On November 16, GVF and North Coventry Township celebrated the installation of a crosswalk demonstration on W Main Street and S Hanover Street. The project was federally funded via the Travel Options Program (TOP) Grant from Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC). The location of the crosswalk is part of a big picture plan in North Coventry Township that aims to improve walkability and connect Riverside Park East, which is along the Schuylkill River and has access to amenities such as a boat ramp with dock, fishing, and pickleball courts to the residential area and open space of Riverside Park West on the other side of S Hanover Street.
In addition to the installation of the crosswalk demonstration, the Streets For All grant includes an educational campaign to reinforce the importance of sharing the road with people utilizing transportation options other than cars.
Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan voiced her support for the Streets for All program and the crosswalk installation. She stated:
“It's through these efforts that we can see the tangible benefits of federal investment in local infrastructure – creating safer, more inclusive, and sustainable communities. Congratulations on this milestone accomplishment.”
Chester County Commissioner Chair Marian Moskowitz also celebrated the installation of the crosswalks and the connection to Chester County's Complete Streets policy by stating: “Based on the guidance of Chester County’s ‘Complete Streets’ policy, GVF’s ‘Streets for All” initiative is creating safe pedestrian and cycling opportunities and improvements, and these two crosswalk locations in the Borough of Phoenixville and North Coventry Township are great examples communities across Chester County to review and consider.”
GVF's Deputy Executive Director, Maureen Farrell opened the event launching GVF's partnership with North Coventry Township and Township Manager Erica Batdorf, and the importance of connections on the local, state, and federal levels to gain support on initiatives like the Streets for All program. The Streets for All program aims to promote alternatives to driving alone and helping residents making informed decisions by investing in the infrastructure to put people first before cars.
State Representative Paul Friel spoke about his connection to North Coventry and his appreciation for the commitment that both GVF and North Coventry Township have shown to improving the biking and walking infrastructure. He said, "I just want to thank GVF and the team at North Coventry for, through this grant process, making our community safer, and making investments because this is a great place to live and to raise a family... we need to keep investing in our infrastructure to make sure its a safe place to raise your family and a safe place to get around."
Donnell Sheppard, District Deputy Director for Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan reiterated that this crosswalk demonstration project is a result of partnerships on the federal, state and local level. "The Safe Streets for All program is a key element of President Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.... which allocated 800 million for 511 projects nationwide and this is one of them... as we anticipate the next phases of this demonstration project, remember that our efforts are focused on building a township where everyone has a right to move safely and freely and that's a top priority."
Stacy Bartels, Office of TDM Strategy and Marketing Manager, DVRPC spoke about DVRPC's role in allocating funding through partnerships on the state and local level and the importance of partnerships with non-profits like GVF in advocating for funding for projects, like the Streets for All Program. Stacy said "It's a win-win when we all work together and we are very happy to see projects like this. Although some people may look at this and say 'It's a crosswalk!' But it's a big deal, and if somebody feels safer walking somewhere using this crosswalk that means that means they are going to walk more often. That's good for them and it's good for this region."
Brian Styche, Multimodal Transportation Planning Director, Chester County Planning Commission echoed the theme of partnerships, and the importance of continuing to work together to implement Chester County's Complete Streets policy. "At the Planning Commission, we rely on the people at the local and municipal levels to implement these types of facilities. We work with them to identify where these problem areas, or different projects, could be and one of our partners, DVRPC, helps to provide funding for them. I want to congratulate North Coventry and GVF for completing this project, and bettering the active transportation environment in Chester County."
North Coventry Township Manager, Erica Batdorf, described the planning and work that has already been done in North Coventry on roads, open spaces, park planning and public safety and how that work connects to this crosswalk and the next steps in development and infrastructure improvements to make walking and biking in the township safer. "Some big ideas take smaller first steps.. when we can look at projects that interface with one another, we are taking these projects into the neighborhoods and communities we serve... We appreciate our local, state, and federal partners that help us get this job done. We see and recognize that funding and support is needed and it is projects like this that can spark the interest and opportunity in what we can get done and what is possible."
Matthew Deichert, Chief of Police for North Coventry Township spoke about the ongoing efforts to improve safety for pedestrians and motorists along S Hanover Street, which is a busy roadway that sees more than 5000 vehicles per day. He echoed the importance of partnerships, such as the partnership with Owen J. Roberts School District bus patrol to help protect students getting on and off the bus from vehicle violations. "Through our combined efforts, we are having a positive impact within our community to increase the quality of life and provide safer neighborhoods."
The event wrapped up with a ceremonial ribbon cutting and networking. GVF looks forward to continuing to make connections that enhance the safety in our communities and ultimately result in Streets for All.