Congested Commutes In Harrisburg, York, Lancaster? National Group Ranks Them

Sitting in traffic is not unusual for commuters in the Harrisburg, York and Lancaster areas.  The stop-and-go of the rush hour wears on cars, nerves and wallets.

TRIP, a Washington, D.C., based national transportation organization, has pinpointed 14 corridors costing area commuters a total of $472 million each year or about $2,000 annually per driver depending on which route they take.

The report released Thursday points to these trouble zones for commuters:

  1. Rohrerstown Road from Wabank Road to State Street in Lancaster.  On this corridor, the average rush hour driver spends 108 hours, 46 additional gallons of gas, and $1,995 annually or $38 weekly.

Read more:  http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/06/national_group_pinpoints_worst.html#incart_m-rpt-2

Traffic Clogs And Their Costs, Spot By Spot, Around Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sitting in Berks County traffic can cost you, but how much depends on which jam you’re stuck in.

The authors of a study released last month that found congestion in the Reading and Lehigh Valley areas costs drivers an average of $420 a year released more details Thursday, breaking down which roads were the most costly.

The study was compiled by TRIP, a Washington think tank funded by the transportation industry.

1. Route 422: Between Morwood and Woodside avenues in West Lawn.

Gas (gallons): 19
Time: 45
Cost: $829
Proposed fixes: Intersection, signal upgrades; parallel connector street.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=486340

The 13 Worst Commutes Around Philadelphia

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Montgomery County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Editor’s note:  The only thing I would add is that I might start this at Royersford or Collegeville.  However, I don’t miss that drive after doing it for almost 20 years!

Commuters who drive on Interstate 676 between I-95 and I-76 or on state Route 611 between the Pennsylvania Turnpike and I-95 during rush hour spend 125 hours a year sitting in traffic.

Those are the worst commutes in the region, according to a new report from TRIP, a transportation research group backed by advocates for highway improvements.

Besides the lost hours due to congestion, drivers on those stretches of I-676 and Route 611 also waste 54 gallons of gas per year, TRIP’s report found. Here are the routes the organization says are the worst commutes in the Philadelphia region, based on time and fuel lost due to traffic congestion during peak hours:

3. U.S. Route 422 from U.S. 202 to Egypt Road in Montgomery County:  Drivers lose 67 hours and 29 gallons of gas annually due to congestion; 64,000 to 83,000 daily drivers

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillylists/The-13-worst-commutes-around-Philadelphia.html#Yd4beskKgRTJub4q.99

Pennsylvania’s Bad Roads Costly To Drivers

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and ...

Map of Pennsylvania, showing major cities and roads (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two out of every three major urban roads in the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region are in poor or mediocre condition, underscoring the transportation dilemma the state faces, according to a report released Wednesday by a national transportation organization.

And using those roads is costing the average driver an additional $1,320 per year in extra vehicle operating costs as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays.

The report, “Future Mobility in Pennsylvania: The Cost of Meeting the State’s Need for Safe and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Pennsylvania:

• Thirty seven percent of major roads and highways provide motorists with a rough ride.

Read more:  http://www.timesleader.com/news/local-news/554650/Pa.s-bad-roads-costly-to-drivers

Changing Skyline: Philly Steering Toward Bike Sharing

Philadelphia didn’t need Bicycling magazine to confirm that it is one of America’s best biking cities (No. 17 on its 2012 list).  You can see it every day on the streets:

Near northeast corner, May 2005.

Near northeast corner, May 2005. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The steady stream of commuters sluicing down Center City‘s bike lanes.  The tangle of bikes hitched to U-shaped racks and bike corrals.  (More, please.)  The proliferation of neighborhood bike shops.

Philadelphia probably could have ranked higher in the magazine’s esteem if it had a bike-sharing program, like most of the list’s top 20 cities.  You can now find cheap, on-street bike rentals in more than 135 places around the world, many of them with worse weather and hillier streets than Philadelphia.  Yet the city has remained strangely ambivalent toward the concept, even as private bikes have become a popular transit option within the city.

But the sight of Mayor Nutter tooling around Rittenhouse Square last week on a canary-yellow cruiser suggests Philadelphia is finally ready to commit.  To show the city’s seriousness, his Transportation Department organized a daylong bike-sharing demonstration with three top vendors, supplying a docking-station’s worth of bikes in paint-box colors.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/entertainment/20130510_Changing_Skyline__City_steering_toward_bike_sharing.html#oeXi4rzPYwBAAXdv.99

Radnor Panel Rejects Villanova Expansion

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Delaware County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Radnor Township Planning Commission has rejected Villanova University‘s request for a zoning change that would allow a major expansion of the Lancaster Avenue campus with new dormitories, a parking garage, a performing arts center, and stores.

The $200 million plan has upset residents, who say it would transform a quiet neighborhood into a noisy extension of the 10,600-student Wildcat campus.

The university was seeking a conditional use to allow denser development than allowed, Planning Commission Chairwoman Julia Hurle said.

The commission was concerned was that the zoning change would not be restricted to the university, she said.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/suburban_pa/20130509_Radnor_panel_rejects_Villanova_expansion.html#ocW7DQUa1jGWuMYC.99

Centralized Jobs Are A Bonus For Lancaster

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County has kept an unusually high percentage of its jobs in Lancaster city and suburbs, a new study shows.

The concentration of jobs in the city and suburbs here makes it easier for job-seekers to find work, the study’s author says.

Having centralized jobs also reduces traffic congestion, lowers energy consumption and cuts pollution, she says.

“Generally, we say that more compact forms of development are positive,” said author Elizabeth Kneebone.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/839044_Centralized-jobs-are-a-bonus-for-Lancaster.html#ixzz2QvJnTd3X

Officials Working To Restore Rail Passenger Service To Philly Zoo

Editor’s note:  That just makes sense!

After 100 years of watching trains pass without stopping, Philadelphia Zoo officials are trying to restore passenger rail service to the zoo.

A new study proposes a SEPTA station at 34th Street and Mantua Avenue, a short walk from the zoo’s south entrance.

Although the zoo was built on its West Philadelphia site in 1874 partly because of handy rail access, the original Zoological Garden station at 34th Street and Girard Avenue closed in 1902, a victim of Pennsylvania Railroad expansion.

Now, congested highway access and limited parking have convinced zoo leaders that a new train station would increase attendance and ease traffic.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130402_Officials_working_to_restore_rail_passenger_service_to_Philly_Zoo.html

Changing Skyline: Money For Costly Roadwork Would Be Better Spent On Transit

English: A shot from the Pyramid Club of the B...

English: A shot from the Pyramid Club of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge at night. First posted at: Brozzetti Gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Back in 2010, Gov. Christie shocked transportation experts when he canceled construction of a new rail tunnel to Manhattan, one of the nation’s busiest routes.  The project would have doubled capacity, relieving the terrible rush-hour delays that force NJ Transit and Amtrak trains to queue up to snake through two century-old, single-track tunnels.  But Christie argued that the state couldn’t afford its part of the tab, $3 billion to $5 billion, for relieving the rail congestion.

Price wasn’t an issue earlier this month when South Jersey officials boisterously celebrated the start of another project aimed at reducing congestion.  This one will reconstruct the chaotic Camden County interchange where Interstates 295 and 76 converge with Route 42.  Fixing this one trouble spot – or, rather, making it more tolerable – will cost U.S. taxpayers just shy of $1 billion.

The different responses to these projects speak volumes about how our policymakers think about congestion. Highway traffic jams are still considered unacceptable.  But rail commuters routinely make do with antiquated systems that cause regular delays and breakdowns, like the one that left PATCO riders stranded on the Ben Franklin Bridge for 90 minutes during St. Patrick’s Day weekend.

What makes the I-295 project stand out is its staggering price tag.  Officials say it will take at least $900 million to untangle the South Jersey interchange – a sum equal to 75 percent of SEPTA’s entire annual operating budget.  Yet it doesn’t appear that New Jersey or federal officials ever stopped to ask, “Is this problem just too expensive to fix?”

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/home/20130329_Changing_Skyline__Money_for_costly_roadwork_would_be_better_spent_on_transit.html

Pennsylvania Transportation Performance Report 2013

Here’s basically what the report is about:

“On behalf of our “Board of Directors,” the Pennsylvania State Transportation Commission (STC), please
accept this first edition of the Transportation Performance Report.  It provides a snapshot of the transportation system’s current status, performance within current resources, and potential for progress as
we move forward.  The report showcases various data and trends.  It also includes actions taken thus far
in response to the Transportation Funding Advisory Commission Report, presented to Governor Corbett
in August 2011.”

The report is very interesting and will give you a good idea of what’s going on in our state.  This will take a minute or so to download as it is a large file, but the format is nice and it’s an easy read with graphs and pictures to help illustrate what is being said.

Click here:  ftp://ftp.dot.state.pa.us/public/Bureaus/Cpdm/STC/TPR%20FINAL%202-7-13.pdf

Route 222 Plans Accelerating

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the snippet of Berks County where time appears to stop, and progress means inching forward in a line of brake lights that doesn’t seem to end.

Drivers and public officials in Berks have complained for years that the northern part of Route 222 – particularly the 7-mile stretch between the so-called Road to Nowhere expressway in Ontelaunee Township and the start of the Kutztown bypass in Richmond Township – is a commuting nightmare.  It’s also a safety hazard and a roadblock to economic growth.

But that could all change if Pennsylvania’s coffers for road projects get a little fill-up, PennDOT says.

The agency has committed to making Route 222 a four-lane highway from Reading to Kutztown if legislators adopt Gov. Tom Corbett’s plan to boost transportation funds through increases in wholesale gasoline taxes and structural changes to PennDOT.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=452737

After Long Wait, Birdsboro Gets Its Bridge Work

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A delayed project to replace the Birdsboro Bridge that carries Route 345 over the Schuylkill River is getting the green light.

PennDOT officials said the work is supposed to start next Monday and take about two years. The span, which connects Birdsboro and Exeter Township and handles about 8,400 vehicles a day, will remain open while a new one is built just west of it.

The $14.5 million project was supposed to start in March but was delayed by the discovery that the area around the bridge is a habitat for red-bellied turtles, a threatened species. That required additional planning.

At the same time, PennDOT also needed to negotiate with nearby property owners to obtain rights-of-way.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=415101

Four Bridges Remain Closed In Wilkes-Barre Area

Market Street Bridge

Image via Wikipedia

Four major bridges remain closed after last week’s heavy flooding in the Wyoming Valley.  The Market Street Bridge, Eighth Street Bridge, Water Street Bridge and the Stone Bridge are all closed to traffic.  This has created congestion problems on the North Cross Valley Expressway.  If you are traveling in the Wilkes-Barre area, you may want to allow yourself extra time to reach your destination.

Lower Providence Township Opposes 422 Tolling Plan

The Lower Providence Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution opposing 422 tolling on Thursday evening.

To read the entire article and watch a video, check out the coverage from the Times Herald:

http://www.timesherald.com/articles/2011/07/08/news/doc4e172332ad403860680019.txt?viewmode=fullstory