To celebrate Earth Day’s 50th anniversary, GVF hosted a webinar with speakers Greg Krykewycz, Associate Director, Multimodal Planning, DVRPC and Molly Duffy, Executive Director, Valley Forge Park Alliance.
Greg kicked off the webinar by providing an overview of the Special Traffic Counts reporting DVRPC has been conducting during COVID-19. Prior to the stay-at-home order, DVRPC set up traffic counters in approximately 40 locations across Southeastern PA. The purpose of the counts is to use travel data during the quarantine to set a “Peak TDM” regional scenario that could help identify future TDM plans for the region.
Greg recognized that this is a special case. Typically, when promoting alternatives to driving alone you encourage teleworking, but you also want to see public transit ridership increase – which is unable to happen since SEPTA is running as an essential line only and discouraging people to ride other for essential trips only.
The data shows congestion, speeds, and volume levels at different times throughout the day. To date, daily counts in vehicle miles traveled shows a 75% decrease and reduced travel times since the start of the stay-at-home order. Since traffic is low, speed has increased at all times of the day. Greg also spoke on the bike and pedestrian counters that are tracking trail usage. There has been major increase in trail use since the stay-at-home order. Surprisingly, less popular trails are being utilized more during this time. This is assumed to be because of concerns with social distancing on the more popular trails.
Molly provided relevant updates about the Valley Forge National Historical Park and several projects the Valley Forge Alliance is working on. The park was originally open when the stay-at-home order was introduced; however, in mid-March the park closed due to the number of visitors becoming extremely overwhelming and concerns regarding social distancing and preservation of the park.
Molly discussed plans for the park, specifically, the North Gulph Road Connector Trail. The trail would connect Chester Valley trail to the Schuylkill River Trail through the King of Prussia Town Center. A feasibility plan has already been completed and they are now in the next steps of obtaining funding to move the project forward.
It is the hope that the increase in trail use during quarantine shows that this type of project is needed and translates into the future development of our communities.
During this crisis, GVF continues to provide resources for its partners through weekly webinars. Click here to view our past speakers and recap of each meeting. As always, if GVF can assist your organization with anything, please do not hesitate to reach out.