The DVRPC Helps Transportation in the Delaware Valley Move Forward

Alex de Berardinis, for GPA -- On July 16, the Delaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force, a freight advisory committee open to the area’s shipping industry, held their quarterly meeting at the American College of Physicians Building (630 Race St.). The well-attended event had a jam-packed schedule full of insightful speakers and presentations.

After introductions from around the room and complimentary coffee and breakfast, the meeting opened with an update from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), which co-chairs the task force along with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT). The DVRPC has worked tirelessly to develop what they refer to as the region’s Comprehensive Economic Strategy (CEDS). This new report is due to the United States Economic Development Administration by the end of September. The DVRPC’s Mary Bell, manager of demographic and economic analysis, gave the report at the meeting, enlightening attendees on its contents, purpose and where it is headed next.

Following Bell’s report on the region’s CEDS, Mike Ruane, a DVRPC transportation planner, discussed the trouble resulting from the Darby Borough intersection in Delaware County. The task force underwent a two-phase study on the two highway-railroad grade crossings in that area. Although it was determined that only minimal improvement is possible at this time, there is a plan in place to improve the intersection with some drastic changes in the future. Residents can be encouraged to know that there are people in the area working tirelessly to improve certain intersections and high travel areas that are currently unsafe.

Following the DVRPC staff presentations, the commission handed the floor over to PennDOT to present a long range transportation plan which is currently under development. The plan focused on a series of freight movement strategies that were identified during stakeholder outreach. Although the cost of the state’s transportation plan will be around $300 billion, the problems and solutions were clearly planned out in a comprehensive presentation by PennDOT consultants.

After hearing about the future of the area’s transportation infrastructure, the room was graced by two separate presentations on Montgomery County’s vision for its future and what that has to do with transportation in the area as well as a presentation on the history of the city of Lansdale.

Brian O’Leary of the Montgomery County Planning Commission spoke at length about the vibrancy he sees for the future of the area. The themes of his presentation were connected communities, a vibrant economy and sustainable places. O’Leary talked about how improving freight movement in the county will lead to a bright future for the region.

Paul Delp, President of Lansdale Warehouse, emphasized Lansdale’s role as being at the center of the Northeast Megalopolis that houses more than 50 million people. Through a presentation that focused on how the city of Lansdale came about, Delp illustrated the Delaware Valley’s competitive advantage and integral role of warehousing in supporting varied supply chains and customer’s business objectives.

All in all, the Delaware Valley Goods Movement Task Force’s quarterly meeting was a whirlwind of optimistic and realistic situations and solutions revolving around the state of transportation in the Delaware Valley. It is extremely refreshing to see a task force working so hard for so many people in the area. Hopefully the beneficiaries know that this is happening and that good, hard work is being done all day, every day at the DVRPC.

Photo courtesy of the Southern New Jersey Development Council.