The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the region’s forum for collaboration, planning, and public decision-making, and is responsible for planning and prioritizing the use of all state and federal transportation funds allocated to the region. The Commission has the authority and responsibility to make decisions affecting the 10-county region.
One of the ways that they prioritize what projects will happen is through a document called the TIP or Transportation Improvement Program. Currently, there is a draft of this document that is in need of public comment, according to federal law. This draft TIP identifies the priority highway and transit improvements programmed for advancement over the next four years.
Basically, if a project ain’t on the TIP, it ain’t gonna get built.
This is where you as a cyclist and part of the public come in.
According to SPC’s website,
encouraging safe, efficient travel for pedestrians and cyclists is an important part of SPC’s role as a regional transportation agency. Bicycling and walking offer excellent commuter options that support our overall mission to reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality. Communities that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly are also “livable,” providing residents with opportunities for recreation and community-enhancing economic development.
Sounds great! Unfortunately, most funding, and especially most large projects go to highways and major road improvements.
So what do we do? We have the cycling public like you to make comments that demand them to include cycling into the projects on the TIP.
This TIP contains many bridge projects dealing with Western Pennsylvania’s degrading bridge infrastructure. No doubt these projects are a needed fix to our region’s safety. But we also need to make sure that cycling isn’t left out of the upcoming repairs and redesigns. The best time to get in and make improvements for cycling is when this infrastructure is being looked at again, especially when there is money to make the changes. That’s how we were able to get bike lanes on the Birmingham Bridge, for instance.
Locally, the bridges that are on the 2009-2012 TIP are all heavily used by the cycling public. The 6th, 7th, 9th, South Tenth, Rankin, and Glenwood Bridges are all up for rehab.
You don’t like those “teeth-like” expansion gaps on the 6th Street bridge on your way to the North Shore Trail? Tell them to replace them with bicycle friendly ones! Make sure to mention that bike/ped bridge improvements were adopted in SPC’s “Long Range Plan” for the region last year.
At minimum, you can re-use SPC’s own quote as your comment, to remind them of the importance of including cycling in the development of our transportation system.
To view the TIP, simply click here to be directed to the public comment part of the site.
Also, below are the public meetings that you can attend to also leave comments.
Beginning May 27, 2008, these draft documents will be available for public review on the internet at www.spcregion.org and at the offices of the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, at the Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, at County Planning Departments, and at many public libraries in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
SPC’s Public Participation Panels encourage you to attend a public meeting to learn more about the draft documents. Meetings will be open house in format with an informational presentation approximately 30 minutes after starting time. There will be opportunities to look at maps, talk to representatives from SPC, PennDOT, transit operators, and planning departments, and submit your comments.
June 3, 5:00 p.m., Fayette County Emergency Management Building, 22 E. Main Street, Uniontown
June 4, 5:00 p.m., Room 104, Courthouse Square, 100 West Beau Street, Washington
June 5, 6:00 p.m., Juror’s Holding Room, Old Courthouse, 430 Court Street, New Castle
June 9, 6:00 p.m., Third Floor, Stover Hall, Waynesburg College, Waynesburg
June 11, 5:30 p.m., 31st floor, Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Ave., Downtown Pittsburgh
June 16, 7:00 p.m., Butler County Govt. Center, 1st Floor, Public Meeting Room, 124 W. Diamond St., Butler
June 16, 7:00 p.m., Indiana Area Junior High Library, 245 North Fifth Street, Indiana
June 17, 6:00 p.m., Commissioners’ Meeting Room, County Courthouse, Greensburg
June 18, 7:00 p.m., County Courthouse, 810 Third Street, Beaver
June 19, 7:00 p.m., Armstrong County Commissioners Conference Room, 450 Market Street, Kittanning
Oral and written comments will be taken by SPC representatives at any meeting. Written comments can also be submitted online at www.spcregion.org; by mail to SPC Comments, 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2500, Pittsburgh, PA 15219; by fax to 412-391-9160; or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All comments must be received by 4:00 p.m. on June 25, 2008.
The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission will consider these draft documents for action at their meeting on June 30, 2008 at 4:30 p.m., Regional Enterprise Tower, 425 Sixth Avenue, 31st Floor, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
Meeting locations are accessible to persons with disabilities. With advance notification, accommodations may be provided for those with special needs related to language, sight, or hearing. Please call 412-391-5590, extension 361 to request these services.
Questions? Please call Matt Pavlosky at 412-391-5590, extension 361.