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'bike network'

Jan 28

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

Posted to Planning Commission 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.