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Planning Commission

This is the official blog of the Montgomery County Planning Commission.

Jan 28

Check out What’s Been Happening with "Bike Montco" and What’s Planned for 2019!

Posted on January 28, 2019 at 4:23 PM by Rita McKelvey

Bike lane

 In August 2018, the Montgomery County Commissioners officially adopted Bike Montco: The Bicycle plan for Montgomery County. Through much of the fall, MCPC staff went out to a half-dozen meetings and events throughout the county to educate local officials and the public about the plan. 

While the primary focus of the plan is the creation of physically tangible on-street bicycle facilities, similar to those common in Philadelphia and elsewhere in the United States, Bike Montco is so much more: 

  • It is developing new relationships with law enforcement to ensure that laws related to bicycling are properly interpreted and that crashes involving bicyclists are well recorded. 
  • It is working with underserved and lower-income communities to make sure that bicycles and bicycle infrastructure are readily available to those who could benefit from this low-cost form of transportation the most and also encouraging them to ride. 
  • It is educating the public and cyclists and non-cyclists alike about the rights and responsibilities of cyclists and the rules that help maximize on-road bicycle safety. This will include school children as part of our ongoing countywide Safe Routes to School (SRTS) efforts. 
  • The plan also looks to promote bicycle usage, including electric assist bicycles, as a means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental sustainability goals. 
  • And finally, Bike Montco will promote the bicycle as an economic generator. This will be done by helping local municipalities create highly desirable communities where the bicycle is a practical transportation choice, by encouraging and helping businesses to become more bike friendly, and by, where signed, creating scenic bicycle routes that attract tourists to visit our county and support our local economy.

Bike Montco is a major plan that will involve many partners. It will take years to realize; not everything can be achieved at once. Here are some of the projects MCPC will be working on in 2019:

  • We will be working to develop a county Complete Streets Policy by early fall 2019 to ensure that all users are considered when Montgomery County plans improvements to its 75 miles of county-owned roads.
  • We will continue to work with DVRPC and the PennDOT Connects program to construct, where feasible, bicycle lanes, shoulder improvements, and other bicycle amenities during the 2019 repaving schedule. We have several candidates on the Bike Montco proposed bicycle network that we hope to see completed this year, and the possibility exists that we may have another chance for a bike lane project or two in 2019.
  • We are constantly reviewing TIP projects with PennDOT and its contract engineers to ensure that bicycle and pedestrian improvements are incorporated where warranted and/or are a part of the Bike Montco bicycle network.
  • We will be looking to facilitate the establishment of a community bike shop in an underserved community in the county. Such a shop would be similar to “Bike and Sol” in East Greenville and/or “Neighborhood Bike Works” serving the West Powelton neighborhood of Philadelphia.  These shops typically offer “Earn a Bike” classes where kids fix used, donated bikes and get to keep them when they are done. This program helps to teach basic mechanical and self-reliance skills. Some of the bikes they help repair are then sold at affordable prices to local members of the community. Other programs include “Adult Open Shop Nights,” where local adult residents can fix their bikes using free tools and buy parts at a discounted rate. Preliminary talks with potential partners have been very exciting and show real promise.
  • We will be looking to work with both the Partnership Transportation Management Association (TMA) and they Greater Valley Forge TMA (GVF) on encouraging communities, employers, and universities/colleges to apply for “Bicycle Friendly Status” with the League of American Bicyclists (LAB). If this is something your town or business would like to achieve, please feel free to contact Andrew Besold at abesold@montcopa.org.
  • In a few weeks, we will be starting work on developing several signed bicycle tourism routes throughout the county with the help of the Valley Forge Tourism and Convention Board.
  • We will be planning two bicycle rodeos in mid-April and/or early May in schools where MCPC is currently conducting SRTS efforts.
  • We will continue to work with local communities and MCPC community planners to facilitate bicycle and pedestrian amenities and ordinances when the opportunity arises. 
  • Finally, if time allows this year, we may seek “Bicycle Friendly Community” status for the whole of Montgomery County through the League of American Bicyclists. We may also seek “Bicycle Friendly Business” status through LAB for Montgomery County Courthouse complex offices at One Montgomery Plaza.

The future looks bright for bicycling in Montgomery County. With the Bike Montco plan serving as the official playbook, we hope that Montgomery County will continue to evolve as a bike-friendly place in just a few short years.



Aug 29

Bike Montco is Now Official

Posted on August 29, 2018 at 12:06 PM by Troy Woodyard

Bike Montco


 On Thursday, August 9, the Montgomery County Commissioners unanimously adopted Bike Montco, Montgomery County’s Bicycle Master Plan.  The plan has been in the works for nearly two years and is the culmination of the hard work of Montgomery County Planning Commission (MCPC) Staff, the 40 members of the steering committee, and over 2000 individuals who gave public comments.

The vision of Bike Montco is that “In Montgomery County, bicycling will be a fundamental part of daily life where all bicyclists can enjoy a safe, convenient ride every time they put a foot on a pedal.”  To do this Bike Montco takes a multi-disciplinary approach that includes the  themes of Connected Communities, Education and Enforcement, Equity, Health and Environmental Sustainability, Safety and a Vibrant Economy.

The core of the plan is the proposed Bike Montco Network which will include strategic on-road bicycle improvements that will improve connections between residential communities, schools, village centers, parks, business centers, and the county trail system.  In addition, the proposed network will provide links between residential areas that can often feel like bicycling islands, with the broader community.

The Network will take years to develop, as much of it will be built as roadways  throughout the county are repaved and upgraded.  However, even in draft form, the Network has  proven to be valuable when asking  for bicycle specific improvements in dozens of PennDOT, County and even private development projects.

The Bike Montco Plan and the Network can be found on our website at the following address:  www.montcopa.org/bikemontco.com

This fall MCPC staff will be taking the Bike Montco road show out to our municipalities.  We will be giving Bike Montco presentations to each of the 4 regional planning committees in the western half of the county and at 3 additional events in the eastern half with the goal of explaining the plan and its vision. The dates will be posted on www.montcopa.org/bikemontco as they are scheduled.

Looking to read more?  Earlier in the month articles appeared on philly.com and WHYY/NPR about Bike Montco’s adoption.

Jun 08

What Is Bike Montco?

Posted on June 8, 2018 at 4:04 PM by Rita McKelvey

Illustration of bicyclists riding
What Is Bike Montco? 


If you ask anyone about bicycling in Montgomery County often people will go on about how they love the Schuylkill River, Pennypack, and Perkiomen Trails. That’s great! We at the Montgomery County Planning Commission get really excited when people rave about the trails that form the backbone of our bicycle network, but bicycling in Montgomery County should mean more to people than two or three trails in our county. This is where Bike Montco steps in.  

At its heart, Bike Montco is focused on physical improvements on strategically selected roadway segments to make it easier for those who ride for transportation as well as recreation. Bike Montco is about giving the average adult the reasonable option to use a bike to get from A to B no matter where those two points may be in the county. Although it tackles issues of encouragement, education, and enforcement, the plan is primarily driven by the need to expand the county’s on-street bicycling amenities. Bike Montco is also a bicycle plan and not a trail plan, so while it acknowledges the critical role of the county’s trails in a comprehensive bicycle network, it emphasizes upgrades to the on-road bicycle system. There is something here for everyone to love whether you ride out of necessity, fun and fitness, or all of the above.   

Bike Montco is also a county-level plan, which means it takes a broad multimunicipal perspective. For instance, its planned bicycle improvements are based upon countywide mobility needs. These improvements can then serve as a framework for additional planning by local municipalities which can more effectively do so at the community level. Bike Montco encourages municipalities to coordinate with county staff and find ways to achieve consistency between plans in the same way that they make their comprehensive plans consistent with Montco 2040: A Shared Vision, Montgomery County's comprehensive plan.

Creating a safe and efficient bicycle network is challenging but achievable. The bicycle utopias of Denmark, the Netherlands, and even Davis, California were not built in a day but over many decades. Fortunately, Bike Montco is not the beginning but instead builds upon 20 years of previous efforts that have until now primarily focused on our trail network, which everyone loves so much today. Imagine where we’ll be in 2040 after years of giving equal attention to making our roadways bicycle friendly! This blog is the first in a series on Bike Montco. Come back and visit our blog!  

If you would like to be among the first to view the draft Bike Montco plan, join us on June 20, 2018 for Bike Montco — Building a Bike-Friendly Montgomery County from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in Advanced Technology Center Room 101 of the Montgomery County Community College, 340 DeKalb Pike, Blue Bell, PA 19422. During this free seminar, which is being cohosted by MCPC and DVRPC, several speakers will share the content of the plan and topics including building safer on-road bicycle infrastructure, linking to the county's trail network, and the role the county can play in providing bicyclist safety education and encouragement strategies for new riders. Attendees also will have an opportunity to take a brief tour of Morris Road, one of the study areas in the plan, and to hear about the plan's recommendations to improve bicycle safety at the community college. This seminar is intended for municipal staff, transportation professionals, planners, and school districts, but everyone is welcome! Click here to register

  *AICP Credits - CM | 1.75

**Montgomery County Community College is not affiliated with the event, and the college should not be contacted regarding the program.