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The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Talks to GVF About its Advocacy Efforts – Part 2

As we navigate this new world, GVF is always looking to provide its partners with the latest mobility programs and resources. If you would like to discuss your organizations future transportation options, contact us today.

May is National Bike Month and GVF is continuing to celebrate virtually. Our second Wellness Wednesday webinar saw close to 40 attendees. This is the second part to the previous article “The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia Talks to GVF About its Advocacy Efforts.”

Lou Savastani, Chair, Bike Montgomery County and Adam Supplee, Landscape Architect/Planner at Traffic, Planning and Design are active members of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. They spoke during the webinar about bike initiatives they are involved in with the coalition. Below are highlights.

Lou shared updates on two major projects the coalition is spearheading. The Cross-County Trail and the Mainline Greenway. The Cross-County trail is a primary trail network for Montgomery County. Unfortunately, it is very disconnected and still requires a lot of work.

When completed the trail will provide:

  • 17.5 miles in length

  • Will connect Schuylkill River Trail to:

  • Wissahickon Green Ribbon Trail

  • Pennypack Trail

  • Forbidden Drive

  • Provide access to:

  • Fort Washington State Park

  • Morris Arboretum

  • Fairmount Park

A feasibility study was completed 5 years ago for a section of the trail located in Plymouth Meeting. However, nothing has been done since the study. To educate and gain community advocates, the coalition has put together the Circuit Action Team. To get involved with the Circuit Action Team click here.

The Main Line Greenway project is a vision for a healthier, more connected, and sustainable Main Line. Greenways are corridors of land recognized for their ability to connect people and places together. These ribbons of open space are located within linear corridors that are either natural, such as rivers and streams, or man made, such as abandoned railroad beds and utility corridors.

The Mainline Greenway will utilize low stress roads in Montgomery County to connect:

  • The Cynwyd Heritage trail

  • The Schuylkill River Trail

  • Transit stations

  • Arboretum and parks

  • Schools and colleges

The benefits of creating a greenway over a trail is that existing infrastructure can be utilized. This can be done through mostly signage and road paint. Expenses come only when changes are needed at pinch points, but construction is still cheaper than the construction of trails.

The coalition has created the Mainline Greenway Working Group to build excitement within the community and increase the number of advocates for the project. If you are interested in learning more about the Mainline Greenway, click here.

During Adam’s presentation, he shared insight on social distancing precautions people should take when using trails. When walking, biking, or jogging on trails being 6 feet apart is not enough. He stated that individuals should try to stay at least 33 feet apart when slow biking and at least 65 feet apart when fast biking. It is also encouraged that people utilize local trails that are less known to avoid overcrowding.

Adam discussed how sudden change brings opportunity and since the stay-at-home order was put in place we have seen:

  • Bikeshare demand spiked

  • Increased bike usage for transportation

An opportunity that came from the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, trail usage has increased by 100 to 200% in some areas, which has made it challenging to practice proper required social distancing. In response, Montgomery County Planning Commission has developed a new Web app to empower residents to walk, jog, run, and bicycle on neighborhood streets and local roads.

The app, based on an analysis from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), features an interactive map that highlights the thousands of miles of local streets throughout the county that are considered low-stress and which can be used comfortably by bicyclists and pedestrians. The public can enter their address to find a suitable network near where they live and will discover that many of these streets start right in their own neighborhood! Click here to view the map.

Adam stated that now is the time to look for opportunities to make greater connections for bicyclists in our communities. With low parking need and traffic, pop up bike lanes are easy to assemble and test out, to prove they can work within Montgomery County. By making these connections people will be more inclined to leave their homes, travelling via bike instead of driving alone.

Check out Bike Montgomery County Facebook page for the latest news and ways to get involved.

GVF looks forward to continuing to work with the Bicycle Coalition for Greater Philadelphia and Bike Montgomery, advocating together for safer, re-imagined roadways and transportation networks.

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