Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan Sur­vey an­nounced

The Southern Berks News - - FEATURES - From Michael D. Golem­biewski

Trans­porta­tion of­fi­cials are try­ing to re­duce bar­ri­ers to walk­ing and bi­cy­cling in Berks County and are look­ing for your in­put about the best ways to achieve those goals.

In June of this year, the Berks County Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, con­vened by the Read­ing Area Trans­porta­tion Study (RATS), be­gan pre­par­ing the draft Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan.

This doc­u­ment, once adopted, will guide mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, de­vel­op­ers, non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tions, Pen­nDOT and the pub­lic in de­vel­op­ing, pro­mot­ing and en­hanc­ing the bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian in­fra­struc­ture net­work in Berks County.

In one way or an­other, many of us have the op­por­tu­nity to walk or bike on a daily ba­sis. We travel back and forth to work, school, shop­ping, med­i­cal ap­point­ments, bus stops or re­cre­ation ac­tiv­i­ties. Many of those trips are short dis­tance trips that are now, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons, made by car in­stead of on foot or by bike. For many peo­ple in our area, trav­el­ling by foot or bi­cy­cle is their only way to get around.

“Re­duc­ing the num­ber of those short trips would go a long way in im­prov­ing road­way con­ges­tion, air qual­ity, and the over­all health of the com­mu­nity,” said Michael D. Golem­biewski, a trans­porta­tion plan­ner with the Berks County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion.

The process of de­vel­op­ing the Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan started in June, 2018, with the con­ven­ing of the Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee.

Mem­bers of the Com­mit­tee were selected to rep­re­sent users of the walk­ing and bi­cy­cling net­work and in­cluded rep­re­sen­ta­tives of Berks County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion and Parks De­part­ment, Alver­nia Uni­ver­sity, Read­ing Re­cre­ation Com­mis­sion, Spring Town­ship, Wy­omiss­ing and West Read­ing bor­oughs, Schuylkill River Her­itage As­so­ci­a­tion, Berks Na­ture, the Berks County Bi­cy­cle Club, and oth­ers.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers met in June and Oc­to­ber to kick-off the process to eval­u­ate a range of op­tions for im­prov­ing and ex­pand­ing the bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian net­work through­out Berks County.

The re­sults of the Com­mit­tee’s work will be in­cor­po­rated into the draft Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan ten­ta­tively slated for re­lease in Fall, 2019. The over­all goal of this Plan is to make rec­om­men­da­tions that will ul­ti­mately re­sult in im­prove­ments to the County’s bi­cy­cle and pedes­trian in­fra­struc­ture.

An on­line sur­vey (https://www.sur­vey­mon­key.com/r/Berk­s_BikePed_Sur­vey) has been cre­ated to gauge the pub­lic’s per­cep­tions and ex­pe­ri­ences in walk­ing and bi­cy­cling in Berks County. A Span­ish-lan­guage sur­vey (https://www.sur­vey­mon­key.com/r/Berk­s_BikePed_Sur­vey-Span­ish) is also avail­able.

Th­ese sur­veys will be avail­able un­til Jan­uary 25, 2019, af­ter which re­sponses will be tal­lied and the Com­mit­tee will be­gin draft­ing rec­om­men­da­tions that will take sur­vey re­sponses into ac­count. Pa­per sur­veys may be ob­tained from the Plan­ning Com­mis­sion by call­ing 610-478-6300 or by stop­ping by our of­fices at 633 Court Street, 14th Floor, Read­ing, PA.

The Read­ing Area Trans­porta­tion Study (RATS) is the fed­er­ally des­ig­nated Metropoli­tan Plan­ning Or­ga­ni­za­tion for Berks County. It is charged with as­sess­ing the trans­porta­tion needs of our area (both high­way and pub­lic trans­porta­tion), pre­par­ing the Long Range Trans­porta­tion Plan and the Trans­porta­tion Im­prove­ment Pro­gram. Ad­di­tion­ally, RATS pre­pares a va­ri­ety of in­di­vid­ual stud­ies that help to for­mu­late the Long Range Trans­porta­tion Plan and Trans­porta­tion Im­prove­ment Pro­gram. Th­ese plans then guide the ac­tiv­i­ties of the Penn­syl­va­nia De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion and BARTA.

Copies of the cur­rent Bi­cy­cle and Pedes­trian Trans­porta­tion Plan can be found on the Berks County Plan­ning Com­mis­sion’s web­site (www. co.berks.pa.us/plan­ning), or may be re­quested by phone at 610-478-6300 or email at plan­[email protected]­tyof berks.com.

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