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GVF and Lower Merion Township Celebrate Main Line Greenway Connection as Part of the “Bike More Drive Less” Project

Updated: May 16

GVF, a not-for-profit with over 34 years of transportation planning experience, is partnering with Lower Merion Township on the Bike More, Drive Less Project.

GVF works with communities or organizations to improve climate, equity, and overall quality of life through transportation demand management (TDM) programs and policies. TDM are strategies that help to reduce single-occupancy vehicles through education, legislative policies and/or ordinances.

Bike More, Drive Less is an innovative project that supports bicycling as a travel option. The project supports Montgomery County’s bicycle plan, Bike Montco, and is funded by a Travel Options Program (TOP) grant from DVRPC.  GVF conducted a study to identify “pinch points” on the existing Main Line Greenway.  The intersection of Montgomery and Woodbine Avenues was identified as a critical area for improved safety. GVF worked with Lower Merion to restripe the crosswalk. In addition, the property owner purchased bike racks for this location, which were recently installed.   

The Lower Merion Township Board of Commissioners officially adopted the eastern part of the Main Line Greenway (MLG) as a Township bicycle network. The eastern part of the MLG extends from Manayunk Bridge to Haverford College through Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Narberth, Wynnewood North Ardmore and South Ardmore. The Commissioners allocated funds for 2024 to design and install wayfinding signage. Planning staff is working with local civic associations, institutions and Haverford Township to extend the MLG to Penn Wynne and from Haverford College to Villanova.

The ride began with the bikers gathering at Spread Bagelry in Wynnewood and riding on the Mainline Greenway before arriving at Kismet Bagels. Nicknamed the "bagel to bagel" ride, GVF and Lower Merion were joined by representatives from Narberth Borough, Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the Montgomery County Planning Commission, the Penn Valley Civic Association, and the Narberth Cycling Club.

GVF's Deputy Executive Director Maureen Farrell kicked off the event with background on GVF's relationship with Lower Merion Township, which developed the first TDM ordinance in the region, and their work on initiatives to improve connectivity and put people over cars. GVF worked with Lower Merion on an analysis of the bike network. She stated, "we can't solve every pinch point of the network... but this intersection, Woodbine and Montgomery was identified as a need to make it a safer intersection as a main through point of the Main Line Greenway and we succeeded in having it restriped as part of this project."

Montgomery County Commissioner Vice-Chair Neil Makhija commended the work that GVF, DVRPC, Montgomery County, Lower Merion Township, and Narberth Borough have been doing to improve the biking network stating, "too many leaders in the past think that because we don't see people on bikes that there is not a demand for this but we know that if we build the infrastructure we will see many more people on the road. The desire is there."

Louis Rossman, Lower Merion Board Commissioner, spoke next about the goals of GVF and Lower Merion's partnership and how the partnership and the adoption of the Main Line Greenway can achieve those goals. "We want to cut back major transportation that we are so used to, it is such a habit, by 15-20%, not 100%. If we can achieve that, we have achieved an enormous step forward for our environment."

Narberth Borough Council member Jean Burock spoke more about the need for the expansion of the Main Line Greenway: "The Main Line Greenway is the first step for a more bikeable, walkable, connected community and I am so excited about it. The vision is, to be able to get on a bike with your family- go to the bagel shop, go to the park, go to the trails all without having to stress out about fighting traffic and fighting for parking... Narberth Borough is working with Lower Merion Township to roll out the first stage of the Main Line Greenway... and bringing 800 miles of regional trail access to our community."

Michelle Detweiler, President of the Penn Valley Civic Association, which funded the bike hitches along Montgomery Avenue, thanked everyone for considering the area for safety improvements: "Thank you for adding the safety improvements.. we hope that more people will ride their bikes to Kismet to take advantage of the wonderful bagels, sandwiches, and coffee and everything they have to offer."

Kismet Bagels owners Jacob and Alex Cohen spoke about the infrastructure improvement saying that "it's very moving and encouraging to see the investment in the neighborhood" and that they hope to continue to see people using the bike hitches and biking to Kismet Bagels.

Scott Zelov, Lower Merion Commissioner, wrapped up the press event by thanking the Lower Merion Police Department for their support of these projects and keeping the community safe.

This event marked the end of the Bike More, Drive Less project but not the end of the partnerships between GVF, DVRPC, Montgomery County, Lower Merion Township, Narberth Borough, and all of the stakeholders committed to improving infrastructure for biking and walking, and expanding the Main Line Greenway to improve connectivity.



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