Sunday, December 30, 2007
Write a letter to Governor Rendell and all other policy makers to ask them to Complete Our Streets in Berks County. Feel free to cut my name and add your own to the bottom of this example letter, or write your own today. Call, email, or print and send.
Contact the Governor
To e-mail the Governor click here.
To write a letter to the Governor send to:
Governor Edward G. Rendell's Office
225 Main Capitol Building
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17120
To telephone the Governor's Office call: (717) 787-2500.
I am writing to request that you work with the new nonprofit organization WalkBikeBerks and the new Exeter Township Pedestrian and Bicycle (non-motorized) Task Force to create safer streets for all users in Berks County, PA. We are at a critical point in Exeter where our streets will undergo significant changes in the months and years to come as we grow and develop as a community. Congressman Gerlach and Representative Kessler have already stated that they will support our efforts and help us find funding for our needs. I hope that you, too, are able to support us in policies and funding. In addition, I would ask that you contact PennDOT on our behalf to express your concern for our safety and quality of life.
In February 2008, construction will begin on the 422/Exeter Commons project. WalkBikeBerks seeks to ensure that our streets will be Complete Streets and that our community can rely on Safe Routes to School. We want our community safe for all users, even the most vulnerable citizens -- children, elderly, poor, and disabled. We want those people who cannot or do not drive (who represent more than 30% of the total population) to be able to move about freely and independently. We also want to reduce our own dependence on automobiles to travel from our homes to amenities in our neighborhoods.
I am asking that you do whatever you are able to ensure that this new project, and all others that come to Berks County, adhere to the PennDOT Strike Off Letter SOL 432-0702 and coincide with the Berks County Greenway, Parks and Recreation Plan, the Berks County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, and the Federal Highway Administration's Bicycle and Pedestrian guidelines. Exeter -- and all townships and boroughs in PA -- can be thriving, vibrant, walkable communities, if we choose to make them so. Please make it a priority to Complete The Streets of Berks County.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Acting District Executive: Tucker Ferguson, P.E.
1002 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown, PA 18101
Business Hours - 8:00 to 4:30 Daily
Fax : (610) 871-4119
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Friday, December 28, 2007
WalkBikeBerks presented a Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School Slide Show and requested that the township coordinate with WalkBikeBerks to organize the task force to address pedestrian and bicycling issues in their community.
Soon...we'll be able to walk and bike safely and conveniently throughout our home towns.
Congratulations to all who made this possible!
Invite your own township or borough to adopt a similar task force if you don't yet have one. WalkBikeBerks will be happy to join in that goal. We'll work together to create livable communities.
Happy New Year.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Thank you for taking time to visit WalkBikeBerks. Obviously, my readers should be able to contact me directly at email@example.com and I will make that correction immediately.
I could not more heartily support your position than had I written it myself. Indeed -- to create walkable/bikable communities, we also have to change how we address ALL traffic issues. To create walkable communities, we need PennDOT engineers to change their road designs. We need our SALDO (subdivision and land-development ordinances) to require that controlled land-development be a part of interconnected system of walkways. It all comes together nicely to create communities where people enjoy a higher quality of life. A Task Force that included the participation of all of our community's experts -- police, health professionals, zoning officers, traffic engineers, etc.-- would enable us to consider all aspects of road design. The adoption of a Ped/Bike Task Force would demonstrate the supervisors' willingness to commit to prioritizing the safety of Exeter's residents.
I just drove through Wyomissing with my family. There are some streets in that community that have traffic calming measures built into their residential street designs. Sidewalks are a small part of the overall design of walkable communities. While I still have so very much to learn, Thomas Hylton's movie and his book, Save Our Land, Save Our Town, address many of the necessary changes AMERICA -- not just Exeter -- needs to adopt to change how our communities grow and thrive. Walkable communities are created with human design...where motor-vehicles are an element, not the overall driving force of all design. Please visit http://www.walkable.org/ to learn more. Here is an excerpt from the home page of that site:
"Walkable Communities, Inc. also provides a small inventory of publications and photo CDs to assist in further educating people interested in the related issues of community planning and zoning, traffic calming, street and intersection design, specific bicycle and pedestrian facility design, ADA requirements and public involvement processes. "
I hope to see you tomorrow night at the Supervisor's Meeting. I can talk with you then, if you would like. Have a blessed New Year.
Letter From a Reader:
To protect pedestrians and cyclists, a community must, as other communities have done successfully, stand against those things which are dangerous to those walking and biking. To apply a band aid to the problem after the fact is futile at best and will never be able to provide the necessary protection. The primary mandate should be to control the amount and speed of traffic through a community. This is one of the most basic steps in community planning and civil engineering 101. (My comments: By choosing walkable communities, we will be primarily focused on designing streets that reduce and slow traffic so that any ten-year old can safely and conveniently walk throughout their home town.)
The first concern should be to stop the construction of major highways and thoroughfares through what is basically a residential community. Right. No matter how many pedestrian walkway, precautions, etc. are added, the environment created by fast moving multi-lane thoroughfares will never be safe! The municipality MUST describe and maintain a clear plan for the community. Development both residential and commercial must fulfill a need, be well defied and fit within the profile of the community. Further, a municipal authority must determine if major road construction and developments, along with the additional tax burden which ultimately comes with such commitments, are really in the interest of the community. I agree.
Children trying to get to school, riding bikes and walking are the most vulnerable and their safety and well being should be foremost in any consideration of major road construction and municipal planning. Residents must decide what kind of environment they want to create in their community. To ask some basic questions about what is the kind of town in which they want their children to grow up? (My comments: Please attend the Township meeting tomorrow night and make these comments there. These are exactly the goals I share. These are the same questions I am asking.) Is living in the environs of a multi-land highway or next door to another strip mall the quality of life they are looking for? Do they really want their children to have to cross a multi-lane highway under any conditions?
A Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Task Force can only be beneficial if the community has already committed itself to the fundamental requirements for the safety of the residents. At this point Exeter Township has not demonstrated any desire to even address these requirements and are only looking at a short-term and very questionable financial benefit. (My comments: A Pedestrian and Bicycle (Or Non-Motorized) Advisory Task Force will focus directly on creating HUMAN SPACE...where the safety of people...not automobiles...is the first priority. Moving PEOPLE safely from one destination to another should be the driving force of transportation design. That's my dream. Coincidentally, walkable communities also bring increased economic profit to communities. They are a win-win solution for everyone involved.)
All the best for the New Year.
A Reader (name omitted to protect privacy)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
December 27, 2007
Exeter Township Building
4975 DeMoss Road, Reading, PA 19606
(If you are unable to attend, I invite you to write a letter of support of a Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Task Force to the supervisors. I would be happy to submit that letter for you.)
Chris Metka, Safe Routes to School Coordinator
Office of Planning
Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
400 North Street
Harrisburg, PA 17120
Phone: (717) 787-8065
In addition: Write to your government elected officials and ask them to make a public, written statement supporting Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School in Berks County. Go to the Berks County League of Women Voters http://www.lwvberks.org/officials.htm resource page to get contact information for all of your elected officials. (Send the same letter to save time, but write or call all of them.)
Friday, December 21, 2007
"In Essen, Germany, merchants found that even on rainy days, pedestrian streets are frequented by leisurely strollers, suggesting that heavy traffic is a greater impediment to walking than bad weather. Many cities ... have all reported a visitor increase of 50% following the creation of pedestrian areas. Merchants on Copenhagen's Stroget-who initially opposed closing the street to vehicles-reported sales increases of 25-40%. An interesting phenomenon was thus observed: people in cars do not window shop, people on foot do."
Please encourage and support the County in implementing the Greenway, Park, and Open Space Plan. Comments welcome.
Take a moment to thank the Berks County Planning Commission for adopting this new policy.
Berks County Planning Commission
Berks County Services Center
633 Court St., 14th Floor
Reading, PA 19601-4309
Glenn R. Knoblauch, Executive Director
Thursday, December 20, 2007
An Act to move the United States toward greater energy independence and security, to increase the production of clean renewable fuels, to protect consumers, to increase the efficiency of products, buildings, and vehicles, to promote research on and deploy greenhouse gas capture and storage options, and to improve the energy performance of the Federal Government, and for other purposes.
Here is the Roll Call Vote - Take note on how your Senators voted: http://tinyurl.com/36swhn
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Please share other examples of the vast array of choices to incorporate walking and biking in the transportation infrastructure.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
The American City: What Works, What Doesn't; Second Edition, Alexander Garvin
Thursday, December 6, 2007
$4.5 billion in federal funds will be used over the next four years to make America a safer and more enjoyable place to bicycle and walk!
$4.5 billion is still less than two percent of the total funding in SAFETEA-LU.
Money from other programs will also be used to improve bicycling and
walking – but only if we ask for it.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Alta Support Programs
Aside from our consulting services, Alta is deeply involved in helping communities become more livable. Some of our programs include:
Pro-Bono Assistance: Alta staff are available to help community groups and agencies on a pro bono basis, whether it is answering questions or assisting with research. Every year we donate hundreds of hours to help our colleagues in a variety of areas. Call an Alta professional today to find out more about this, or come into one of our offices and use our library of resources.
Conference Support Program: Alta offers help to deserving individuals who wish to attend conferences in fields related to bicycles, pedestrians, and trails. This may include plane tickets, other travel costs, and conference costs. Contact Alta Principals Michael Jones or Mia Birk to find out more about this program.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
Lance Simmens said people can’t alleviate global warming on their own but that there are things they should be doing to help. Some examples:
• Use compact fluorescent light bulbs.
• Walk, bike or carpool instead of doing errands by yourself in your car.
• Use cruise control when driving on the highway.
• Keep vehicle tires properly inflated.
• Wash clothes in warm or cold water, not hot.
• Install low-flow shower heads.
• Take cloth bags to the grocery store instead of using disposable plastic bags.
To read the full article in the Reading Eagle, go to: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=68080
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Exeter Township Building, DeMoss Road
Congressman Gerlach wants to hear from you
on ANY issue you want to address.
I would like to see every person in Exeter come to address the 422 infrastructure.
At last nights' township meeting our township manager, Troy Bingaman read a letter from Dave Barbieri. Mr. Barbieri resigned from his elected position as Township Supervisor, effective immediately. Mr. Barbieri was not at the meeting. The supervisors need to fill his seat within 30 days. Do you have someone in mind? Now is the time to become part of the solution.
Write your recommendation for yourself or another resident to firstname.lastname@example.org. You are strongly encouraged to contact the Exeter Township Manager, Troy Bingaman for more information: 610-779-5660 Ext. 226
Monday, November 19, 2007
In November 2006, the Berks County Planning Commission and the Reading Area Transportation Study discussed the PennDOT Bicycle/Pedestrian Checklist and its application to the Exeter Commons/422 Shopping Center project. Read to learn more.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Dear [Elected Official]:
I am writing to request Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School in [Your Township].
Please note that a focus of the [Exeter Township Planning Commission] is on maximizing pedestrian safety on . I would also like to request that wherever PennDOT has the authority, to implement the Bicycle/Pedestrian Check List for the land-development/parking access into and on the [Exeter Commons Shopping Center] land development plan. It makes little sense to create a necessary safe passage of pedestrians and cycles across  only to face a vast, unsafe parking/access roadway. We in [Exeter] would like to see a 'village' shopping layout where pedestrians and cyclists can safely and comfortably move about within the shopping complex as well as across .
In addition, I have also included notes for a small new subdivision that intends to neighbor our community elementary school without implementing sidewalks and safe crossing elements. It seems only logical that if the roadway next to an elementary school is unsafe that we...all of us...make every necessary change to ensure the safety of the children attending that school. If cars are traveling too quickly along [Lorane Road] during school hours, should we not require 15 mph speed limit designations along that route? Should we not install flashing indicator lights to slow drivers in the school zone? Should we not add sidewalks and curbs whenever we improve or create new roadways that directly access all schools -- but especially neighborhood elementary schools? I am sure that PennDOT was (is still?) offering free pedestrian crossing signs to municipalities to request them, correct? Certainly the cost of sidewalks, curbs, painted crossing lines, and 15 mph speed limit signs cannot be so great that we cannot ensure the safe passage of school children?
I understand that the intersections of [562, Shelborne Road, and Oley Turnpike] are to undergo some serious changes in the near future. Money from Senator O'Pake has already been granted to [Exeter] for those improvements. (Correct?) As we are beginning to plan for those improvements, I would like to also request that -- because [Jacksonwald] Elementary is located at exactly that location, we do everything in our power to implement the Bicycle/Pedestrian Checklist in that project as well. I would like to see all of our elementary schools increase the number of students who currently walk or bike to school. Presently, I believe only one child walks to [Jacksonwald] and the entire community agrees that those roads are simply unsafe to access by foot or bike. Because the changes are going to be made, I would hope they are made to accommodate the traffic that needs to access that facility...students (teachers, parents, support staff) walking and biking to school. Again, I would hope for sidewalks, bike lanes, crosswalks, speed limit signs, pedestrian crossing signs, and flashing school zone indicators. Please help me work to ensure that the Bicycle/Pedestrian Checklist is being implemented in every project in Berks County.
As always, thank you for your support and attention to my concerns.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Our Opinion: In this time of expanding waistlines, encouraging any kind of physical activity is commendable.
To Read the Full Article, go to: http://internetservices.readingeagle.com/blog/editorials/archives/2007/11/fostering_bette.html
Monday, November 12, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Fledgling Exeter Township group hopes new initiative has legs
A resident is starting a network to study ways to make Berks County more attractive to bicyclists and pedestrians.
By Erin Negley
Michele Barrett fondly recalls riding her bicycle as a child around her neighborhood in Clearfield County.Now living in Exeter Township, where a large shopping center is planned along Perkiomen Avenue, Barrett is thinking more often about those pedestrian-friendly streets of her youth.She’s starting Walk Bike Berks, a network that will study ways to make Berks County more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians.The fledgling group will hold a workshop Saturday at Exeter Community Library with two national organizations devoted to creating safe streets. The public event is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Representatives from Complete the Streets and Safe Routes to School will talk about their initiatives and how the public can get involved.The Arizona-based Thunderhead Alliance is leading the Complete the Streets campaign to make roads safe for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School, based in North Carolina, assists communities to enable and encourage children to safely walk and bicycle to school.Walk Bike Berks will promote building sidewalks and adding bicycle lanes to roads and crosswalks.“This organization really has the potential to start making real differences,” said Barrett, 34.The cause is relevant, she said, especially with childhood obesity becoming a national crisis. Safe streets also are a quality-of-life issue.“I just want to love the town I live in,” Barrett said. “I want to walk out the front door and feel connected to my community. I do think that people feel more tied to their community if they can freely move about.”
Thursday, November 8, 2007
The Schuylkill River Heritage Area has begun a one-month cleanup of debris piled up beneath the former Douglassville railroad bridge.
Along the Pottstown to Birdsboro Thun Trail section of the Schuylkill River Trail, logs, trees and trash have amassed since the river flooded in June 2006. The $100,000 project will necessitate the closing of a section of the trail that runs behind Morlatton Village west for about 0.3 miles, up to and including the Douglassville railroad bridge.
Trail users still will be allowed access to the trail from existing trailheads and continue in either direction up to the closure. The bridge will remain closed until Nov. 26.
The nonprofit Schuylkill River Heritage Area seeks donations to cover the costs. Visit www.schuylkillriver.org or call 484-945-0200 for more information.
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Exeter mom spearheads safe biking, walking effort
By Katherine Ritz Hahn; News Writer
Follow the link to the full story:
Exeter mom spearheads safe biking, walking effort
Monday, November 5, 2007
Walk/Bike the Vote!
Novermber 6 Elections are tomorrow. Now is our chance to ask YOUR candidates if they support implementing pedestrian and bicycling improvements, safe routes to school and complete streets.
The way I look for a candidate's position is:
Use the voter guides listed below.
Search the Reading Eagle articles throughout the previous months.
Link of Google to find the candidate's website- READ issue papers.
If you cannot find your answer there, then look for contact information, it's best to call at this late date.
In PA there are County and Local Elections. Reading has the Mayor and City Council Elections.
Berks County Government Election Precinct Maps: http://co.berks.pa.us/gis/cwp/view.asp?a=2139&q=485565
League of Women Voters: http://www.lwvberks.org/
Remember to make your own statement:
WALK or BIKE to the Polls.
If you need to find out if you are registered and where to vote, call :
County of Berks, 633 Court StreetReading, PA 19601
Phone: 610.478.6100 Hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
Closed on holidays
Complete The Streets
Safe Routes to School
Non-Profit Establishing Workshop.
Exeter Community Library
November 10, 2007
10:00 am – 4:00 pm
RSVP ~ November 7
The streets of our cities and towns ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper. But too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams. They’re unsafe for people on foot or bike — and unpleasant for everybody.
Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners, engineers and designers to build road networks that welcome all citizens.
To learn more or to become an advocate for Safe Routes to School and Complete Streets in your neighborhood, contact: email@example.com
Dominic Liberatore, Interim Executive Director
1700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Ste. 400, Washington, DC 20006
Complete the Streets expert Dominic J. Liberatore currently serves as the Interim Executive Director of the Thunderhead Alliance. Previous positions for Mr. Liberatore include National Complete Streets Campaign Manager for Thunderhead Alliance and as a consultant to the www.americabikes.org campaign during the reauthorization of the last federal transportation bill. The Thunderhead Alliance is the North American coalition of non-profit bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organizations.
Chris Davis, Coordinator
Safe Routes to School
Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition
Safe Routes to School (SRTS) expert Chris Davis had a significant role in the development of the Marin County SRTS program, implemented by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, as the Curriculum Developer and Lead Instructor for the program’s first 4 1/2 years. She designed and taught lessons in traffic safety, health and fitness, environmental and community responsibility, the core concepts of a comprehensive SRTS program. She joined the staff of the Texas Bicycle Coalition, developing and managing the start-up of a comprehensive regional SRTS program. Currently she is SRTS Program coordinator for the Sonoma County Bicycle Coalition.
Who Should Attend?
School Board Members
Superintendents of Schools
Bike Shop Owners
Public Transit Advocates
YOU -- learn to advocate for Safer Streets for all users in Berks County
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Crosswalks page 43
5.451 “Crosswalks shall be provided when required by the Township to facilitate pedestrian circulation and to give access to community facilities”.
5.452 "Crosswalks shall have a minimum width of 10 feet and a paved walk for not less than 4 feet.“
Let’s forget about the shopping center project for a minute and look at recent commercial construction. The building is located at Business Route 422 and Neversink Road. It is an office complex near completion. There will be at least 200 people employed at this complex. Drive into the complex and there is a beautiful view of the community facilities. There are restaurants, banking, auto repair, and retail stores.
Take a look at the intersection of Circle Avenue and East Neversink Road. There is a crosswalk going in every direction. Now look at the accessibility to the community facilities from the crosswalks. There is none. Are there sidewalks in place to Business Route 422? No. There is a cut-out in the curb for handicapped access but it ends in a grass mound with a traffic light post in the way. There is no sidewalk in this new construction to provide access to the surrounding services. There are no sidewalks at all in this commercial business district.
Once this Office Complex is occupied this highway will be marked as a killer highway. The township will assume no responsibility for poor planning. We need the township to enforce the sidewalk and crosswalk ordinances. It is their responsibility! We need the township to further amend their ordinances to include sidewalks in the entire business district.
We should have a slide show to show this injustice. Do we have any access to video equipment?
Wednesday, October 17, 2007
Several residents voiced their concerns about the Exeter Commons project. Supervisors sent the Exeter Commons Attorney back to the Planning Commission for unresolved issues. A time extension could be filed to give Ironwood more time to resolve issues.
Dona Starr brought up the recommendation of a Joint Workshop between the Township Supervisors, Planning Commission, PennDot and Exeter residents. Michele Barrett has been on top of this issue from the beginning and has done a great job getting our elected officials thinking about pedestrian needs. Don Wilson & Paul Swartz have voiced their approval for a pedestrian and bicycle access in the community during the planning commission meetings. Dona Starr and Michelle Kircher said there is a plan for a pedestrian cross walk. No additional details about the cross walk were given.
Thursday, October 11, 2007
The network will also encourage:
- the County to implement the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
- municipalities to adopt bicycle and pedestrian friendly development codes,
- PENNDOT and the municipalities to complete the streets for bicycling and walking
- Expansion of safe routes to schools efforts in Berks County.
To join the email network send a blank email to - firstname.lastname@example.org