Friday, October 31, 2008


How will you travel to the polls on Election Day: November 4, 2008? When you look back years from now to recall the day American History was changed forever, what details will you share? Will you say, "On November 4, 2008, I made a conscious effort to be part of history. I decided that I would leave my car at home. I chose to WALK to the polls"?
Or, will you say, "I BICYCLED to demonstrate that 2 mile ride is faster, easier, healthier, and cleaner than driving the same distance"?
Perhaps your work and family schedule, distance from work, and other factors make biking or walking difficult, dangerous, or impractical, so you decide to use public transportation. Call BARTA today to make sure you have access to a bus route that gets you safely from work to the polls and home again. Make how you travel part of your story.
If you must drive your own car to the polls...make sure you fill it with coworkers and friends -- and VOTE ON NOVEMBER 4th!

Support the Berks County Conservancy

In an effort to prevent the loss of another excellent trail connection, let's be sure to do our individual parts to make sure we support the work of the Berks County Conservancy.

Critical connection is people, not trails

The issue: Conservation groups are urging the county to connect recreational areas with trails.
Our opinion: Linking those areas is a great idea, as is adding more trails, but it needs to be done right.

"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks." The quote attributed to John Muir captures why we agree with the conservation groups that want to link up Berks County recreational areas with a series of trails: The payback is incalculable.
The health benefits of walking are well-known, and the need for it grows with America’s spreading obesity problem. Walking is an excellent, inexpensive way to burn calories, requiring nothing more elaborate than the proper clothing and the right footwear. Add to these the mental-health benefits of a walk through nature: Local hikers will testify that even normally dour and reserved Berks Countians typically greet others with a smile on the trail.

..."This underscores the importance of the vision described by Berks County Conservancy President Kimberly Murphy, a network of greenways — trails — that attach recreational hubs together."


Upset at the loss of their land, likely inconveniences and the prospect of threats to their privacy and security, angry residents fired back at special meetings of the county commissioners and elsewhere. The ultimate broadside that left the trail proponents’ sails in tatters may have been a petition against the trail, presented to the commissioners, bearing several hundred signatures. The project soon foundered, and the county returned the grant money.


To Read the Full Article:

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Halloween

PBIC News Brief
October 29, 2008

Pedestrian Safety Tips for Halloween

CHAPEL HILL, NC — The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers the following tips for safety-related and general interest stories surrounding the upcoming Halloween holiday weekend.

Guidelines for safe walking at Halloween
  • Young children need a parent or other adult to go trick or treating with them. There is no magic age when children are old enough to walk alone. Parents need to judge when their children are mature enough to go without an adult.
  • Choose the safest routes to walk.
  • Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separated from traffic if possible.
  • Look for well-lit streets with slow traffic.
  • Remind children to watch for cars turning or pulling out of driveways.
  • Limit the number of street crossings. Avoid crossing busy or high-speed roads.

Review crossing safety rules with children. Tell them to:

  • Even when adults are looking, always look for cars for yourself.
  • Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again for traffic. Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  • When crossing the street at an intersection, obey traffic signs and signals and look for yourself to see if cars are coming. Look left, right and left and then behind you and in front of you for turning cars.
  • Walk, don’t run across the street.
  • Think visibility. Wear bright colors, use retro reflective materials. Carry flashlights. In bad weather, visibility is even more important.
  • Choose homes that welcome Halloween visitors. Look for well lit driveways, walkways or paths to the front door.

Do a costume check.

  • Can the children walk easily in the outfit?
  • Make sure the masks or head gear allow the children to see clearly what is around them.
  • Be sure they can safely negotiate steps on dimly lit walkways.

When taking a group of kids trick or treating:

  • Have a good ratio of parents/adults to children. For young children, consider 1 adult for every 3 children.
  • Arrange the adults so that there is an adult in the front and one in the back. This is to prevent children from getting ahead or lagging behind the group.

Plan how to cross streets:

  • Avoid busy, high-speed or multi-lane roads.
  • Give children exiting the street room to enter the sidewalk area.

Remember children are not miniature adults.

  • They often act before thinking.
  • They have one-third narrower side vision.
  • They can’t judge speed.
  • They are shorter than adults and can’t see over cars and bushes.
  • Make sure the children understand what is expected of them.
  • Have a plan for dealing with disruptive kids.

Messages for Motorists

  • Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where pedestrians trick-or-treating could be expected.
  • Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.
  • Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
  • At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

~Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Watch us on BCTV

RealPlayer video link:

Berks Community Television - Your Channel To Your Community - Archives

Correction: Please note the mailing address for WalkBikeBerks is:

PO Box 6795
Wyomissing, PA 19610


Do you want elected officials to seriously consider walking and biking as they fund infrastructure projects -- such as the ever widening of Routes 422 and 222 and other streets in neighborhoods throughout Berks County? Then SHOW them. Walk or bicycle to the voting polls on Tuesday, November 4, 2008.

Watch the following BCTV programs to learn more about the 2008 candidates...then WALK THE VOTE!

Better yet? Call in during the next forum...and ask the candidates what they will do to improve Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School in Pennsylvania. If you feel "your" candidate is not informed on the issues...take a moment to tell them what you expect in the transportation process.

LWV Candidates Forums
Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2008 at 7:00pm
PA House of Representatives, 124th District
Bill Mackey (D), David Argall (R)

Previous Candidates Forums
US House of Representatives, PA 6th District
Bob Roggio (D), Jim Gerlach (R)

PA House of Representatives, 130th District
David R. Kessler (D), Richard C. Gokey (R)

PA House of Representatives, 128th District
John C. Woodward (D), Samuel E. Rohrer (R)

US House of Representatives, PA 16th District
Bruce Slater (D), Joseph R. Pitts (R)Daniel Frank (C), John A. Murphy (I)

PA Senate, District 11
Michael A. O'Pake (D), Stephen P. Fuhs (R)

PA House of Representatives, 187th District
John Ritter (D), Gary Day (R)

The General Election is Tuesday, November 4th
For more information visit

Candidates Forums are presented as a public service of BCTV and the League of Women Voters.

What would you tell the FHWA about Transportation? You have less than 60 days to be included in their official report.

Claire stood as the representing member of WalkBikeBerks at a recent FHWA review of RATS. Her thoughtful comments are provided so that you too may participate in the transportation planning process. Please do not miss your opportunity to write to Kathy Dimpsey of the FHWA and express your comments for the official record. (See the closing of Claire's notes.)

I attended the meeting of the Federal Highway Administration last Wednesday, October 22nd, at 633 Court Street. The purpose of the meeting was to review the Metropolitan Planning Organization for the City of Reading. The first hour of the meeting was open to the general public. However, I was the only person representing the general public. Everyone else present in the first hour also stayed for the second hour, which was only open to public officials. If for no other reason, I feel it was good that at least one person spoke about the importance of including walkers and bikers in all transportation planning. I truly think that walkers and bikers are not even on the radar of many transportation planners. Although I was able to speak for several minutes about the many benefits of sidewalks and bike lanes, I did sense that a few people wanted to get of to the "real" transportation problems concerning roads. In order to make public officials aware of the financial value of including walking and biking issues as part of the transportation plan, I mentioned the 2010 proposal, which is a plan that other cities are seizing in order to take full advantage of an opportunity to apply for $50 million for improved pedestrian crossings, bike lanes, and sidewalks. To my amazement, no one seemed too interested. People at the meeting were talking about prioritizing and lack of federal funds for transportation problems, but from the enthusiasm shown about the 2010 proposal, I might as well have said $50, instead of $50 MILLION. Ann Arbor is one of the cities applying for this funding, and my son attended a meeting there last week about this very proposal. The mayor conducted the meeting, the university community provided huge support, and many people from the general public attended the meeting. Reading seems to be lacking the support, enthusiasm, and/or expertise to be included in this unbelievable, golden opportunity. I don't understand the lack of interest in $50 million. For anyone who is interested in seeing the plans of other cities who have submitted proposals for the 2010 goldmine, the following link shows the plans of about 50 cities. The rest of the meeting addressed Route 222 construction, bridge repairs, strobe lights in traffic signals, the R-6 railroad extension to Reading, and safety issues connected with railroad crossings.Before I left the meeting, I was given a book about Smart Transportation for Michele. One of the officials (sorry, I didn't get his name) apologized for not reading Michele's statement at the meeting, but he assured me that her statement would be included in the official notes.If anyone wants more information about the meeting, he or she can contact Kathy Dimpsey at Kathy is a Transportation Planning Engineer for the U.S. Department of Transportation; Pennsylvania Division. Kathy said that the public has 60 days to submit comments regarding Reading's transportation plans, and these comments will also be included in the official report.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Exeter Township will Pursue Grant Money for Walking and Biking

Last Update: 10/21/2008 4:05:00 PM
Exeter Township to pursue grant money for recreation
Several Exeter Township supervisors expressed interest Monday in pursuing grant money to make the township more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.Background: A new Pennsylvania Department of Transportation initiative will give out $60 million to promote "smart" transportation, said Michele Barrett, president of WalkBikeBerks, a nonprofit group pushing to make Berks County more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians.Each project can get up to $5 million, including $300,000 for planning, she said at a workshop for the township supervisors and planning commission members.Exeter could add trails to an upcoming revision of the township's park and recreation plan and can add the information into the next subdivision and land development ordinance, zoning officer Cheryl Franckowiak said.

To Read the Full Article:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Philadelphia Bicycle News: PennDOT Shuffles Bike Ped Coordinator Position

Philadelphia Bicycle News: PennDOT Shuffles Bike Ped Coordinator Position

Every now and then, a blog post is so good that it needs to posted here as well. Thanks John Boyle for this thoughtful post. I strongly urge WBB readers to consider your posting.


Letter to FHWA evaluation of RATS, October 22, 2008

Dear Sirs:

WalkBikeBerks is overall very pleased with the opportunity to voice public comments regarding the transportation process in Berks County. Our mission is to make walking and bicycling practical, convenient, and safe transportation and recreation options for all citizens and visitors of Berks County, Pennsylvania.

We envision an intermodal transportation system that enriches quality of life and strengthens the community by providing mobility for all, regardless of motor vehicle ownership, age or ability. Regional planning that includes bicycle and pedestrian transportation spurs community interaction while protecting the open spaces and unique characteristics of this area for future generations.Our positive partnerships with area government entities and other organizations perpetuate on‐going bicycle and pedestrian improvements through engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement programs.

We deeply appreciate that Michael Golembieski and Lori Lencheski joined us at a special meeting of our members (open to the public) to discuss the Berks County Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. They were kind and thorough, and we feel as if we gain tremendously from their conversation with us. We also deeply appreciate that Glen Knoblauch attended a Concerned Citizens of Exeter Township meeting to discuss the history of the Berks County Greenway, Park and Recreation Plan. That time was also very informative and provided us with a good understanding of the process that has been devoted to creating these visions for our county.

Our organization represents members throughout the county, including business men and women, municipal leadership, educators, media, trail and bicycle enthusiasts, children, elderly, disabled residents -- virtually all ages in a diverse ensemble of the public who are working together to create better walking and biking in our transportation system.

We promote Complete Streets and Safe Routes to School as our two primary campaigns. To that goal, we must request that more is done in Berks County to create Complete Streets so that children (and all users) have Safe Routes to School (and work, worship, play). We request that the PennDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Strike-Off Letter SOL 432-0702 be made public and transparent -- that every single municipality be fully trained and educated about this Pennsylvania State-Wide Complete Streets Mandate. Currently, it is our finding that most municipal leaders are not aware of this document, so infrastructure projects are being completed without adhering to this mandate. Furthermore, we request that specific projects receiving Federal and State funding be required to accommodate all users -- that bicycles, pedestrians, and mass transit be implemented into every construction project.

We are disappointed that the construction projects on Route 422 do not accommodate pedestrian and bicycle safety in such a way that invites all (even the most vulnerable) users to cross the widening roadway that divides so many communities in Berks County. Projects in Exeter, Sinking Spring, Douglassville and other communities will now create a greater divide, reducing our access in our own home towns, forcing us into our cars for trips less than 1/2 mile from our homes.

We are, however, very pleased with the new PennDOT Smart Transportation Initiative. We are hopeful that the new program and the funding of $60 Million in Pennsylvania will provide the incentive to our county and local governments to address the needs of all modes of transportation and prioritize pedestrian safety above all other modes. We are deeply grateful to Mr. Alan Piper and Mr. Michael Golembieski for working so hard to address our questions in a timely and professional manner. Both men have been open and friendly to us in our effort to represent the public. We simply hope for greater involvement in the years to come.

There are some specific projects which must be mentioned:
Route 10 from Flying Hills to Penske is a danger zone for pedestrians and cyclists.
Old Route 22 in Hamburg must be retrofit with pedestrian and bicycle accommodations.
Route 422 is our economic corridor in Berks County -- but is dividing communities and weakening our quality of life rather than improving it.
Secondary roads, such as 47th Street in Exeter Township could serve as pedestrian and bicycle corridors to alleviate the congestion and demands of 422 if sidewalks and bicycle access were constructed during (rather than later) major TIP and TIF funded projects.
Bicycle racks on mass transit, and throughout community business districts, will promote cycling as a primary mode of transportation.
We hope to see a Greenway Coordinator hired for our county so that the Greenway Plan may be implemented as it is intended.

Thank you for your time and attention to our requests today.
Michele D. Barrett, President
PO Box 6795
Wyomissing, PA 19610

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Why Walk to School?

"The Safe Routes to School Academy Grant has been a wonderful addition to our Wellness program at Mt. Penn and the Antietam School District. It has focused us to the education and encouragement of pedestrian safety and the benefits of daily exercise. It provided funds that enabled us to kick off a two-year initiative that will improve our community. The help from Walkbikeberks has been wonderful, and I would encourage anyone who has the ability to support walking to school to investigate their own grant."

~Michele Bleacher,
Assistant Principal of Mount Penn Elementary Center
and Wellness Coordinator

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tell Congress to support walking, biking and transit in the 2009 Transportation Bill.

Transportation Bill
Right now, Congress is getting ready to write the new 2009 Transportation Bill—an opportunity that only comes along once a decade.We need your help to create more walkable neighborhoods.

Please forward this petition to your friends who support walking, biking, and transit:

The 2009 Transportation Bill is a once-in-a-decade opportunity. Walk Score will hand-deliver the list of supporters to Congress on foot, on bike, on bus, and on subway.

Thanks for your support!
The Walk Score Team

80% say YES to Walking!

80% of voters polled say, YES!

The community is in favor of the Township attempting to complete a network of walkways for better pedestrian traffic.

Joint Workshop
6:30 Tonight
Sidewalk Connectivity
Exeter Township Supervisors and Planning Commission
DeMoss Road, Exeter

If you support creating better walking and biking in your community, attend a local government meeting this month and simply ask. If you want help working with your local leaders, contact WalkBikeBerks.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

RiverPlace Invites you to a ride -- Today at 1:00

Oct. 18 - Bike Ride
Join us this Saturday for a leisurley fall foliage group bike ride on the RiverPlace Trail system. We'll start at 1:00 p.m. from West Reading's newly revialtized Bertolet Landing park, and riding along the Schuylkill RiverTrail past solar-powered lights, the RACC Bridge, Kerper's Landing, the RACC campus, Entertainment Square, Dana Memorial Park, Baer Park, Confulence Point Park, Stonecliffe, Gring's Mill, Red Bridge and return. Along the way, you'll see recent completed improvements and the sites of upcoming developments including the GiggleWorks at Palmer Children's Mueseum, RiverView at Reading, Entertainment Square, boat launches, archaelogical digs, and shad restoration sites. There are now over 30 miles of interconnected trails at RiverPlace (For a free color color trail map click here) but we'll only ride as much as time allows before dinner. Anyone who'd like to ride at a faster pace or in a different direction is welcome to join us at the start, then leave and rejoin us later.
A 5:00 p.m. dutch treat casual dinner is planned at nearby Brewer's Pub, Third and Cheasnut Streets in West Reading, reservations suggested. For those who'd like to make a night of it, a movie at the IMAX theatre is an option after the dinner.
Click Here to register so we can send you details and directions, and notify you if weather forces a cancellation.

NEW: PennDOT's Smart Transportation Guide

Directly from PennDOT's very own website. Thanks to Alan Piper from Reading Area Transportation Study for making this known.

What is Smart Transportation?

Smart Transportation is partnering to build great communities for future generations of Pennsylvanians by linking transportation investments and land use planning and decision-making.

The ultimate goal of Smart Transportation is to create transportation facilities that are safe and affordable, responsive to the needs of all users, and support community planning goals.

Accommodate all modes of travel: An efficient transportation system should consider the infrastructure necessary to support all modes of travel, including walking, bicycling, transit, and private automobiles. This is especially important in an era of $4 gasoline, when many of our families are spending 30% or more of their income on transportation. Download case studies here.
Will Smart Transportation cost more than what we do today?
When Smart Transportation strategies are done early and consistently throughout the planning, design, and implementation stages of a project, Smart Transportation will cost less than most conventional transportation solutions. The key is to identify opportunities for cost savings by making sure that existing infrastructure investments are taken care of, that project needs are clearly understood and defined, that we use flexible design, that high-value/low-cost projects are prioritized, and that opportunities for sharing resources (across jurisdictions and across agencies) are used.
In some select instances, the upfront costs of Smart Transportation projects might seem to be slightly more expensive than short-term quick fixes, but the longer term cost savings and quality of life returns of a comprehensively thought-out Smart Transportation solution will be far more substantial.

Where can I find more information?
The Smart Transportation Guidebook provides technical guidance for standards and approaches related to traffic engineering and design. This website touches on the various aspects of Smart Transportation, provides information on where to access technical planning and design information related to it, and includes project examples illustrating how Smart Transportation can be applied.
Each PennDOT office has a contact person for Smart Transportation issues and questions. In Central Office, the main point of contact is Brian Hare, Division Chief of the Design Services Division. He can be reached at 717.783.6418, Within each of the district offices, the contact person is the ADE for Design. Click here for your District’s ADE for Design.

Friday, October 17, 2008


ONLY 26 more 'unique' visitors and we'll reach our goal of 1000 NEW readers before October 20. Keep sending your friends.

The Exeter Township sidewalk poll count is climbing. Now, more than 80% of voters say YES, build sidewalks and connect us!

Have you voted yet?

Finally -- if you have not yet marked your calendar, do so now. The FWHA wants to talk to you next Wednesday about Transportation in Berks County. What do you have to say? Write or call and let us know so that we can express your voice for you. Better yet? Attend the meeting yourself. Call Michele at 610-779-9702 for more information.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Your Voice in Transportation Planning

Reading Eagle 10-15-08
Notice Column 25

The Federal Highway Administration & Federal Transit Administration will be conducting public meetings on Wednesday October 22 to hear your comments on the transportation process in Berks County.
1st Session will be conducted from 10 AM to 11 AM for public comment. The 2nd session will he held from 11AM to 12 Noon is intended for public officials

Meetings held Berks County Services Department 14th Floor 633 Court Street

Additional information contact Alan Piper or Michael Golembiewski 610-478-6300

Our Mission
We envision an intermodal transportation system that enriches quality of life and strengthens the community by providing mobility for all, regardless of motor vehicle ownership, age or ability. Regional planning that includes bicycle and pedestrian transportation spurs community interaction while protecting the open spaces and unique characteristics of this area for future generations.
Our positive partnerships with area government entities and other organizations perpetuate on-going bicycle and pedestrian improvements through engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement programs.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Southern Berks News Covers Walk to School

Posted on Tue, Oct 14, 2008
Antietam School District students walk to school
By Heather Tassmer; News Editor

Antietam school students and community members walked to school on Oct. 8. Even Sadie the dog joined in on the fun.
Antietam students took steps to a healthier day when they walked to Mt. Penn Elementary Center on Oct. 8.The date marked the International Walk to School Day and Antietam's observance was a community effort. At least 100 people participated in the walk.
The community organization, WalkBikeBerks, whose mission is promoting walking and biking safely in Berks County, worked with school and community officials to organize the event.
Michele Barrett, president of WalkBikeBerks, gave a lot of credit to Mt. Penn Elementary Assistant Principal Michele Bleacher.;jsessionid=gp6PL1VN7GvM51njQx3JrQcd9MS2QCynqnGjl0FzKBc7FShXzrf2!-147845757?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pg_wk_article&r21.pgpath=%2FBMN%2FNews%2FThe+Southern+Berks+News&r21.content=%2FBMN%2FNews%2FThe+Southern+Berks+News%2FContentTab_Feature_2511901

Build Schools in Neighborhoods where Children Live

Walkability and School Siting Policy are on the verge of colliding. Across the nation -- and certainly within our own county -- school districts are faced with renovating, restoring, or replacing aging buildings. Yet, the economy, environment, wellness of children, and increasing school property taxes are HOT topics in this election year. How can schools meet the needs of the children and still serve the greater public? Many districts are building on precious farm land, overlooking the current movement toward Smart Growth for "cheap" land purchases to build expansive school campuses. Research through the Environmental Protection Agency, Smart Growth Alliance, and many other resources suggest the overall costs of such land development are too high -- intensely harmful to our environment, economy, quality of life, and in direct correlation to sprawling development. I propose that they seek the choices that are most obvious -- renovate or build additions on their current buildings. If either is absolutely impossible or impractical, replace existing buildings with a new facility on the same lot -- AND IN WALKABLE, ESTABLISHED NEIGHBORHOODS WHERE CHILDREN LIVE. I sent the following content to a list of decision makers -- including residents of Exeter Township who are voters and do have the power to make decisions for their own community.

The Millmont Elementary and Science Magnet School at 300 Carroll Street, Reading is an example of a walkable neighborhood school that employs the principles of Smart Growth in its design and function. The new school is a 62,542-square foot building on an 89,406-square foot (2.05 acre) parcel. It will actually be two schools: the top floor will be a K-5 elementary school housing 500 students; and the first floor will be a 6th grade magnet school housing 325 students. Exeter Township School District (like so many other districts) is struggling to find a solution to overcrowding. We can look to examples set by our neighbors in Reading and Antietam who have renovated older schools in established walkable neighborhoods.

The Exeter Township School District Administration Building is located on 3650 Perkiomen on 1.79 acres, only .26 acre smaller than the new school in Reading. If we choose the site for our elementary school, we could house 500 students K-4 there. All of the children who live West of Perkiomen Avenue could attend elementary school in a community-centered location. Beautiful homes in well-established neighborhoods surround this property. Adjacent to the site is a community church with parking to spare. As it stands, 3650 Perkiomen is a historic property that must be renovated or replaced because of its age and disrepair, a ‘brownfield.’ The school district is planning to sell the property to a commercial buyer. The most environmental use of that property would be to choose it now for a new elementary school, one we desperately need. Imagine the cost savings when we do not need to purchase more land but can use a site that already belongs to the district, a site that already holds an elementary school.

We can renovate, add-on, or replace that building, allowing space for 500 students and still have room for a playground and staff parking. There would be no or very little cost to build new streets, traffic lights, or other infrastructure needs. Township Supervisors have agreed to permit a third floor if necessary, so the actual footprint of the building could be even smaller, allowing for more playfields or parking as necessary. This property is the best location in Exeter to serve the school board's own criteria. Mr. Quinter, School Board Member, said he expects new, young families will move into older neighborhoods and homes they can afford, ones just like those surrounding 3650 Perkiomen Avenue – the school he walked to as a child. I agree. Why not build schools in neighborhoods where children live?

A parent who has been very vocal on the school siting issue spoke several times at Supervisors meetings about the walkability of the Bausher’s property, emphasizing the importance of students having walking access to their neighborhood school. I support her in concept because walkability is a key principal of Smart Growth; however, only 100 kids could have potentially walked along Ritter’s Road. All of the children in Reiffton and Crestwood could walk safely to school with this plan. The reuse of this 'brown space' would open the potential for more outside funding from state and federal sources and would address another key principal of Smart Growth.

The Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Pennsylvania School Boards Association …sponsored a publication called Renovate or Replace? The Case for Restoring and Reusing Older School Buildings. The booklet features essays by Gov. Rendell's top cabinet officers, arguing that renovating older schools can save tax dollars, reinforce established communities, and still provide facilities that meet 21st-century educational standards. “The Public School Code … was amended in 2005 to provide an extra state reimbursement to school districts that renovate schools. The extra reimbursement also applies to additions to schools. If a school is brought up to "green" building standards, the district will receive yet another subsidy bonus” (Hylton, Lessons in Economy p2).

Several papers were available requesting parent input and comments at the door as we entered the recent parent forum. The school board requests our opinion on these matters. If you have an opinion, now is the time to share it. The board and administration expect to make a decision before December and to begin the project as soon as possible. It is my opinion that building our new school at 3650 Perkiomen Avenue is the best plan for our community.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sidewalks for better pedestrian traffic

On the Exeter township website,, they have a poll with the following question:

Are you in favor of the Township attempting to complete a network of sidewalks for better pedestrian traffic?

Pass this around and PLEASE VOTE YES!!!!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Money Saving Tips for Thrifty Families

Normally, there's lots of chatter online when someone catches a great media spotlight that shows how we absolutely can walk or bicycle -- to the grocery store! Here, on the greatest media outlet in the world -- the Oprah Winfrey Show -- one mother totes FIVE children to the grocery store on bicycles! YES WE CAN! (Mothers -- we can get out of our minivans!) If you missed the episode, check it out now. Not to be missed!

Money Saving Tips for Thrifty Families: "Kristi got tired of paying high gas prices, so she decided to put her entire family on bicycles. Her two older children can pedal themselves, while the three younger kids sit in bench seats attached to her bike."
From the Oprah Winfrey Show

Congressman Gerlach, Representative Santoni, Commissioner Leinbach, Senator O'Pake, Mayor Nowotarski ALL Support Walk to School Day

On October 8, 2008 -- Senator O'Pake, Congressman Gerlach (pictured -Left), Representative Santoni (pictured -Left behind Gerlach), Commissioner Leinbach, Mayor Nowotarski and the Lower Alsace Township Supervisors walked to school to celebrate International Walk to School Day with WalkBikeBerks and the Mount Penn Elementary School.

We appreciate their support of Walk to School Day!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Workshop Meeting in Exeter Township

Oct 20, 2008
Workshop Meeting

Workshop between the Board of Supervisors and Planning Commission to discuss Township sidewalk needs.

Location: 4975 DeMoss Rd

6:30 PM

Phone: 610-779-5660

Walk to School NEWS

Reading Eagle:
"Walk to School Day at Mount Penn Elementary Center was held in cooperation with WalkBikeBerks, a nonprofit group that works to make Berks County more inviting to bicyclists and pedestrians."We want the children to value that 30 minutes walking to school regularly," group President Michele Barrett said. "And WalkBikeBerks hopes ... that there is a countywide interest at each school, so that every school says, 'We can do this. It can be safe.' "More information about WalkBikeBerks is available at"

Channel 69 News - Berks Edition

POSTED: 10-08-2008 08:21 PM ET MODIFIED: 10-08-2008 08:22 PM ET Walk To School Day Promotes Healthy Life Style

"Walk To School Day Promotes Healthy Life Style"

"In school districts everywhere, childhood obesity is up and so is the cost of transportation. Those two things may not seem to be related, but some leaders think both would improve if more students would walk to school. WFMZ's Joel D. Smith takes us through it, step by step. Reporter: It's a parochial parade.

( Video won't play? CLICK HERE for some helpful suggestions )

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Philadelphia Bicycle News: October 10 - Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

Thanks for the post share, BCGP!

Philadelphia Bicycle News: October 10 - Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day

Fall Safe Routes to School Academy Grants -- Now Available

PANA Mini-Grants Fall 2008

Go Here to Apply:

The Safe Routes to School Academy provides a two-year mini-grant program to support partnership development and coordinate planning and evaluation of SRTS efforts around schools that include grades up to 8th.

Capacity Building Mini-Grant ($5,000)
Includes seed money plus a technical assistance provider to guide partnerships through the development of a thorough SRTS action plan.

Education and Encouragement Mini-Grant ($5,000)
Includes seed money for communities with a basic infrastructure already in place that need assistance promoting and educating parents, kids and community members on walking and biking to school easily and safely.

Mini-Grant Application Timeline
Mini-Grant Applications due by Nov 19, 2008
Winners will be notified by letter December 2008
Winners’ letter of agreement and collaborating entities agreement due Jan 23, 2009

WALK TO SCHOOL -- Every Day!

Go beyond your Walk to School event to support safe walking and bicycling all year long with Safe Routes to School programs. New Federal legislation has recognized the value of ongoing walking and bicycling and is providing funding for states to establish programs.

Find out why Safe Routes to School matter
Learn more about what's happening in your state
Example Safe Routes to School activities

Monday, October 6, 2008

Candidates Forum by BCTV & League of Women Voters

LWV Candidates Forums
Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 at 8:00pm
US House of Representatives, PA 6th DistrictBob Roggio (D), Jim Gerlach (R)

Previous Candidates Forums
PA House of Representatives, 130th DistrictDavid R. Kessler (D), Richard C. Gokey (R)
PA House of Representatives, 128th DistrictJohn C. Woodward (D), Samuel E. Rohrer (R)
US House of Representatives, PA 16th DistrictBruce Slater (D), Joseph R. Pitts (R)Daniel Frank (C), John A. Murphy (I)
PA Senate, District 11Michael A. O'Pake (D), Stephen P. Fuhs (R)
PA House of Representatives, 187th DistrictJohn Ritter (D), Gary Day (R)

The General Election is Tuesday, November 4th
The deadline to register was Monday, October 6th
For more information visit
Candidates Forums are presented as a public service of BCTV and the League of Women Voters.

Adam Crosier returns to Berks County...

"To anyone else thinking of hiking the trail, whether it is a thru-hike or just going out for the day, all I can recommend is: DO IT." -- Adam Crosier

Our own local Exeter Township's Adam Crosier has completed his Appalachian Trail Hike. See here for more details:

Dear Adam: When you read this message, contact me. I can't wait for you to share your story with WalkBikeBerks.

Until then, congratulations.


Sunday, October 5, 2008

PA State-Wide Complete Streets Bill

Write to your district's State Representative and ask for a State-Wide Complete Streets Bill today. Use my local district letter as an example:

2 Scholl Drive
Oley, PA 19547

October 5, 2008

Dear Representative Kessler,

Thank you so much for all of the fine work that you have accomplished in the past year for Pennsylvania. We are working to support your efforts for Smart Growth by focusing on a specific key element: multimodal transportation (mass transit, pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles).

I am writing today to ask you to consider working with WalkBikeBerks to draft a new state-wide Complete Streets Bill.

A new law has been signed in California creating a State-wide Complete Streets Policy. Please consider reviewing here: It is the intention of WalkBikeBerks that we look to other states who have set an example for us to follow. Ultimately, I would hope that Pennsylvania would lead the nation -- as the Keystone State -- on such sound environmental, economic, and alternative transportation policies.

Assembly Bill No. 1358
An act to amend Sections 65040.2 and 65302 of the Government Code,
relating to planning.
[Approved by Governor September 30, 2008. Filed with
Secretary of State September 30, 2008.]
legislative counsel’s digest
AB 1358, Leno. Planning: circulation element: transportation.

(1) Existing law requires the legislative body of each county and city to adopt a comprehensive, long-term general plan for the physical development of the county or city with specified elements, including a circulation element consisting of the general location and extent of existing and proposed major thoroughfares, transportation routes, terminals, any military airports and ports, and other local public utilities and facilities, all correlated with the land use element of the plan.
This bill would require, commencing January 1, 2011, that the legislative body of a city or county, upon any substantive revision of the circulation element of the general plan, modify the circulation element to plan for a balanced, multimodal transportation network that meets the needs of all users of streets, roads, and highways, defined to include motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, children, persons with disabilities, seniors, movers of commercial goods, and users of public transportation, in a manner that is suitable to the rural, suburban, or urban context of the general plan. By requiring new duties of local officials, this bill would impose a state-mandated local program.
(2) Existing law establishes in the Office of the Governor the Office of Planning and Research with duties that include developing and adopting guidelines for the preparation of and content of mandatory elements required in city and county general plans.

Michele D. Barrett
Board President

Friday, October 3, 2008

Complete Streets Victory

This news alert issued by the National Complete Streets Coalition provides a details of a recent complete streets policy -- one that ensures the entire right of way is routinely designed and operated to enable safe access for all users. Please pass it around! And visit to stay informed.

For Immediate Release
October 3, 2008
For more information, contact:Stephanie Potts, 202-207-3355 x25

California Passes Complete Streets Law
Major Victory for National Complete Streets Movement

Governor Schwarzenegger signed into law on September 30th Assembly Bill 1358 (pdf), the California Complete Streets Act of 2008 authored by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).The new law requires cities and counties to include complete streets policies as part of their general plans so that roadways are designed to safely accommodate all users, including bicyclists, pedestrians, transit riders, children, older people, and disabled people, as well as motorists."Streets aren't just for cars, they're for people and with the Complete Streets Act local governments will plan for and build roadways that are safe and convenient for everyone- young or old, riding a bike or on foot, in a car or on a bus," said Assemblyman Leno. "Getting people out of their cars and riding bicycles or the bus improves public health, air quality, eases congestion and reduces greenhouse emissions."Introduced in 2007 and cosponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and AARP California, the bill passed the Senate on August 27, with the Assembly concurring with the Senate's amendments on August 29. The new law will complement an existing policy, which directs Caltrans to "fully consider the needs of non-motorized travelers (including pedestrians, bicyclists and persons with disabilities) in all programming, planning, maintenance, construction, operations and project development activities and products." Furthermore, by enacting this law, the State of California continues its groundbreaking commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.To date, more than 70 jurisdictions have adopted complete streets measures, and many others are considering them. In addition to California, five other states have complete streets legislation.Beginning January 2011, any substantive revision of the circulation element in the general plan of a California local government will include complete streets provisions."California has taken a big step forward in helping make sure that streets are designed so that anyone can travel safely, whether by foot, bicycle, bus or car," said David P. Sloane, AARP Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy. "More people are leaving their cars at home and walking since the gas crisis. They need their streets to be user friendly. AARP commends Governor Schwarzenegger and the California legislature for their foresight in adopting Complete Streets."Groups supporting complete streets have formed the National Complete Streets Coalition, with active participation from groups representing older persons, transit users, pedestrians, bicyclists, and disabled people, as well as smart growth proponents and professional organizations such as the American Planning Association and the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

For more information, visit or call 202-207-3355.
The National Complete Streets Coalition 1707 L Street NW #1050 Washington, DC 20036For questions about the coalition or to submit items for the newsletter, email

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