Twenty five national, state and regional organizations came together today to call upon Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro to take concrete actions to accelerate active transportation in the Commonwealth.
In a letter addressed to the governor, the groups cite that trail and active transportation networks are “essential infrastructure for equitably addressing the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania—economic development, climate resiliency, mobility, and bicyclist and pedestrian safety.” According to the organizations leading the effort, the pace of active transportation infrastructure development in Pennsylvania is slow and not prioritized by any state agency, regardless of significant consequences for pedestrians and bicyclists who are disproportionately killed and severely injured in traffic crashes each year.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of the most breathtaking and critically needed trail networks in the nation including the Circuit Trails, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, and even serving as a vital source of connection along the widely anticipated nationwide Great American Rail-Trail,” said Andrew Dupuy, Director of State-Level Policy. “Pennsylvania is fostering trail networks in a way that sets it apart nationwide—almost entirely because of the hard work and commitment of organizations working on the ground. The Shapiro administration can take very specific actions that would advance this work and its impact much more quickly.”
To accelerate much-needed trail and active transportation networks, advocates are urging Governor Shapiro to:
- Issue an Executive Order articulating how Pennsylvania’s active transportation networks advance the Governor’s vision for infrastructure, and call for the prioritization of active transportation networks as part of the state’s infrastructure planning.
- Commit to a dedicated funding program and a new agency bureau for planning, building and maintaining active transportation networks.
- Build on past and ongoing efforts to enhance inter-agency cooperation on active transportation, like the current Safe Routes to Parks State Accelerator Program, by creating an inter-agency plus stakeholder task force, that includes PA Departments of Transportation, Health, Community & Economic Development, Conservation & Natural Resources, Environmental Protection, and Aging that would:
- Develop an Active Transportation Network Implementation Plan (the Plan) by December 2023 that details how state programs and budgets will be structured, coordinated and integrated to both implement the 2019 Active Transportation Plan and to advance the Governor’s vision for Pennsylvania’s active transportation networks.
- Recommend new legislation, funding sources, reorganized and new agency structures, and policies to achieve the Plan by December 2023
- Report to the Governor annually on progress being made by state agencies on the Active Transportation Network Implementation Plan such as the number and scope of capital projects funded, miles of Active Transportation infrastructure constructed and the number of people served and their counties.
The full text of the letter is available to read here. Individuals can sign on in support at this petition. Organizations can fill out this form if they would like to add their organizations as endorsing the letter.
“There are significant efforts being made at the local and regional levels to build trails and on-road facilities to make it safe for anyone to bike or walk where they need to go. But, we need Governor Shapiro to play a leadership role in scaling up his agencies’ active transportation policies and programs to meet the needs and demands throughout Pennsylvania.” Said Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition.