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Advocating for Trails: Bike Bucks County

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Our friends at Bike Bucks County are making great strides in 2016 for bicycle advocacy across Bucks County. Bike Bucks County, an affiliate of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, started last March and is quickly gaining support from many advocates across the region. Their current mission is focused on making the Newtown Rail Trail a reality.

The Newtown Rail Trail is a proposed 8.4-mile trail that will connect users from the Newtown Borough all the way to the Pennypack Trail in Philadelphia, creating a vital link in the Circuit Trails. Bike Bucks County has been working with the Penn Tammany Greenway Coalition (PTGC), a volunteer group of residents in Bucks and Montgomery Counties whose mission is to transform SEPTA's Fox Chase - Newtown Line into a multi-use recreational trail.

Recently, the Bucks County Commissioners offered their support to design and engineer a plan for part of the Newtown Rail Trail. The cost for the design and engineering of the Upper Southampton part of the trail will be paid for through grants from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission and the William Penn Foundation. However, without the support of citizen and officials in each of the five municipalities, the complete trail will not be possible.

Over the last few months the Newtown Township Board of Supervisors delayed voting on a resolution to the formation of the trail. The reasoning behind the delay is wanting to hear from neighboring municipalities and area property owners near where the trail will run.

So far, Middletown Township and the George School are positive toward the idea, nevertheless there are still many others that have not voiced their opinions yet. This is why Bike Bucks County needs your help!

There are several ways residents are encouraged to get involved. One, sign the online petition here to ask the Bucks County Commissioner to implement the County Bicycle Master Plan that includes the Newtown Rail Trail. Another option is to attend a panel discussion this Wednesday, January 27th at 7 pm at Northampton Twp. Public Library, 25 Upper Holland Road, Richboro, PA 18954. For more information about the next panel discussion click here. Get involved to help make this incredible trail project a reality!

DVPRC and Counties Respond to Public Comments on Line Item for Circuit on NJ TIP

In July, the Draft DVRPC Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for New Jersey (FY2016-2019) was put out for public comment.  It layed out the transportation priorities for the four New Jersey counties in the Greater Philadelphia region.  This was an opportunity for Circuit supporters to send a message to their elected officials to dedicate transportation funding for Circuit trails in Mercer, Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.  

The Circuit Coalition put out a call to action asking supporters to contact their county officials and ask that a "line item" for the Circuit be included in the Transportation Improvement Program.

By the August 10th deadline, 137 individuals from the general public with some on behalf of five advocacy groups submitted over 200 written comments on the Draft TIP via email on 214 different issues.  61% of those comments requested  a new TIP project/line item for the Circuit.

On September 30th, the DVPRC Board approved the TIP without a line item for the Circuit.  DVPRC and each of the four counties provided a response to the Circuit line item comments.  The responses were as follows:

Agency Response by DVRPC: Thank you for your comment. DVRPC supports the development of a regional multi-use trail system. Improving bicycle and pedestrian facilities is important for those residents that use these modes to meet their daily needs, including travel to jobs and local errands. Creating an interconnected network of multi-use trails provides an alternative to motorized transportation. Improved local, non-motorized mobility promotes economic development and enhances quality of life. DVRPC included the Circuit in Connections 2040: Plan for Greater Philadelphia. This 750-mile interconnected regional multi-use trail network will provide for bicycle and pedestrian access across the region, complementing local investments in bike lanes, sidewalks, and similar infrastructure. Investments have been made in Circuit trails in all four New Jersey counties in DVRPC’s service area, and more are identified in New Jersey’s FY2016 Transportation Improvement Program. Though a Circuit-specific line item is not included in this TIP, DVRPC will continue to explore options for increasing investment in these important facilities.

Agency Response by Burlington County:

See attached letter for Burlington County's response to comments that request a new line item in the TIP for the construction of Circuit trails in the DVRPC region. Go to this link and scroll to p.27 to see Burlington County's letter

Agency Response by Camden County: 

Camden County supports the development of an inner connected regional trail system and is currently using the TIP programs like Transportation Enhancements to improve trails and bike lanes within the County. Camden County uses local, county and federal resources to support all trail development throughout the County.

Agency Response by Gloucester County:

Thank you for your support. The County of Gloucester will continue to be an advocate for trail funding within Gloucester County. The County continues to push for funding the Circuit Trail system with the current ROW and Construction funding contained within the TIP for the extension of the Multi-Purpose Trail from its current terminus at Delsea Drive (Route 47) to Rowan University and to the Elk Township Recreational Park (which connects to the Elephant Swamp Trail and Salem County). We are actively looking at funding opportunities for the continuation of the Circuit Trail beyond Rowan University to existing facilities at Chestnut Branch Park and onward to Camden County’s Blackwood Trail. Branch trails are also being looked at for funding including connections to Washington Lake Park and James Atkinson Park.

Agency Response by Mercer County:

Mercer County values the enthusiasm and energy of our local biking and active recreation advocates. We do more by working together. In this spirit, in recent months, County staff have worked with municipal representatives on the Mercer County Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force, hosted by the Greater Mercer Transportation Management Association, to identify current and future potential multi-purpose trail projects, especially those that tie into larger networks. Projects were prioritized for funding from sources that suited their stage of development, size, complexity, and so on, and County staff continue to advocate for those funds and add projects to the priority list. Different funding sources have different requirements and federal funds allocated in a TIP line item are the most onerous, for which only large projects executed by local governments are appropriate. State funds, also allocated through the TIP, are a little more flexible. Mercer County actively advocates for local trail projects under existing federal funding programs, including Transportation Alternatives, Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Safe Routes To Schools, Safe Routes To Transit, and other State DOT and DEP programs. For specific, construction-ready projects of appropriate size, the County will also support individual TIP actions. If a number of such projects arise in our work with trail partners in years to come, the County will consider advocating for an ongoing TIP line item. The County will also continue to make significant investments in trail, bike, and pedestrian facility development using County Open Space and highway and bridge capital programs. So, to our partners and enthusiastic advocates, thanks for watching, thanks for pushing, and let’s keep pushing in the same direction. 


Circuit County Workshops Scheduled for October

During the month of October, the Circuit Coalition, PA Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR), and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will host workshops in Chester, Delaware, Bucks, Montgomery and Philadelphia counties.  The purpose of the workshops is to provide updates on Circuit Trail development in each County, discuss a range of current and on-going funding sources, and look at ways to further develop Circuit trails currently in the pipeline.  Each Circuit Trails Workshops will be held from 3:30 pm – 5:30 pm on the designated day in each of the five counties.

These workshops will follow separate information sessions on the Transportation Alternatives Program (to be held from 2-3:30pm), which DVRPC and Pennsylvania Dept of Transportation will host to explain the upcoming competitive funding cycle for the TAP.

Registration for both the Circuit Trails Workshops and the TAP Information Sessions can be completed with the links below.  You can register for either the information session or the workshop or both.  There is no charge for either event.

If you have any questions pertaining to the Circuit Trails Workshop, please contact Sarah Clark Stuart at  or 215-242-9253, x306.

Tuesday, October 20th – Philadelphia County

DVRPC Main Conference Room

190 N. Independence Mall West, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Thursday, October 22nd – Delaware County

Media Courthouse – DelCo Room

201 West Front Street, Media, PA 19063

Monday, October 26th – Bucks County

Bucks County Planning Commission – 4th Floor Conference Room

1260 Almshouse Road, Doylestown, PA 18901

Tuesday, October 27th – Chester County

Chester County Planning Commission – GSC Room 149

601 Westtown Road, West Chester, PA 19382

Wednesday, October 28th – Montgomery County

Montgomery County Planning Commission – Montgomery Room

One Montgomery Plaza Building Suite 202

425 Swede Street, Norristown, PA 19401 

Help Greater Philadelphia Become More Bike-Friendly

Last year's launch of the CyclePhilly smartphone application provided a valuable glimpse into the bicycling habits of Greater Philadelphia. From May to October 2014, hundreds of bicyclists used CyclePhilly to record thousands of trips, allowing DVRPC planners to see where people rode (to the closest intersection) and why. The app automatically mapped all of the routes, which can be broken down by trip purpose.

Check out the CyclePhilly 2014 data summary and stay tuned for information about exciting app updates that are in the works.

If you missed using the app last year, you have another chance to inform future bicycle infrastructure investments. Urban, suburban, and rural cyclists are all encouraged to participate. Simply download the CyclePhilly app today, press record, and go. Log a trip between now and October 2015 and you could win a GoPro camera!

Ride. Record. Reimagine your Routes with CyclePhilly at

DVRPC Data Shows Increased Demand for Circuit Trails!

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) released the first year of data from its permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters that have been placed on 11 trails around Greater Philadelphia. Thanks to generous support from the William Penn Foundation, the permanent counters enable the Commission to collect continuous volume data around The Circuit trails. The five trails with the highest combined bicycle and pedestrian volumes for a one-year period are:

  1. Schuylkill River Trail at Kelly Drive – 663,201
  2. Chester Valley Trail – 240,182
  3. Schuylkill River Trail at Pawlings Road – 208,180
  4. Wissahickon Trail – 208,114
  5. Cynwyd Heritage Trail – 114,619

The data collected by the permanent bicycle and pedestrian counters shows significant use of these regional transportation assets. DVRPC maintains one of the nation’s most widespread bicycle and pedestrian counting programs. The counters combine a passive infrared sensor, which detects body heat, with an inductive loop, which detects the metallic signature of bicycle wheels, to provide a count of pedestrian and cyclists, including their travel direction. This technology paves the way for the introduction in Philadelphia of real-time “bicycle barometers” that simultaneously collect data and encourage bicycle use due to their prominent visibility and digital displays.

DVRPC Shares Data, Revealing Which Philly Streets Cyclists Use Most

CyclePhilly – an app produced by Code for Philly, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, DVRPC, Septa and the City of Philadelphia – logs voluntarily-shared cyclist trip data. DVRPC recently released six months of that data, revealing which routes cyclists like best. The data was gathered from 220 unique CyclePhilly users and 8,340 individual trips.

Some highlights include:

Activity Number of Trips         Top Philly Street
Total Trips 866 Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th
Commuting 672 Spring Garden, between 6th & 7th 
Doing Errands             68 Pine, between 15th & 17th 
Exercise 65 Schuylkill River Trail, between Art Museum & 25th
Social  99 Spring Garden, between 9th & 10th 

Read the full article on Plan Philly here to learn more about the app and what’s in store for the future of biking in Philadelphia:

DVRPC Announces CMAQ Competive Funding For South Jersey

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission is now accepting applications for Congestion Mitigation Air Quality (CMAQ) projects in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester and Mercer Counties. Bicycle and Pedestrian projects such as trails are eligible for CMAQ funds.

DVRPC will be accepting CMAQ Program applications from January 9, 2015 until 5:00 P.M. on Thursday, April 9, 2015. A mandatory information session for applicants will be held at 4:00 P.M. on January 28, 2015 in the DVRPC Conference Room, 190 N. Independence Mall West, 8th Fl., Philadelphia, PA 19106.

For more details on program guidance as well as submitting an application visit the DVRPC CMAQ web page.

Tags: CMAQ, DVRPC, funding

Circuit Gets Attention in PA TIP

Thanks for speaking up!  In June, we asked Circuit supporters to submit comment to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission Board. The response was terrific!  The Board received 218 comments in support of Circuit projects and more funding for the Circuit in future years.  On July 24th, the DVRPC Board adopted the $10.5 Billion 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for Pennsylvania.

The final draft of the TIP now explicitly commits $1 Million in federal funds in FY18 for Circuit projects during the next selection round of projects for the Transportation Alternatives Program. While this is a good first step, the Circuit needs more funding in order to be built out by 2040.  

More importantly, the TIP states that a PA Circuit Working Group has now been created "to better understand the relative status of all projects in the Circuit trail universe, set priorities, and be prepared to take advantage of funding opportunities when they arise."  This group will "develop a collective understanding of which Circuit trail projects are ready for construction, the level of resources needed to complete those projects and potential sources of funding."  This new commitment by DVRPC to proactively and strategically consider how to advance Circuit projects is an important step in the right direction.

A pdf of the TIP is here

A searchable map of the TIP projects is here.

Public comments and responses are not yet available, but are expected to be posted on the DVRPC website.


Permanent Electronic Trails Counters Coming to the Circuit

In order to obtain continuous data on trail use in Greater Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) will be installing up 12 permanent automated bicycle and pedestrian counting stations on Circuit trails this spring. The automated counting equipment for these stations, acquired with a grant from the William Penn Foundation, will provide continuous data on bicycle and pedestrian use and will allow DVRPC to develop seasonal adjustment factors that can be used to predict annual cyclist and pedestrian traffic based on week-long counts.  Given their short duration, DVRPC can perform week-long counts at a much wider variety of locations.

Each permanent counting station will consist of both a passive infrared pyro-electric unit, which will detect changes in temperature when a person passes the sensor, and an inductive loop, which will stretch across the trail surface and detect the electromagnetic signature of bicycle wheels as they pass over. The passive infrared unit sits inside a trailside post about waist high. The inductive loop is a low-profile cable attached to the surface of the trail using highly durable road tape.

DVRPC is currently working with trail owners to site and install the counting stations. For more information contact Shawn Megill Legendre ( or 215.238-2934).

Photo used with permission of EcoCounter

Tags: Counters, DVRPC

PA Transportation Alternatives Program Announced

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission announced today that PA's Transportation Alternatives Program will be opened from February 3, 2014 until April 3, 2014.

All applications for the program must be submitted directly to 

At this time, there are not any application forms, guidance or a direct PennDOT website with any additional information.

From the DVRPC website

"There will be one solicitation for two years of TAP funding totaling $7.5 million in the DVRPC Pennsylvania counties (Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery and Philadelphia) for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, conversion of abandoned railway corridors to trails, and stormwater management projects. Concurrently the statewide TAP will have $26 million available for all eligible project types listed below. There will be one application and projects may be selected as either regional or statewide priorities. Local governments, regional transportation authorities, transit agencies, natural resource or public land agencies, school districts, local education agencies, or schools, and tribal governments are eligible to apply for the competitive TAP funds.

A TAP information session will be held at Upper Merion Township Building in Freedom Hall on January 30th, starting at 3 pm. The building address is 175 West Valley Forge Road, King of Prussia, PA 19406. Register here:"

More information about eligible projects are described here.

Please direct questions to Joe Banks at  or call 215-238-2898.

Tags: DVRPC, PennDOT

DVRPC Approves $3.9 Million for Circuit Trails

On Thursday, September 26th, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) Board approved 13 projects for funding from the final phase of the Regional Trail Program, which was created and funded by a $10 million grant from the William Penn Foundation.  

The Regional Trail Program aims to provide funding for targeted, priority trail design, construction and planning projects that will promote a truly connected, regional network of multi-use trails (the Circuit) with Philadelphia and Camden as its hub. 

Phase III of the program provided capital funding for trail design and construction projects. Approximately $4 million was available for Phase III grants. Individual grant awards are capped at $500,000 and all projects require a 20 percent match. A Request for Proposals (RFP) was issued in March and 31 proposals were submitted by the deadline in mid-April. The proposals were evaluated by a Selection Committee composed of Foundation representatives, PennDOT and NJDOT, DVRPC staff, and regional trail funders and advocates.

Based on Committee review and subsequent follow-up, the following 13 projects were recommended for funding and approved on Thursday by the DVRPC Board.

  1. Kinkora Trail - Mansfield Community Park Connector – Burlington County, Department of Resource Conservation – Grant request: $500,000 Total project cost: $1,440,000
  2. Ben Franklin Bridge Walkway Bicycle and Pedestrian Ramp – DRPA – Grant request: $400,000 Total project cost: $3,600,000
  3. Lawrence Hopewell Trail Carter Road East and West – Lawrence Hopewell Trail Corporation – Grant request: $250,000 Total project cost: $625,000
  4. Route 13-Green Lane Trail Connector – Bucks County TMA – Grant request: $249,000 Total project cost: $917,679
  5. Neshaminy Creek Greenway Design and Engineering (Chalfont and New Britain) – Chalfont Borough – Grant request: $188,768 Total project cost: $235,960
  6. Phoenixville Schuylkill River Trail Phase 2 – Phoenixville Borough – Grant request: $365,000 Total project cost: $457,000
  7. Darby Creek Stream Valley Park Trail – Delaware County – Grant request: $500,000 Total project cost: $700,000
  8. Newtown Square Rail Trail (Haverford) – Haverford Township – Grant request: $340,000 Total project cost: $425,000
  9. Tookany Creek Trail - Phase III – Cheltenham Township – Grant request: $400,000 Total project cost: $500,000
  10. Lansdale Liberty Bell Trail – Lansdale Borough – Grant request: $160,840 Total project cost: $201,050
  11. Tacony/Holmesburg Gap Waterfront Trail Design and Engineering – DRCC – Grant request: $300,000 Total project cost: $500,000
  12. Manayunk Bridge Trail Construction Engineering Services – Philadelphia - MOTU – Grant request: $60,000 Total project cost: $3,060,000
  13. Cobbs Creek Connector Trail – Philadelphia Parks and Recreation – Grant request: $275,000 Total project cost: $595,000

Total grant request amount for all 13 Phase III projects is $3,988,608.  The total match amount is $9,318,081 and the total cost of all the projects is $13,306,149.

Phase III represents the final amount of funding available from this program.  Future funding depends on the DVRPC board.  This is why the Circuit Coalition currently is running the Circuit Committment campaign, seeking a decision from the DVRPC Board to replenish the fund with $10 Milion over a three year period. 

The Circuit Revolutionizes DVRPC's Long-Range Plan

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A new plan adopted by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) has big impliations for connecting The Circuit.

On July 30th the DVRPC Board adopted Connections 2040 Plan for Greater Philadelphia. Connections 2040 is the long-range plan for the future growth and development of the DVRPC region. The plan includes land use, environmental, economic competitiveness, and transportation strategies, and puts forth a vision for investing in our transportation system.

The DVRPC plan looks ahead 25 years, and by law it must update that plan every 5 years. A key component of these plans is the list of major regional projects, which are the plan's largest and most significant set of identified projects. To accommodate The Circuit DVRPC created a new sub-category called "major regional bicycle and pedestrian projects." According to the plan there is enough funding available (based on current projections) to pay for about 75% of The Circuit by 2040 ($128M for PA and $99M for NJ).

The inclusion of The Circuit in this group of projects is a big win; the long-range plan has in effect set a target for investment. This makes the goals for the Circuit Committment campaign ($10M over the next 3 years) seem quite modest. But in reality most of the "shovel ready" trail projects are already in the pipeline for development. What is needed now is a big project design push to accellerate trail development over the next decade.


Help Connect the Circuit!

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To register for the Pennsylvania Caucus Meeting on June 17th, please click here!

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Comment On The 2014 NJ TIP

The TIP or Transportation Improvement Program is a regional priority list of federally funded transportation projects that are in the development pipeline. Metropolitan Planning Organizations are required to compile the TIP by law and must allow the public to comment.

The Delaware Valley Planning Commission has opened open up its Draft 2014 NJ Transportation Improvement Program for public comment. Concurrently DVRPC is accepting comments for the NJDOT 2014 State Transportation Improvement Program(STIP) which is more commonly known at the Capital Program.

A public meeting and information session will be held: WEDNESDAY, JUNE 12, 2013 4:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.
 Cherry Hill Free Public Library
 1100 Kings Highway North
 Cherry Hill, NJ 08034-1970

In addtion to the commenting via the mapping tool, DVRPC encourages the public to submit comments on the Draft TIP by email to ; After consideration of the public comments, the DVRPC Board may adopt the Draft TIP with any recommended changes at the July 25, 2013 Board meeting.

The TIP is an excellent opportunity to ask DVRPC, the NJ Counties and NJDOT to replenish the Regional Trails Fund. When you explore the map you may notice that there is only one Circuit project on the TIP (in Gloucester County). Finally NJDOT is still trying to figure out what to do with a $40 million of unobligated Transportation Enhancements funds, encourage them to spend it on trail projects before the Feds take it all back. 

On the positive side NJ DOT saved the Safe Routes to Schools programs by using Highway Safety Funds to pay for the program (Congress took away the money in MAP-21). If you do send comments don't forget to thank them for that important accomplishment.