Community Bike Rides Celebrating South Broad Street Bike Lanes!

Bicycle riders using bike lanes on South Broad Street in Upper Gwynedd.

Bicycle riders using bike lanes on South Broad Street in Upper Gwynedd.

On Tuesday, June 18, Bike North Penn will lead two community bike rides in Upper Gwynedd Township in celebration of the new bike lanes just installed on South Broad Street between Sumneytown Pike and Morris Road. These rides are in conjunction with the Upper Gwynedd township’s “Unplugged Week” activities. Riders should gather at Parkside Place at 6:30 PM, with the rides to start no later than 6:45.

The Young Family Ride is for families with younger children and will head out through the back of the park to do a short loop of the neighborhood there before coming back into the park and returning to the starting point. The length of the ride will be about 1.5 miles and go at a very gradual place. Riders must wear bike helmets. All children must be accompanied by adults.

Handout Promoting Community Bike Ride in Upper Gwynedd on June 18.

Handout Promoting Community Bike Ride in Upper Gwynedd on June 18.

The longer ride will be about six miles. It will also exit through the back of the park, but will head over to South Broad Street for an out-and-back on the bike lanes, and then take a winding path through neighborhoods along the intended route of Power Line Trail to return to Parkside Place. Again, bike helmets for all riders are required and kids under the age of 15 need to be accompanied by adults.

These bike lanes are a first for Upper Gwynedd Township and add an important option for biking between Upper Gwynedd and Lansdale Borough. They are the result of more than a year of planning as part of the re-surfacing of the road. Bike North Penn has been advocating for bike lanes on South Broad Street since 2022 when plans for the re-surfacing of the road between Morris Rd. and Lansdale Borough were announced.

Bike North Penn would like to thank Upper Gwynedd Township for their leadership in making the first move to add these lanes to South Broad Street and to The Partnership TMA of Montgomery County for their continued guidance, with their “Bike More, Drive Less” program which has been instrumental in working with the local government entities involved.

Bike North Penn Monthly Meeting Agenda and Recording

Thanks all for turning out for the June monthly organizational meeting of Bike North Penn.

A couple of key items:

  • June 18 – 6:30 PM we encourage all members and their friends and family to come out for a community bike ride starting at Parkside Place in Upper Gwynedd. There will be a six mile ride over to the new bike lanes on South Broad Street and a short ride for young families through the neighborhood behind the park.
  • We will also be doing some photography of riders on S. Broad Street bike lanes at 9 AM on Saturday, June 15, meeting at the intersection of S. Broad and Garfield Rd.
  • Also, the bike count cameras for South Broad Street will be active starting on Sunday, June 15 for about a week. Everyone is encouraged to get out on their bikes, use the lanes and get counted.
  • There is now a plan to a bike valet at the Lansdale Farmer’s market on Saturday, August 24. We may also try to do a “bike bus” from various parts of North Penn to the farmers market.

Link to PDF of the June Agenda Deck

Link to the June Meeting Recording – (MS Teams)

 

Monthly Bike North Penn Organizational Meeting – Thursday, June 13 at 7 PM

The next monthy meeting of Bike North Penn. We will be discussing the new bike lanes on South Broad Street in Upper Gwynedd as well as challenges with local trails and planning for upcoming community rides and bike valet at local events.

Come and join us for a lively discussion and bring your ideas! We are looking for people to participate from all over the North Penn region.

Eclipse Center for Creative Community
30 Vine St., Lansdale, PA 19446

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Bike Lanes on Upper Gwynedd section of South Broad Street

UG Newsletter info on installation of bike lanes on South Broad Street.

UG Newsletter info on installation of bike lanes on South Broad Street.

As reported here earlier, the Upper Gwynedd section of South Broad Street – between Sumneytown Pike and Morris Rd. will, in the next few days, have the paint applied for bike lanes. To be clear, it will be a mixture of dedicated bike lane sections as well as several “sharrows” sections where existing turn lanes are being retained – however – this IS progress! Bike North Penn along with The Partnership TMA of Montgomery County  as part of their Bike More, Drive Less program have been pushing for bike lanes on South Broad Street since the fall of 2022 when re-surfacing of South Broad Street was announced.

We are hopeful, when Montgomery County resurfaces their section (targeted for 2025), between Sumneytown Pike and Lansdale Borough, connecting bike lanes will be added there and then some kind of connection can be made in Lansdale as part of their Active Transportation Plan, which is currently being organized.

There will be a celebration of the UG bike lanes on the evening of Tuesday, June 18, which will be part of Upper Gwynedd’s “Unplugged Week” organized by their Parks and Recreation Department at Parkside Place. The Partnership TMA of Montgomery County will be there with an info booth and will be sizing kids for bike helmets. If we can get enough Bike North Penn volunteers, we will be organizing two simultaneous group rides:

  • A short ride for families with younger children, at about 1.5 miles in length. It will head out the back if the park and do a loop of the neighborhood there before ending back into the park
  • Map of long ride route for June 18.

    Map of long ride route for June 18.

    A longer ride for adults and older kids, at about 6 miles, which will also head out through the back of the park, but using the cut through to West Point Pike, take us through the village of West Point, do and out and back on the new bike lanes on South Broad Street, then take a winding route through the Apollo neighborhood and finally back through West Point Village and back through the park.

More info on these rides and the June 18th even will be discussed at the Bike North Penn monthly organizational meeting on Thursday, June 13, at 7 PM, at the Eclipse Center for Creative Community, 30 Vine Street, Lansdale, PA 19446 (next to the Lansdale Post Office).

 

The Circuit Trails 2023 Annual Report Now Available

The Circuit Trails Map

The Circuit Trails Map

The Circuit Trails, a regional coalition of bicycle and trail focused groups has published its 2023 annual report HERE.

The two key milage goals for The Circuit Trails are: 500 interconnected trails in the region by 2025, and 850+ miles of interconnected trails by 2040. In the North Penn area, the 202 Parkway Trail, The Liberty Bell Trails (some completed segments) and Upper Gwynedd’s “Power Line” Trail would be part of this milage count. You would think Hatfield’s Chestnut Street Trail and Frick’s Trail would also count, but at present they do not show up on maps published by The Circuit Trails.

The 2023 Annual report details trail segments completed in 2023 as well as grants awarded for trail development.

BNP May monthly meeting agenda and meeting recording

Photo of attendees at the BNP May monthly meeting

Attendees at the BNP May organizational meetings. Others attended virtually via MS Teams

The Bike North Penn monthly organizational meeting was held on Thursday, May 9. Here are links to a PDF of the presentation deck and the meeting recording:

A couple of key points from the meeting:

Bike lane striping of the Upper Gwynedd section of South Broad Street (between Sumneytown Pike and Morris Rd) is tentatively scheduled to happen in May.

    • We discussed and are starting to plan a kickoff event to celebrate this important milestone – possibly on the evening of Tuesday, June 18 (pending confirmation with Upper Gwynedd Township).  This will likely take place at Garfield Park, and may include a pop-up bike lane on Garfield Ave. as well as group rides on the new bike lanes on South Broad Street.
    • The Partnership TMA of Mont Co. is also arranging cameras to be set up on South Broad Street both before and after the installation of the bike lanes. We will post more details on this once we have them, but expect some “get-out-the-riders” activities once the lanes are in.

The Lansdale Active Transportation Plan committee is off and running, having had their first meeting at the end of April

    • William Jackson and Dominic Vasturia attended representing Bike North Penn. Jacqui Baxter-Rollins also attended representing The Partnership TMA Montgomery County
    • Timing of completion of the plan looks like it will take 18 months
    • Input from the BNP membership is encouraged so the group’s ideas can be represented in upcoming meetings.

April was a busy month for Bike North Penn:

  • Three community rides:
    • Lansdale (Evening Ride)
    • Upper Gwynedd (Evening Ride)
    • Hatfield (part of Celebrate Trails Day – Afternoon Ride)
  • Upper Gwynedd Peace and Unity Day (info booth with The Partnership TMA) promoting South Broad Street Bike Lanes
  • Celebration of the new bike fix-it station in Lansdale’s Stony Creek Park – featuring a fix-it demo by Rena Frascella

May is also off to a brisk start:

  • Bike Valet at the Lansdale’s May First Friday event
  • Community Ride, “Lunch at the top of Lansdale”

Rider Leader Training

  • No Updates at this time

 

 

Working the floor at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

The 2024 edition of the Philadelphia Bike Expo took place in the Center City convention center on March 16 and 17. This was the first time the expo was scheduled in the spring – and it was a welcome change. BNP members Dom Frascella, Dom Vasturia and William Jackson were there on Feb 16 to checkout the bikes and the gear, but also to circulate among the organizations representing various elements of  Philadelphia-area bike culture.

SEPTA booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo - with demonstration bus bike rack.

SEPTA booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo – with demonstration bus bike rack.

SEPTA – Their booth was promoting multi-modal transportation (combining public transit with one other type of travel, like a bike, as part of a single trip), and featured a hands-on demonstration stand with a standard bike rack used on the front of SEPA busses. This allowed attendees to practice the rather simple, yet intimidating, three-step process of pulling down the rack, loading an example bike, and securing the front wheel. What makes it intimidating is you need to do this while bus riders and drivers are waiting. We talked with them a bit about “Bus on Demand” coming to our area, and the possibility of borrowing one of these demo stands to promote understanding of the racks. We were told these demo stands get built as racks get decommissioned from busses and we might be able to get a demo stand of our own. We theorize we might be able to share one with The Partnership TMA of Mont Co., since they also do education on use of public transportation. So we signed up for more info.

Pennsylvania Environmental Council booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

Pennsylvania Environmental Council booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) – had a large display of maps and info promoting trails throughout the state and their efforts to create more trails and promote access to the trails. PEC is involved with exploring the connection of the Liberty Bell Trail from the southern border of Upper Gwynedd Township down through Norristown to the Schuylkill River Trail. Unfortunately we were not able to meet with the staff member working on this connection.

Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia – We made a quick stop in the afternoon to speak briefly with their Executive Director, Chris Gale. We thanked him for staffer Patrick Monahan’s quick response with supplying us with zoning examples related to bike parking/racks. We also talked a bit about our idea to spur use of apartment bike shares in our area.

Coalition for Appropriate Transportation (CAT) – This group, based in Bethlehem, PA, is like Bike North Penn, but probably 7-10 years more advanced than we are. Not only to they promote bike infrastructure and do community rides (as well as other rides) they operate a community

Coalition for Appropriate Transportation booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

Coalition for Appropriate Transportation booth at the 2024 Philly Bike Expo

bike cooperative where customers learn to fix their own bikes and can “earn” a bike by putting in time at the shop. They also organize bike safety/education programs for kids. We spent quite a bit of time talking to these folks about how they do what they do. It seems like they have some ideas which might work for BNP as we further develop our organization. One simple idea, which they report is very popular, is women-only community rides. We would suggest BNP members check out the CAT website for more information.

Other connections: Ran into Linda McGrane, one of the leaders of Suburban Cyclists Unlimited and who is also involved with the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia. In the past she was able to include information about BNP in the BCP monthly newsletter. She said she would also like to include something in the newsletter for Suburban Cyclists. We attended a seminar called “Folx N Spokes” which was dedicated to “supporting women, trans and non-binary riders in Philly and the region.” It ended up being more of like a meet and greet between groups. We spoke up that BNP has attempted to be as inclusive as possible and invited all to participate in our meetings and our rides. From these groups we also discovered “party-paced” bike rides!

Dom, Dom, and William at the Philly Bike Expo

Dom, Dom, and William at the Philly Bike Expo

 

UG Zoning Definition Updates for Convenience Stores Needs to Include Bike Racks!

As reported in The Reporter (thanks to Dan Sokil for this local coverage) – Upper Gwynedd is revising its zoning definition for “convenience stores.” Part of this includes parking requirements:

Image of start of news article from The Reporter newspaperSection 28, A – at the very end of the document:

For any of the following uses, the stated parking spaces shall be required, shall be of concrete or blacktop surface, and shall be located on the same lot therewith or, if approved by the Board of Commissioners, on land adjacent thereto.

(25) Convenience Store: 1 parking space for every 100 sq. ft. of the first 3,000 sq. ft. of gross floor area. Thence 1 parking space for every 150 sq. ft. of additional gross floor area. Required parking shall not include those spaces assigned to fueling positions. The width of the aisle way surrounding the Convenience Store building shall be not less than 28 ft. in width.

https://www.uppergwynedd.org/…/ord_01-2024_zoning…

We would like to encourage all Bike North Penn members who reside in Upper Gwynedd Township to email the township commissioners and encourage them to include bike racks as part of this zoning definition update.Bike North Penn will be releasing a formal letter in support of adding bike racks/parking to the zoning definition.

Thanks to Patrick Monahan at the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia, we have at least one example, from Lower Marion, describing zoning requirements for bike parking which we can suggest to Upper Gwyneedd:

Biking Cut Through Improvements around Upper Gwynedd’s Parkside Place

Often during our community rides around the North Penn region, we reveal and take advantage of cut throughs which allow bike or pedestrian pathways from one neighborhood to another, often avoiding busy roads – and are otherwise not available to autos.

Upper Gwynedd’s Parkside Place is a vital artery of cut throughs when moving between several neighborhoods in the township, as well as passing in and out of North Wales Borough. In the future, several of these cut-throughs will be leveraged as part of the Power Line and Liberty Bell Trails.

Map of cut through routes via Parkside Place

Map of cut through routes via Parkside Place

The paved trail headed south out of the park connects immediately with the residential neighborhood there. If you turn right on the trail, as if headed to the Green Ribbon Trail (No bikes are allowed on the Green Ribbon Trail), the pavement will eventually turn to gravel and after crossing a small foot bridge over the Wissahickon Creek heads the up to West Point Pike. 

New Gravel on the west cut-though, where the paved trail connects with the start of the Green Ribbon Trail

New Gravel on the west cut-though, where the paved trail connects with the start of the Green Ribbon Trail

Part of that gravel section can be muddy at times, but recently some new gravel has been laid down which helps with some of this mud. The gravel is rather large and it is not compacted, so be careful, it can grab your tires.

 

Trail cut though at West Point Pike

Trail cut though at West Point Pike

Heading left on West Point Pike takes you over the railroad and the streets to the right can connect you with the quite neighborhood of West Point Village and other neighborhoods further west – all the way over to Valley Forge Road. 

 

Back at the Basketball courts in the center of Parkside Place, if you head down the road along the tennis courts, and then jump to the paved trail headed east – the trail will take you up and out of the park and deliver you to Center Street in North Wales Borough. Up two blocks there is a pedestrian-triggered crossing light which can get you through Walnut St./North Wales Rd, to the southeast side of the borough and destinations like the North Wales Area Library.

Photo of Elm Street in North Wales Borough

Elm Street in North Wales Borough

The great improvement with this route is Elm Avenue. For a long time this street has either been in poor condition, or under various types of construction. That construction is now completed and a fresh layer of pavement has been applied. Elm Avenue is important for bikers who want to reach the northwest quarter of the borough and possibly the North Wales SEPTA station. With the exception of Walnut (which some people don’t like to ride due to auto volume and narrow lanes), few streets in the borough align to allow for crossing Sumneytown Pike.

Elm Avenue and School Street are not exactly aligned, but are close enough for a fast crossing so long as you wait for a safe opening in traffic on Sumneytown Pike.

Understanding the importance of the Parkside Place cut throughs can unlock biking routes which otherwise might be intimidating to hesitant riders.