The Borough of West Chester took a small, small step to raise the awareness of bicycling by installing a sharrow on S. Church St, which runs parallel to the busy S. High St (Business 202). Both streets connect Downtown with the West Chester University South Campus.
Ironically, South High St. was the first challenge to the PENNDOT’s Bikeway Occupancy Permit (BOP). In 2005 PennDOT had set aside funding to design and install bike lanes on suburban roads. DVRPC Bicycle and Pedestrian department recommended bike lanes on a short stretch of S. High Street in adjacent West Goshen Township.
PENNDOT ultimately rejected the inclusion of bike lanes because of the Township’s reluctance to sign the BOP. Much of that PENNDOT bikeway design money sat idle until the Bicycle Coalition worked with PENNDOT and County Planners to draw plans to for bike lanes on suburban roads.
While sharrows have been shown not improve the comfort of bicycling on roads, they have been shown to be useful for the navigation of low speed and low traffic streets like S. Church.
In recent years the borough has also installed bike parking in downtown and at its bus terminal. We hope that West Chester continues to look at ways to make bicycling a better option to get around in the borough.
Bike Chester County Meeting:
Bike Chester County will be holding a public meeting on Thursday March 23rd, 6:30PM at the West Whiteland Township Building. More information is available here.