complete Streets Analysis by John Boyle


Peter said...

How do you get get onto and off of the path, or make turns? Are you limited to only a few turns at lights with a bike-only signal?

Unknown said...

This is exciting! As an Upper Darby native, and someone who still has lots of family in the township, I'm looking forward to seeing this in action.

I'd also really like to see some attention to the Garrett Road corridor. I think that's actually a higher priority than the West Chester Pike area, because there are large sections of it that are already bikeable. You can use Bywood & Hillcrest Sts. to parallel Garrett, but around the parks and highschools you have to merge. Connecting something through the Prendie/Bonner field and Naylor's Run park could really help this. I also think at the far end that connecting Garrettford area to Westbrook Park area would be relatively doable, by just taking some width out of some of the lanes of that little mini-highway that Garrett turns into. A protected bike lane with a barrier could be made.

And the township needs to focus more on how to connect north-south along roads to the trolleys. Growing up, I knew that the trolley was going to be a way better bet to get somewhere than the buses near my house, but it meant walking farther. Doing a road diet on Lansdowne Avenue, maybe adding some protective bumpouts with bike lanes around the S-curve on Shadeland Avenue to slow people on the turns, and better signaling/road diets to help crossing of State Road would really help to connect that corridor.

So exciting!