Tuesday, October 15, 2013

PennDOT Extends Susquehanna Rd Bike Lanes in Montgomery County

In 2010 PennNDOT added bike lanes to Susquehanna Rd from Twining Rd in Upper Dublin Township to Hillside Cemetery in Abington Township. And while we noted that some elements of those bike lanes did not meet AASHTO design guidelines, it did represent one of PennDOT's first significant efforts to put bike lanes on suburban roads. (The same project also created bike lanes on Old Baltimore Pike in Chester County and the signed Bicyclists Baltimore Pike Bike Route in Delaware County.)
New bike lanes on Susquehanna Rd. (photo: Steve Spindler)

Now PennDOT has extended those bike lanes to Route 611 (Old York Rd), meaning those bike lanes really go somewhere. They now connect to Highland Ave (a bikeable street parallel to Route 611), providing access to Abington Hospital and Jenkintown.

As trails and transportation planner Mike Szilagyi stated on the Biking the Suburbs Facebook group - "Until recently, the stretch of Susquehanna Road from Easton Road to Old York Rd was "sort of" striped as a four lane road, the result being some motorists forcing the issue (speeding and passing where they shouldn't). The new striping will have ONE lane in each direction, with left turn lanes at intersections, and bike lanes. A big improvement."

The bike lanes were actually put in before Abington accepted a Bikeway Occupancy Permit (the Township has tabled a resolution to sign the permit) which is contrary to PennDOT's policy. Additionally the agreement prescribes that the Township also take the maintenance responsibility for the original section of bike lanes up to the Upper Dublin Township Line. At the time of construction PennDOT did not require Abington or Upper Dublin to sign one.

This disconnect may be due to the informal policy procedure that PennDOT has for signing of a BOP, which was first referenced in 2006. We only know of one road segment where the municipality actually signed an agreement. Last year the Borough of Trainer signed a BOP for a one mile stretch of bike lanes on US 13 as part of the East Coast Greenway.