FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Feb. 22, 2023
Patricia Brooks, Patricia@matchmapmedia.com, 202.351.1757
Groups Call on Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro to Prioritize Investment in State’s Active Transportation Infrastructure
Twenty-two national, state and regional advocacy organizations offer Shapiro administration concrete recommendations to accelerate trail and active transportation networks to address pressing issues facing the state—economic development, climate resiliency, mobility and bike/ped safety
WASHINGTON, D.C.—More than 20 national, state and regional organizations came together today to call upon Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro to take concrete actions to accelerate active transportation in the Commonwealth.
The letter addressed to the governor cites that trail and active transportation networks are “essential infrastructure for equitably addressing the most pressing issues facing Pennsylvania—economic development, climate resiliency, mobility, and bicyclist and pedestrian safety.” According to the organizations leading the effort, the pace of active transportation infrastructure development in Pennsylvania is slow and not prioritized by any state agency, regardless of significant consequences for pedestrians and bicyclists who are disproportionately killed and severely injured in traffic crashes each year.
“Pennsylvania is home to some of the most breathtaking and critically needed trail networks in the nation including the Circuit Trails, the Industrial Heartland Trails Coalition, and even serving as a vital source of connection along the widely anticipated nationwide Great American Rail-Trail,” said Andrew Dupuy, Director of State-Level Policy. “Pennsylvania is fostering trail networks in a way that sets it apart nationwide—almost entirely because of the hard work and commitment of organizations working on the ground. The Shapiro administration can take very specific actions that would advance this work and its impact much more quickly.”
To accelerate much-needed trail and active transportation networks, advocates are urging Gov. Shapiro to:
- Issue an executive order articulating how Pennsylvania’s active transportation networks advance the governor’s vision for infrastructure and call for the prioritization of active transportation networks as part of the state’s infrastructure planning.
- Commit to a dedicated funding program and a new agency bureau for planning, building and maintaining active transportation networks.
- Build on past and ongoing efforts to enhance inter-agency cooperation on active transportation, like the current Safe Routes to Parks State Accelerator Program, by creating an inter-agency plus stakeholder task force, that includes the Pennsylvania Departments of Transportation; Health; Community and Economic Development; Conservation and Natural Resources; Environmental Protection; and Aging that would:
- Develop an Active Transportation Network Implementation Plan (the Plan) by December 2023 that details how state programs and budgets will be structured, coordinated and integrated to both implement the 2019 Active Transportation Plan and to advance the governor’s vision for Pennsylvania’s active transportation networks.
- Recommend by December 2023 new legislation, funding sources, reorganized and new agency structures, and policies to achieve the Plan.
- Report to the governor annually on progress being made by state agencies on the Plan such as the number and scope of capital projects funded, miles of active transportation infrastructure constructed, and the number of people served and their counties.
“There are significant efforts being made at the local and regional levels to build trails and on-road facilities to make it safe for anyone to bike or walk where they need to go—but we need Gov. Shapiro to play a leadership role in scaling up his agencies’ active transportation policies and programs to meet the needs and demands throughout Pennsylvania,” said Sarah Clark Stuart, Executive Director of the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia and Chair of the Circuit Trails Coalition.
RTC, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, and 20 other national, state and regional organizations are calling on individuals to sign on in support at this petition and for other organizations to fill out this form if they want to endorse the letter. The full text of the letter is available here.
Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation’s largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org and @railstotrails on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia represents 2,500 members across Delaware Valley and leads the movement to make bicycling a safe and fun way to get around for anyone in Greater Philadelphia. Connect with the Bicycle Coalition at bicyclecoalition.org, @bcgp on Twitter and @bicyclecoalition on Instagram. BCGP is also a leading member of the Circuit Trails Coalition, an emerging trail network that will connect 800 miles of multiuse trails across nine counties in the Philadelphia and southern New Jersey region. Learn more at circuittrails.org and connect on social media @circuittrails on Twitter and @thecircuittrails on Instagram.