Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Every Visitor to Walk and Bike Berks County Can Comment on this blog.

Dear Reader:

Thank you for taking time to visit WalkBikeBerks. Obviously, my readers should be able to contact me directly at 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 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.

~Michele Barrett
Founder, WalkBikeBerks

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 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)

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