« Cool Cities, USGBC Launch Green Building Tours Across the US | Main | DOT Wants You To Get On Your Bike »

March 17, 2010

PA Towns Gets a TIGER

This is a guest post by Jeanette MacNeille, president of the Millbourne, PA, Borough Council.

Some years ago near Millbourne, an ethnically diverse, tiny urban borough west of Philadelphia, a cougar was running loose. People left Big Macs in the park for its lunch, the police tried to catch it with helicopters and human nets, and parents kept tight hold on their small children. The cougar was last reported loping west on State Route 3 and was never caught. Now, Millbourne is coping with a tiger.

A TIGER grant, that is – and it's not coping at all, but rather celebrating. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Environmental Council recently were awarded $23 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program to complete seven bicycle trail links in the greater Philadelphia area.

One of the links that will be completed under this American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-funded TIGER grant is the 58th Street Connector. This on-road buffered bike trail will connect the Cobbs Creek Bike Trail with Bartram's Garden and the East Coast Greenway, a bicycle route running from Key West, Florida to Calais, Maine.

But the effects of the grant reach even farther locally. The funds will also help Borough of Millbourne develop plans for walking and bicycling links that would connect the Philadelphia bicycling network, via Cobbs Creek Trail and other on-road lanes, with the western suburbs of the city. These plans were recently helped along by the decision of adjacent Upper Darby Township to evaluate the feasibility of using an abandoned rail right of way as a walking path. Although the spur that Upper Darby is studying does not connect to Millbourne, an offshoot of it does. If one "spur" is evaluated it is that much easier to get funding to connect to existing bike paths via the other.

When the bike and walking paths can eventually be built, it'll be easier and safer to bicycle from the western suburbs of the city to either the East Coast Greenway or to Amtrak's 30th Street Station, providing train access up and down the coast and across the country.

The development of local walking and biking trails will also provide a way for many more commuters to reach the Market Frankford Elevated-Subway Line and travel to Philadelphia via public transportation. This will help reduce particulate and ozone pollution in the area, which does not meet Clean Water Act standards, help reduce road congestion, and reduce the need for additional parking spaces in Center City.

The new bike and walking paths will in time also help customers reach a proposed transit-oriented development site in Millbourne, helping to reduce a downward economic spiral in the area. The Borough is simultaneously considering passage of the Mayor's Climate Letter. Several members of Council hope to revise the building and zoning codes to encourage "greener" building. They are conducting outreach to many of the ethnically diverse communities in the area to get input and ideas, and to reach out to new walkers and bicyclists.

The cougar was something of an unwelcome guest, but this TIGER is providing major impetus for environmentally sound changes in the tiny borough of Millbourne, and in its surrounding communities.


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference PA Towns Gets a TIGER:

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Rss Feed

Sierra Club Main | Contact Us | Terms and Conditions of Use | Privacy Policy/Your California Privacy Rights | Website Help

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2013 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.