As part of Pennsylvania’s major gas tax hikes instituted a few years ago, a portion of the money collected goes into PennDOT’s Multi-Modal Fund. According to their website:
The Multimodal Transportation Fund provides grants to encourage economic development and ensure that a safe and reliable system of transportation is available to the residents of the commonwealth.
[…] Funds may be used for the development, rehabilitation and enhancement of transportation assets to existing communities, streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement, pedestrian safety, connectivity of transportation assets and transit-oriented development.
For the record, here’s the exact text from the Multi-Modal Fund application. (You can download here.)
Eligibility: #A-1. Municipality – Any county, city, borough, school district, incorporated town, township or home rule municipality.
Jenkintown is eligible.
Eligible Projects: #2. A project related to streetscape, lighting, sidewalk enhancement and pedestrian safety, including but not limited to: sidewalk connections, crosswalks, pedestrian and traffic signals, pedestrian signs, and lighting. Streetscape amenities, such as permanently affixed benches, planters or trashcans and trees, shrubs or mulch, may not exceed 10% of the total project cost.
Given that Jenkintown’s sidewalk code is ostensibly drafted to ensure pedestrian safety, and most of our sidewalks connect to the train station, Jenkintown is eligible.
Incidentally, the application says nothing about excluding sidewalks in residential districts. Yes, the fund requires 30% matching funds from the Borough, but couple that with a more wholesale approach to building and maintaining walkways, the cost would prove minimal.
But how do our sidewalks relate to multi-modal transportation? Every morning and evening and throughout most of the day, our street and many others here serve as both a vehicular and pedestrian feeder to the busiest SEPTA train station outside of Center City. A huge selling point of living here — after the quality of the schools — is access to transit.
Here’s a few examples of projects awarded funds for this year:
Forty Fort Borough, $825,306: Traffic Signal upgrade at Wyoming Ave, Slocum & Welles St., Sidewalks, Lighting, Ramp at Boro Bldg & paving of 20 alleyways throughout the Boro
Plymouth Township, $83,675: Sidewalk installation along Germantown Pike from Jolly Road to Walton Road in Plymouth Township, Montgomery County, PA
Jennerstown Borough, $261,067: Need for sidewalks where they currently do not exist to provide safe passage for school students, tourists and other pedestrians and provide handicap access along the Historic Lincoln Highway SR 0030
It only takes a little research, folks. I hope my borough appreciates all the free consulting work I’m doing for them.