Governor Wolf Eliminates PennDOT’s Bicycle Occupancy Permit for PA Municipalities

Freeport Rd, before and after a PennDOT road diet redesign

Good news out of Harrisburg

After a decade-long effort, Governor Wolf once and for all eliminated PennDOT’s Bikeway Occupancy Permit (BOP) and replaced it with a simpler Bike Lane Request/Approval Letter. Also included in the Bike-to-Work Week announcement was a PennDOT initiative to widen shoulders (when appropriate) during their projects.

The Bicycle Occupancy Permit forced local municipalities to sign a maintenance agreement for a bike lane on a road, even if PennDOT maintained the rest of the road. For instance, PennDOT would require the municipality to agree to plow the bike lane, even if they were going to plow the rest of the road. This was not a requirement in the state’s two largest cities, but prevented untold numbers of smaller Pennsylvania municipalities from pursuing these safety improvements on their roads.

If you recall, our attempt a year and a half ago to get a road diet and bike lanes striped on Freeport Rd between Blawnox and Harmar was nearly thwarted when O’hara balked at obtaining a BOP. We ended up winning a compromise solution, a road diet, but featuring shoulders instead of marked bike lanes.

The Strike Off Letter from PennDOT also mentions separated bike lanes which will still require a more formal maintenance agreement prior to construction.

We thank Governor Wolf and PennDOT for eliminating this vestige of the past and making it much easier for local municipalities to join the 21st century and make their roads safer for everyone.

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