Congresswoman Houlahan, PA State Reps & more discuss PA Transportation at Advancing Mobility Summit


L-R: Jeff Knueppel, General Manager, SEPTA; Ken McClain, District Executive, PennDOT District 6-0; Barry Seymour, Executive Director, DVRPC; Bradley Heigel, Chief Engineer, PA Turnpike; Jeff Guzy, Executive Director, RK&K; Rob Henry, Executive Director, GVF; PA State Representative Joe Webster; PA State Representative Joe Ciresi; PA State Representative Ben Sanchez; Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan  


Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, PA State Reps, SEPTA, PennDOT and more discuss PA Transportation and Infrastructure at Annual Advancing Mobility Summit 

GVF, a not-for-profit organization committed to reducing congestion, improving the environment and quality of life for all, hosted its last signature event of the year, its  Advancing Mobility Summit earlier this month.

 

Through the Advancing Mobility Summit attendees heard about local, regional and state-wide initiatives and projects, as well as networking among executives.


The 2019 summit featured two dynamic keynote speakers and three panel sessions. 


Morning keynote:  


Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan


U.S. Representative Chrissy Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, engineer, entrepreneur, and educator who is continuing her career of service as the first woman ever to represent Pennsylvania's 6th District in Congress.


Chrissy was the morning keynote speaker and spoke about her passion for improving transportation and infrastructure within PA. 


She stated that Pennsylvania is ranked ninth in the country when it comes to the amount of structurally deficient bridges. She passionately talked about how this must be addressed. She also spoke on the importance of addressing congestion, which affects economic productivity within the state.


Chrissy is working diligently in D.C., initiating communication with the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee to address mobility issues within her district and a larger goal of passing a long-term transportation. Chrissy has talked to congressional members about a ‘carbon fee’ and has co-sponsored an affordable housing bill, realizing that both access to affordable housing as well as an economical way to get to work are important to strengthen our workforce as well as equity.


Luncheon keynote:


Richard Gottlieb, President, COO, Keystone Property Group


Rich spoke on Keystone Property Group’s project SORA West. SORA West is a large-scale, multi-faceted development centered around a vibrant plaza, which will be flanked by a 165-key hotel with significant restaurant space and a rooftop lounge; the existing 139-year-old Conshohocken Firehouse, which will be recreated as a gastropub with an indoor/outdoor experience; and a 1,500-space parking structure to support these facilities:

  • Dynamic mixed-use transit-oriented development project at the gateway to Conshohocken 

  • Vibrant public plaza designed as a community event and gathering space

  • Strategically positioned amid key public transit networks, including Interstate 76, the Conshohocken SEPTA train station and walkable bus stops

  • Three signaled intersections and six ingress/egress points enable seamless commuting


Elected Officials Panel:


PA State Representative Joseph Ciresi

Representative Ciresi stated that his number one concern for the region is transportation. Ciresi hopes that companies will embrace TDM strategies, such as working from home, ride sharing, or public transit to move towards improving our transportation issues. 


PA State Representative Ben Sanchez

Representative Sanchez is a firm believer in alternative modes, especially biking and walking. He is passionate about helping to advance projects like the Greenwood Road project in Abington, where sidewalk gaps have been filled; trails have been connected and the area has become a dynamic part of the community. 


PA State Representative Joe Webster


Representative Webster stated that this past summer he had brought people together to start thinking about Ridge Pike and how to bring both transportation improvements and an economic vision. 


Regional Panel:


Barry Seymour, Executive Director, DVRPC


Barry Seymour stated that efficient, healthy transportation systems must be thought of like a ‘utility’ like water and electricity as no growth can take place in an area without it.

Barry spoke on the Southeastern Pennsylvania Partnership for Mobility Report (May 2019) that outlines the very critical need to address transportation funding.


Ken McClain, District Executive, PennDOT District 6-0


Ken McClain stated that PennDOT District 6-0 owns more roads and bridges than the DOT’s of NJ and New England combined. The District averages between $400M-$600M in construction lettings each year, $2.2B is committed to 130 construction projects.


Going forward, he stated that PennDOT funds will concentrate on bringing our interstate system into good repair.  Interstate spending has been very low over recent years; spending will double from $460M in 2020 to $883M in 2021.


Bradley Heigel, Chief Engineer, PA Turnpike Commission 


Brad gave highlights of the PA Turnpike Commission’s plan to institute cash-less tolling across the entire system. Six (6) sites have been converted so far. The year proposed for all 

cash-less sites is 2022. This means that sites will use Easy Pass or have direct billing per license plate recognition.


Jeff Knueppel, General Manager, SEPTA


Jeff stated that over the past 18 years there has been a 52% increase in ridership for regional rail, 41% increase in ridership for Market-Frankford Line, and 38% increase in ridership for Broad Street Line. 


Rapid Transit for Tomorrow:


Abbey Gancz, Project Manager, Urban Engineers


Mark Huffer, Project Director, Transit Practice Leader, HNTB


Christopher Jandoli, Mid-Atlantic Planning and Environment Manager, WSP


Rick Kiegel, Transportation Planning Manager, RK&K


The Rapid Transit of Tomorrow panel shared information on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects from around the country. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system. It provides a fast and comfortable service through the provision of dedicated lanes, with busways and stations typically aligned to the center of the road, off-board fare collection, and fast and frequent operations. 


Abbey Gancz from Urban Engineers focused on a local project – The Boulevard Direct, which is the closest system our region has to BRT. The first phase is currently underway, which includes station re-design and branding efforts. These efforts are showing a 28% reduction in travel time when compared against normal local service. Panelists from HNTB, WSP and RK&K spoke about successful BRT projects that are being built and/or are underway in Maryland, Long Island, Indianapolis, Minneapolis and Kansas City.


“Thank you again to our speakers, sponsors and attendees. Mobility across the world, our country and our region is in flux and our Advancing Mobility Summit was a great place to learn and discuss those changes.  GVF will continue to lead the discussion as we move forward with our collective future,” Rob Henry, Executive Director, GVF. 


Click here to view photos from the event.


GVF would like to thank the following sponsors: 


Thank you to our 2019 Annual Event Sponsors:


Diamond Level: Kaplin Stewart, Urban Engineers


Platinum Level: Boles Smyth, Brandywine Realty Trust, McMahon Associates, Pennoni, RK&K, Vanguard


Gold Level: King of Prussia Mall, Michael Baker International, TimHaahs, Traffic Planning and Design, Inc., WSP


Silver Level: BartonPartners, Comcast, Commute with Enterprise, DVRPC, Gannett Fleming,

HNTB, Santander Bank, SEPTA, STV, Suburban Transit Network, TranSystems, TY LIN International


Founded in 1990, GVF is a not-for-profit organization created to advocate and promote a viable transportation network for the region’s economic vitality. To maximize awareness and develop sustainable support, we partner with public and private entities.

GVF's mission is to achieve a desirable quality of life and a healthy, competitive economic environment by developing multi-faceted transportation strategies.  For more information about GVF or to learn about the benefits of partnership, visit www.gvftma.com







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