Friday, November 16, 2007

Dear PennDOT-- Write a letter about your community transportation needs

Please use the following as a template for YOUR OWN LETTER to PennDOT. Write to your state and local elected leaders as well as to your school board and school administrators. Let them know that you want the safest streets possible -- COMPLETE STREETS and SAFE ROUTES TO SCHOOL -- for your children and your entire community.

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 [422]. 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 [422] 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 [422].
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.

[Michele Barrett]
Founder WalkBikeBerks

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