This blog was originally posted by the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and reformatted here.

Right now, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) is seeking your input on the Draft Connections 2050 Long-Range Plan for Greater Philadelphia until August 30, 2021 at 5:00 PM. Please read the Circuit Trails Coalition’s full letter with recommendations to ensure that Greater Philadelphia moves the region towards significantly reducing its greenhouse gas emissions over the next 29 years.

The Plan is prepared every four years to present “a vision for the orderly growth and development of the region and a fiscally constrained financial plan for how the region intends to invest reasonably anticipated transportation revenue.” It is a critically important document because it lays out how the region will spend federal transportation funds, which in turn has a dramatic impact on the region’s transportation infrastructure, future growth patterns and land use, and the concomitant impact on the environment: greenhouse gas emissions, air quality and water quality.

We are asking you to take a few minutes to read about how you can ask DVRPC to strengthen the 2050 Long-Range Plan and accelerate the development of more bicycle/pedestrian facilities and add 150 miles to the Circuit in the near term to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.

We encourage you to send the following comments in your letter to DVRPC to clicking here. You are of course welcome to edit the letter and use your own words.

Summary of Recommendations to strengthen the 2050 Connections Long-Range Plan:

1. The Plan should have an explicit commitment to fully fund both the completion of the Circuit Trails and safe neighborhood bicycle/pedestrian connections that will allow anyone in the Region to safely access the Circuit in the next twelve years. The Plan must make a stronger, more concrete commitment to completing the Circuit, Philadelphia’s High Quality Bicycle Network and other major and minor bicycle/pedestrian projects in the near term (the first twelve years) that will significantly shift people from out of their cars to a combination of biking and walking or taking transit.

2. Program $60M annually from the Surface Transportation Program to Bicycle/Pedestrian projects. $60M represents $1.6B spread over 29 years. The Plan should develop a mechanism or system for programming those funds from the Surface Transportation Program funds; not competitive grant funds. We recommend that DVRPC either fully fund the Circuit and other Major Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian projects on the Transportation Improvement Programs for NJ and PA or set up a Bicycle/Pedestrian fund that is in the range of $60Million per /year that can be drawn down for selected bicycle/pedestrian projects that contribute towards Major Regional Bike/Ped Projects.

3. Commit to the 500 miles of Circuit Trails by 2025 and accelerate the completion of Circuit Trail projects to meet the goal. Select the “In Progress” and “In Pipeline” projects to the PA and NJ TIPs that will add 150 miles to the Circuit and use Surface Transportation Program funding to program them

4. Commit to spending 17% of new transportation road dollars on Bike/Ped projects. Based on the Vision plan that $13.9B out of $82.2B will be allocated to bicycle/pedestrian projects, the Plan should expressly commit to spending 17% of any new roadway funding that emerges from the Infrastructure bill and FY2022 Budget bill on bicycle/pedestrian projects.

5. Place Philadelphia’s High Quality Bicycle Network as one project on the PA TIP and program the identified cost of $800 million from the Surface Transportation Program.

6. Support the Regional Vision Zero Target goal of zero traffic deaths by 2050 with concrete strategies and actions, such as building out Philadelphia’s High Quality Bicycle Network, targeting highway safety spending, and declaring the region’s need for Pennsylvania and New Jersey to enact legislation to legalize automated speed

There’s less than one week to take action so please act now and send your comments to DVRPC today!

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