In early February, the board of directors of PA Walks and Bikes convened to discuss policy priorities for 2012. After much deliberation, the board has decided on key issues to focus our efforts on during the year. This year we will be focusing our efforts on:
State and Federal funding bills are being debated and we want to be sure that proper funding is being allocated to projects that benefit bicyclists and pedestrians.
Reforming the Bicycle Occupancy Permit
The Bicycle Occupancy Permit is an agreement between PennDOT and municipalities desiring on road bicycle facilities such as bicycle lanes. The permit requires, among other things, that the municipality assume full liability and maintenance responsibility for the facility. We disagree with this position, and we will focus our efforts on reforming this policy to aide municipalities in building more bicycle friendly streets.
Pennsylvania does not have an official Complete Streets policy. Complete Streets is a movement nationwide that encourages departments of transportation to consider all users, not simply automobiles, when investing in transportation infrastructure improvements. Where appropriate, Complete Streets means having proper pedestrian facilities such as sidewalks and crosswalks; wide shoulders, bicycle lanes, or bicycle side paths; transit stops that are clearly marked, safe, sheltered, and well lit.
Ensuring Compliance with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Checklist
When PennDOT begins the project planning process, they are required to review the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians and if necessary, provide facilities to accommodate their usage. We suspect that this process is not being adhered to properly. PA Walks and Bikes will work with PennDOT to ensure that every project completes this important step before continuing to construction.
We recognize that there are bicycle and pedestrian advocates statewide, many working on issues familiar to PA Walks and Bikes. We want to expand our network to include these advocates. Through this expansion, we can share resources, provide valuable assistance and experiences, and work collaboratively to make Pennsylvania a better, safer, and more convenient place for bicyclists and pedestrians.