“Get off the couch and get active” that’s the message that St. Lukes University Health Systems has for Lehigh Valley, Upper Perkiomen, Pocono and Anthracite Region residents. And they are using the nearby 165 mile D&L Trail to help members of the community achieve their personal fitness goals.
This year St. Lukes is partnering with the D&L Heritage Corridor for its 165 mile challenge. The 165 Mile Challenge is a challenge to log 165 miles of biking, walking or running over 6 months (May to October 2014). The goal is to connect people to the outstanding opportunities along the D&L Trail while increasing health awareness and improving the health status of the community. The challenge is supported by several fitness events on the trail but participants can choose to walk, bike and run anywhere and anytime they please.
Pennsylvania ranks in the lower half of many health indicator categories, including Obesity (29th), Diabetes (30th) and Physical Inactivity (30th). Reaching out to our health networks to is effective ways to promote active lifestyles to populations that need it the most.
Last week Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto held a press conference in Schenley Park announcing the details of the City’s first protected bike lanes. At the conference the Mayor showed rendering of the largest of the three proposed bike lanes on Schenley Drive through the park.
Apparently the plans for the downtown bike lanes on Penn Ave are not ready for roll out yet. So we took the liberty of visualizing them using Street Mix. Based on the details of an earlier article the two way protected bike lane will replace the single eastbound lane and not affect westbound traffic.
Over the years bus travel has declined in Pennsylvania as routes have slowly fallen by the wayside. Mid size towns such as Gettysburg, Chambersburg and Franklin have lost their intercity bus stops.
The lack of amenities and information for bus passengers, poor coordination with Amtrak and the difficulty of buying a bus ticket online all contribute to the stigma and unpopularity of bus travel in most of Pennsylvania. Additionally many rural bus stops are unmarked and thus lightly used, its not unheard of for a once a day bus to pass by without stopping for flagging customers.
Despite these setbacks bus travel can still get you to far more places than air travel for a fraction of the price. A survey of the 14 commercial serviced airports in Pennsylvania on Kayak shows a typical day before price for a one way ticket from Philadelphia to be about $500, compare that to $68 for a Philadelphia to Erie Greyhound Bus Ticket. The travel time to some smaller airports such as Franklin can take from 7 to 12 hours.
For a few major cities and college communities, bus service is alive and well. Megabus for example allows you to buy a Philadelphia to Pittsburgh ticket well in advance for as low as $13. Bolt Bus serves Philadelphia and competes with Amtrak and Megabus for the Northeast Corridor while the Chinatown bus companies Top Bus and Great Wall serve State College and York from New York City. These companies, which emphasize internet ticketing and express service have done quite well, even if some of their stops leave you off on the edge of town.
Some gaps in the intercity network have been filled by local transit agencies, offering high end commuter bus service during the weekday peak hours. These buses often include real time location, wifi access, outlets, cup holders, bike racks and high back seats.
Perhaps the key for restoring routine bus travel in Pennsylvania lies in the ability for transportation providers to modernize business practices. Could rural shared ride services learn something from Uber? PENNDOT also has a role here. California has managed to coordinate bus services with Amtrak offering timed connections and thru ticketing. Some of these connections already exist, for example from the Harrisburg Transportation Center local and intercity buses serve State College, Williamsport, Lebanon, Hershey Park, Gettysburg and York but there is no single online resource available to book these trips.
According to Pittsburgh Trib Live, the Westmoreland County Borough of Scottdale is reconsidering a decade long ban on riding bicycles in its downtown business district. Scottdale is at the west end of the Coal and Coke Trail and 6 miles from the Great Allegheny Passage. Local trail advocates have been discussing the bike ban with borough officials and hope to see a change in the ordinance.
The animated GIF below shows proposed streetscape improvements to downtown Scottdale. Planners saw the trail connection to the town as an asset and incorporated that element into this mockup.
Read More in Trib Live