Yesterday evening Delaware County Councilmember Elaine Schaefer was the guest speaker at our Delaware County Affiliate Group’s Supporter Social meeting.
The meeting was well attended, and its first agenda item was an update from the Main Line Greenway team. The project, which will eventually be 20+ miles of on-road low-stress bike and walking routes, will have initial installation of paint on the roads go down in the next few months. For more info on the Main Line Greenway, which got its start as a Bicycle Coalition technical assistance project, click here.
Next was our new Delaware County Affiliate Chair Eric Hartman, who discussed what the affiliate group does in the county and how folks can get involved; followed by our Regional Planner Leonard Bonarek, who described his role, and his work that’s specific to Delaware County. Leonard also announced he will be leaving us on September 4 (details here). Leonard gave some of his time to Daniel Paschall of the East Coast Greenway Alliance. Daniel discussed how the greenway can make downtown Chester City a much more pleasant place to be, if it comes in conjunction with a road diet that would convert Rt 291 back in to 2nd Street.
Elaine gave remarks in support of better cycling and walking in Delaware County, highlighting her day job as a trail manager for the Schuylkill Greenways National Heritage Area. She definitely has a personal interest in trails an open space. Elaine discussed future plans to beef up the County’s trail and open space capacity, announcing the creation of a consultancy that will assist the planning department on several issues: on what new hires it needs to make in the future, and organizing the work of the various trail advocates in the county. For more info on that job opportunity, click here.
Elaine also highlighted how York County is ahead of the game in putting CARES Act funding to work for trail development. She said counties in the Philadelphia region are all behind in getting this recovery money allocated to projects that will make them more resilient in the face of a future pandemic.
Elaine went on to discuss the East Coast Greenway, and stated that she supports a “road diet” on Rt 291, which would enable residents of Chester City the ability to “Reclaim 2nd St,” by making it a 2-lane community boulevard with center medians to protect pedestrians and make shorter crossing distances. The trail, which would be located in land that is currently occupied by an outside lane of Rt 291, would make for a lovely ride near the river, and would help connect the East Coast Greenway through the county. Councilmember Schaefer said it will take more than her support though: she stated it will take a rising chorus of local elected officials demanding better of PennDOT for the project to be implemented. Currently, PennDOT holds the position that it is more important to maintain the wide roadway as a “spillover” route for I-95 than to make it safer for Chester City residents.