PennDOT District 6 developed a multi-agency partnership in alignment with PennDOT Connects that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRCP) calls the "Bicycle Friendly Resurfacing Program."
Upon elimination of the Bicycle Occupancy Permit, PennDOT now uses Letters of Agreement with municipalities where bicycle lanes will be installed. This change increases municipal interest by lessening the perception of liability in relation to winter maintenance. (Municipalities are responsible for design, installation and maintenance of bicycle lanes in most instances.)
To encourage more municipal interest in bicycle facilities, PennDOT District 6 worked with DVRPC, county planners from the four suburban counties, and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia to get regional support for Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality(CMAQ) funding through the regional Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) to support bicycle lane designs on state highways scheduled for resurfacing.
Roads on the District's Five-Year Resurfacing Plan are initially screened and prioritized by DVRPC with input from suburban county planning commissions and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia. PennDOT then performs a more thorough screening of the priority locations, while planners initiate a dialog with municipalities on their interest in bicycle facilities and commitment to maintain them..
PennDOT oversees the CMAQ-funded engineering consultant that designs the bicycle facilities. If an agreement is reached, PennDOT implements the bicycle facilities during the resurfacing project and the municipality agrees to maintain the bicycle facilities until the next resurfacing cycle. PennDOT also agrees to install any necessary supplemental signing, and the municipality agrees to maintain the signs.
This "Bicycle Friendly Resurfacing Program" has produced an effective partnership with all entities invested in the deployment and maintenance of enhanced bicycle facilities at priority locations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
The Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia recently reported in their blog that through this process, Philadelphia's suburbs will see an 18% increase in bike lanes. That's about six miles of new bike lanes in the counties that surround Philadelphia.
Photo: On December 8, 2017, Secretary Richards joined local officials, planning partners and bike advocates at the Thorndale Train Station on Business U.S. 30 to mark the completion of new bike lanes on three suburban state highways in southeastern Pennsylvania.