Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Nation's Obesity Epidemic Continues to Worsen


Adult obesity rates climbed in 28 states during the past year and now exceed 25 percent in more than two-thirds of the states, according to F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens America’s Future 2010. The report, by Trust for America’s Health and RWJF, concludes that the nation’s response still fails to measure up to the magnitude of the problem. At the same time, it highlights public recognition of the issue and results of a new survey showing Americans’ acute concern about childhood obesity—and their willingness to invest significantly in prevention programs.
Read the news release and the report.

State by State Report:
"Millions of Americans still face barriers - like the high cost of healthy foods and lack of access to safe places to be physically active - that make healthy choices challenging."
"Pennsylvania has not passed Complete Streets legislation, which aims to ensure that all users -- pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities -- have safe access to a community's streets. Thirteen states have passed Complete Streets legislation."

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Protect PA Trail Funding – ACT NOW!

This is a repost from the PA Walks and Bikes blog.

As budget negotiations are heating up in Harrisburg, Governor Rendell has built his latest budget proposal by gutting $132 million in environmental funds.

These funds support a host of valuable projects in Pennsylvania, including Growing Greener and the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund – the drivers of countless trail projects in Pennsylvania.

Take action today! Contact your legislators through our easy form to ensure that they get the message. Trails are important to Pennsylvania!

Court awards $850,000 in fatal pedestrian accident in Reading

"Lillian Velez was walking to a senior center to visit her mother on Aug. 15, 2008, when she was hit crossing Front Street at Walnut Street, Wisinich said."

Read the Full Story
Area Digest: Court awards $850,000 in fatal pedestrian accident in Reading

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Have you seen us on BCTV?

BCTV program
Monday June 28, 7:00 pm
"County Plan for Walking and Biking"
Guest Michael Golembiewski, Berks County Planning Commission, Transportation Modeler

Previous Shows include:

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, October 27, 2008 12:00 am
Safe Routes to Schools

WalkBikeBerks
Wednesday, August 13, 2008 8:30 pm

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, December 22, 2008 7:00 pm
Bicycle Education

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, February 23, 2009 7:00 pm
Bicycling Rights & Responsibilities

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, April 27, 2009 7:00 pm
May is National Bike Month

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, June 22, 2009 7:00 pm
Make it Intermodal

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, February 22, 2010 7:00 pm
Who's Walking?

WalkBikeBerks
Monday, April 26, 2010 7:00 pm
Bike to Work

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The National Bicycling and Walking Study: 15-Year Status Report


This report is the third status update to the National Bicycling and Walking Study, originally published in 1994 as an assessment of bicycling and walking as transportation modes in the United States. Following the 5-year status report (1999) and 10-year status report (2004), the 15-year update measures the progress made toward the original goals of lowering the number of fatalities while increasing the percentage of trips made by bicycling and walking. Injury and fatality statistics are presented to measure this progress, as well as results from surveys related to travel habits. The 15-year report, unlike its two predecessors, examines a range of efforts to increase bicycling and walking in the United States. Programs at the Federal, State, and local levels are included, as well as case studies on best practices. Finally, the report makes recommendations for research, policy, and other measures that can be taken to meet the goals of the original study.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Is It So Hard to Get Kids Walking to School?

Sometimes, another blogger just has something so great -- I feel compelled not to change a word. Here -- Free Range Kids covers one of my favorite programs -- Safe Routes to School. Enjoy the read:


Why Is It So Hard to Get Kids Walking to School?
Posted on June 15, 2010 by lskenazy

Hi Readers — I’m still on the road and just gave a speech in Chicago sponsored by the National Center for Safe Routes to School. (A jolly bunch!) Safe Routes reps every state gathered to talk about the pressing question: How can we get more kids walking to school? The organization says that a generation ago, two thirds of f kids walked or biked to school. Today, 20-25% do. I’ve heard numbers even lower than that.

So Safe Routes (funded by the Dept. of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration) aims to get kids back to walking to school by whatever means necessary. If a neighborhood needs sidewalks, they help the neighborhood organize to get ‘em. If a school has outlawed walking or biking, they help explain to the district why those things are actually GOOD. They even address, head on, the district’s fears of liability. Meantime, if parents are interested in letting their kids walk, but are scared (of predators, traffic, and worst of all: other parents thinking they’re lazy!), they teach ‘em about the “walking school bus.” That’s the cool idea that a parent can take her kid and walk to the next kid’s house and pick her up, and then they all walk to the NEXT kid’s house and pick HIM up, etc., etc., so by the time they get to the school, there are a bunch of kids all walking together [with a parent or two]....

Even the Safe Routes folks agree: It’s weird we have come to time in society when we have to structure what used to be simple and natural — kids walking places. But the way I often think of Free-Range Kids is just that: re-introducing an old-fashioned childhood. When kids have been kept inside so long they no longer know how to organize their own game of leap frog, it’s not bad for a school to hire a recess coach to teach them (and then get out of the way). It’s more important to bring back those skills than it is to blindly pretend that kids will develop them on their own — because they never did. The used to learn games from the older kids in the neighborhood. If there are no older kids outside anymore, or they’re all at travel soccer, then of course the younger ones don’t learn those games out of thin air. Someone needs to re-introduce them.
That’s the same reasoning behind “Take Our Children to the Park…And Leave Them There Day.” Of COURSE I’d like all kids to automatically head out to the park on a sunny Saturday without needing a special holiday to encourage this. But since so many times kids DON’T head to the park, they DON’T get to know the other local kids, and they DON’T know how fun it can be to just kick around a playground with each other. So they stay inside. I proposed a morning where the old-fashioned “meet and have fun” thing would happen, hoping that afterward kids would clamor to do it again.
Safe Routes is on the same sort of mission and its website seems to be loaded with great ideas for how to get the PTA involved, and what to say to skeptics, and how to get the school on your side. And if the local problem is a lack of crossing guards, or whatever, the organization is also game to help walk a district through the red tape it takes to get some grant money to fix the problem. And, just like Take Our Children to the Park Day, Safe Routes sponsors Walk to School Day (coming up in October).
Our shared goal? To re-introduce kids into the world, sort of the way we’ve done with Peregrine falcons. They may have been bred in captivity, but a future awaits when they can soar.
— Lenore

Reading Eagle Reports on Antietam Lake Meeting

http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=229413

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Antietam Lake Park Public Meeting -- Berks County Residents Invited!

A public meeting is scheduled for:

Monday, June 21, 2010
7:00-9:00 PM

Lower Alsace Township Municipal Building
1200 Carsonia Avenue, Reading, PA 19606


Berks County is in the process of developing a Master Plan for Antietam Lake Park. The Master Plan will provide a blueprint for future improvements to the park and expanded recreation opportunities for Berks County residents.

If you would like to bicycle or walk to this County Park -- and leave your car at home -- make sure to suggest that the plan include how bicyclists and pedestrians will come and go -- safely and conveniently. A transportation plan to the facility won't be complete without accomodating all modes!

You are invited to attend an evening brainstorming session to voice your thoughts and ideas on the prefinal master plan for Antietam Lake Park. Public input will be incorporated into the design process and will help to establish priorities for future development and conservation. Mark your calendars and plan to attend.

Share this invitation with others. If unable to attend, and want to contribute, please forward your comments to Chris Lessig, Director, Berks County Parks & Recreation, clessig@countyofberks.com

Friday, June 18, 2010

Bike To Work Raffle Winner Pictures

Go to our website and check out the pictures of our raffle winners. Unfortunately, we couldn't get a picture of our Lebos winner but we know he's very excited about using the money to fix his commuter bike up!

We congratulate everyone and wish them a happier commute with the cash they now have from our bike shop sponsors!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Safe Routes to School avoids a House vote to cut it—for now

Here is the latest news on the potential House vote to cut federal funding of Safe Routes to School. Your message to our representative has been HEARD!

On Monday, June 14, 2010, we alerted you to the possibility that the federal Safe Routes to School program could be targeted for a House floor vote to cut the program. Rep. Cantor (R-VA) had identified Safe Routes to School as one of five options that the public could vote on cutting through his YouCut initiative. Fortunately, Safe Routes to School was not subjected to a vote at that time, selling off excess federal property, got the most votes.

On very short notice, advocates across the country sprang into action and contacted their Members of Congress to ask them to vote against any effort to cut Safe Routes to School. More than 1150 people used the League of American Bicyclists' advocacy system in a 24-hour period to contact their Members of Congress via email. We also heard from many others that made phone calls or contacted a Congressional staff person directly that wouldn't be included in that tally.

WalkBikeBerks, the League and Safe Routes to School National Partnership is grateful to all the national, state and local organizations that helped quickly spread the word about this threat. And, thank you to everyone who took the time to contact their Members of Congress. Even though there was not a vote this time, it helped raise awareness about the importance of Safe Routes to School and the wide support it has across the country.

However, we will have to remain vigilant. This isn't the first time Rep. Cantor has attacked bicycling and walking, and his press secretary has stated that bicycling and walking will likely be the subject of future YouCut votes.

If you have not done so please contact your Representative to urge them to support Safe Routes to Schools.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Federal Funding of Safe Routes To School Program - Urgent Need!

House Republican Whip, Eric Cantor, has targeted the Federal Safe Routes to School program as wasteful government spending as part of his YouCut program. Each week, Rep. Cantor asks people to vote for which of five options they would cut from the federal budget. Republicans then hold a floor vote in the House of Representatives to try and eliminate the program that gets the most votes.

This week, the Federal Safe Routes to School program is one of Rep. Cantor’s choices to cut. He argues that SRTS duplicates other bicycling and walking programs, and that bicycling and walking infrastructure is a local government responsibility. We need your help to show Rep. Cantor that Safe Routes to School is important to his constituents and that it is not wasteful spending.

Please take a minute and go to this link on the League of American Bicyclists website to send a letter to your House Representative and let your rep know how important the Federal SRTS program is and those efforts and funds are NOT duplicative of other local programs.

Please click on this link to send your message directly to your House Representative.

Allentown Teen Dies In Bicycle Accident

As reported on WFMZ website. Here's a link also to the road in which the accident occured here on google maps.

We don't have anymore details on the cause of the bike/car collision. However, since PennDot and authorities don't release sites of bike/car or pedestrian/car collision to general public due to liability fears, help WalkBikeBerks track suspect intersections and locations.

When you hear of a collision involving a pedestrian or bicyclist send the details to info@walkbikeberks.org.

Gina Gasper | Web Producer

Posted: 10:38 pm EDT June 11, 2010Updated: 5:20 pm EDT June 13, 2010

Text Size
A teenager from Allentown is dead following a crash in Greenwich Township Friday night.It happened around 8:00p.m. Friday.The Berks County Coroner says 15-year-old Joseph Wayne Compton was killed from trauma received after being thrown from his bicycle.State police said Campton was riding his bike on Daniels Road West when he was struck by a vehicle traveling north on Lutz road, near Old Route 22 and the Lehigh County line.The investigation into the cause of the crash is continuing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Dump The Pump Day

Thursday, June 17 is the 5th annual national "Dump the Pump" day. Commuters are encouraged to leave their cars at home and try public transportation on the 17th. Along with the many benefits of using transit (saving money, less traffic congestion, improved air quality, etc.), BARTA is promoting Dump the Pump with a drawing for free passes.

There will be an ad in the Reading Eagle to inform the public about the promotion and there will be an entry blank for people to fill out and deposit in boxes that will be placed at the Barta Transportation Center. Drivers will also hand out entry blanks to passengers on the 17th. The grand prize winner will receive 6 – 31-Day Anywhere Passes, 6 first prize winners will receive one 31-Day Anywhere Pass, and 6 second prize winners will receive 2-One Day Anywhere Passes. The drawing will take place on Monday, June 28th.

PA Commuter Services can help commuters find a bus route. Please call 1.866.579.RIDE for more information!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Is Your Street On the List? Public Comments Sought for Transportation Study in Berks

Make your neighborhood better for walking and biking. Speak at a public meeting, Write and submit a comment, Fax or email the Berks County Planning Commission -- and ask that all of our streets be built for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.

Too many of our streets are designed only for speeding cars, or worse, creeping traffic jams.
Now, in communities across the county, a movement is growing to complete the streets. Residents are asking planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone. The first stage is being completed now -- as the Berks County Planning Commission drafts a new Bicycle and Pedestrian Transportation Plan. Make sure you thank our transportation authority for their work and efforts to make our streets better for all users.

Then, ask that we work together to do more by extending walking and bicycling into the overall transportation plan: Instituting a complete streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind - including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Here's how:

The Reading Area Transportation Study (RATS) Coordinating Committee has prepared planning documents that list various roadway, public transit, and off-road transportation projects and planning efforts in Berks County.

This announcement is designed to give citizens, local governments and interested organizations an opportunity to comment on the Draft TIP, Draft Long Range Transportation Plan Update, Draft Air Quality Conformity Analysis and Draft Benefits and Burdens Analysis.

Two (2) Public Meetings to take comments on the Draft TIP, Long Range Transportation Plan Update, Draft Air Quality Conformity Analysis and Draft Benefits and Burdens Analysis will be held:
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
7:00 p.m.
Berks County Agricultural Center
1238 County Welfare Rd., Leesport, PA

Thursday, July 1, 2010
4:00 p.m.
Berks County Planning Commission
633 Court Street, 14th Floor, Reading, PA

Please submit written comments to:
Mr. Alan D. Piper, Transportation Planner,
Berks County Planning Commission
633 Court St. – 14th Floor, Reading, PA 19601

Comments will be accepted beginning Monday, June 7, 2010 through the close of business on Friday, July 9, 2010.

Comments may be faxed to (610) 478-6316
email to planning@countyofberks.com.

A copy of the Draft TIP, Draft Long Range Transportation Plan Update, Draft Air Quality Conformity Analysis and Draft Benefits and Burdens Analysis is available for public review on the Berks County Planning Commission’s web page at www.co.berks.pa.us/planning and at the following locations:

Berks Co. Planning Commission BARTA Executive Offices PENNDOT Dist. 5-0
633 Court St – 14th Floor 1700 North 11th Street 1002 Hamilton Street
Reading, PA 19601 Reading, PA 19604 Allentown, PA 18101

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

WalkBikeBerks Commuter Challenge Winners Announced!

Although Bike To Work month has passed we still have some winners to announce for our commuter challenge raffle! During the month of May WalkBikeBerks recorded over 229 bicycle commuter trips for 1015 miles from 30 individuals.

Putting these numbers into perspective it represents approximately over 48,700 calories burned which is equivalent to 90 McDonald Big Macs or 195 McDonald Hamburgers. Also, total calories burned is approximate to 141lbs. Using the 2010 IRS reimbursement rate for business travel the total miles is equivalent to $17/person saved in gas and auto repair/maintenance.

Further, comparing these numbers to the competition sponsored by our friends from the Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition in Philadelphia we have the following:

____________Reading ____Philadelphia ___% Difference
# of Trips ---------229 -------------762 ----------------30%
Miles ---------------1015 -------------3,129 ------------- 32%
Population -------81,000 ------- 1,400,000 ------- 5.8%

While both organizations know there's a much larger bicycle commuter population out there that did not enter our competition it's interesting to note that while Reading's population is under 6% of Philadelphia, we had a greater proportion of trips and miles in a county that has NO bike lanes and significantly less bicycle infrastructure than Philadelphia.

We at WalkBikeBerks look forward to organizing our bicycling commuters to put pressure on our local/state governments to improve our infrastructure and improve these statistics!

Now on to our winners!

- Winner of $150 to spend at Spokes Bicycle Shop in Hamburg - Ben Schiavone from EnerSys
- Winner of $100 to spend at Lebo's Pedal Parlor in West Lawn - Thom Inglin from Baldwin
- 5 Winners of $10 to spend at The Crank in Wernersville:
- Mark Burton from Carpenter Technologies
- Sean Fullerton from Exeter Police Department
- Steve Thompson from Baldwin
- Larisa Duffy from Raylon Corp
- Ed Renenger from Stevens & Lee

Congratulations to our winners and thanks to our sponsors! Check back later for pictures of our winners!

Friday, June 4, 2010

DCNR Invests in Schuylkill River Trail to Promote Outdoor Activity, Connect River Towns in Chester County

An important link in the Schuylkill River Trail between Pottstown and Phoenixville receives a grant!

PARKERFORD, Pa., June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Secretary John Quigley today announced a $406,035 grant to Chester County that will help add a 3.5-mile segment to the Schuylkill River Trail, linking it from Phoenixville to Pottstown.

The vision for the Schuylkill River Trail is that it will be seamless along the Schuylkill River from Delaware County, through Philadelphia, to Montgomery and Chester counties, proceeding on to Reading, Berks County, and eventually to the headwaters of the river in Schuylkill County.



"Trails make important connections between places; they connect natural resources to community revitalization and they connect people to the outdoors," Quigley said at a groundbreaking ceremony for the trail segment in Chester County. "We are happy to make this investment and partner with Chester County in providing this critical link in the Schuylkill River Trail to connect recreational hubs and river towns through some of the state's most populated areas.

"The Chester County commissioners are to be congratulated for investing more than $1 million in this key trail segment through the Schuylkill River Heritage Area."

The new trail section will be 10- to 12-feet wide on a rail bed owned by PECO and under easement to Chester County. The project will include informational kiosks with maps.

The project will also incorporate a number of green features, including using existing hardscape, no tree removals, planting warm season grasses instead of typical blue grasses, and eliminating excavation during construction by using the existing gravel path and drainage networks.

DCNR's grant to the Schuylkill River Trail and associated greenway was made possible through the department's Community Conservation Partnerships Program that is supported by the Keystone Fund. It advances efforts in the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative to work with public and private partners on land conservation, locally-driven planning and community economic revitalization efforts that protect natural resources and cultural assets.

In addition to having large populations, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Lebanon, Lancaster, Lehigh and Montgomery counties are home to critical unprotected lands such as source waters and contiguous forested lands and key habitats in what is known as the Hopewell Big Woods. The Schuylkill Highlands effort hopes to protect what is special in this region by saving high-quality lands and connecting people and communities through a network of trails and gateway communities.

For more information about DCNR grants or the Schuylkill Highlands Conservation Landscape Initiative, visit www.dcnr.state.pa.us or call 717-772-9101.

Media contact: Christina Novak, 717-772-9101

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Copyright 2010 PR Newswire. All Rights Reserved


WFMZ-TV 69 News Online

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Take The 2 Mile Challenge!

WalkBikeBerks' parent organization The Alliance for Biking and Walking has an opportunity to receive $25,000! Please see details below and help The Alliance win so they can help other grass root organizations such as WalkBikeBerks further our mission!

Take the 2 Mile Challenge and help the Alliance earn $25,000!

Bolstered by a $25,000 grant from CLIF BAR, the Alliance for Biking & Walking is playing a key role in a national effort to replace short car trips with bike travel.

The 2 Mile Challenge was inspired by a little-recognized fact: 40 percent of urban trips are less than two miles. Ryan Mayo, Brand Experience Manager for CLIF BAR, said the energy bar company was staggered by that statistic. So it came up with a creative competition to encourage consumers to stop driving and start cycling.

To lead the charge in the 2 Mile Challenge, CLIF BAR selected three nonprofit organizations that work to advance sustainable transportation options. Each nonprofit was awarded $25,000 and assigned to represent one of three national teams: Gold, Blue, or Red.

The Alliance for Biking & Walking is going for the Gold - and we need your pedal-powered movement to earn another $25,000!


Sign up for the 2 Mile Challenge and pledge your support to the Gold Team. If you're an organization leader, encourage your members to get involved, too! As you park your car and hop on your bicycle, log your travel online. Each trip on a bicycle will add to the point total for their team. At the end of October, an additional $25,000 grant will be awarded to the team with the most logged miles.

The Alliance will use the $25,000 grant from CLIF BAR to support its Winning Campaigns Trainings and also assist in the development and launch of the Guide to Funding Biking and Walking Projects, an upcoming Alliance publication.

Support the Alliance, take the challenge and join the Gold Team at http://www.2milechallenge.com.