Online Meeting to Discuss South Broad St. Bike Lanes in Upper Gwynedd Township

The Partnership TMA of Montgomery County, as part of their Bike More Drive Less campaign is leading an online ZOOM meeting on Wednesday, November 15, at 6:30 PM, to provide information to the public about bike lanes being added to the section of South Broad Street controlled by Upper Gwynedd Township.

This first meeting will include information about the concept of bike lanes on South Broad Street from Upper Gwynedd to Lansdale Borough and specifically on plans and designs for bike lanes to be added the section between  Sumneytown Pike and Morris Road.

Residents of Upper Gwynedd Township and neighboring municipalities are encouraged to participate:

Click here for the Zoom link

Join by Phone: 646-558-8656

Meeting ID: 818 6377 4543

Passcode: 548552

Towamencin Functional Ride Recap

Though it was on the cool side, the sun shown down on our ride and kept the temperatures feeling moderate. What is also important to know, is we are not the only cyclists out on the streets. It was fantastic to see people out and about getting around on bicycles, as well as more than one parent with young children teaching them how to ride bikes.

Group photo of people who participated in the bike ride.The goal of this ride was not just about relaxation, exercise and visiting with friends. It was all that, but it was also a demonstration of how to navigate between quiet neighborhoods, crossing over several busy main roads, and lacing a route between Towmamencin Township, Hatfield Township, Lansdale Borough and back. We would connect to several common destinations on this route to show the bike as a viable alternative to autos.

We started in the parking lot of North Penn High School, and made our way via a cut-through path to Snyder Road. After turning onto Weikel Road and riding down to the Towamencin Pool, we utilized a second cut-through around the back side of the pool, through a small playground to emerge on Woodlawn Drive. (also note Snyder Rd. and Weikel Road are part of the Towamencin Trails – which are not off-road trails, but rather designated on-road bike routes) This move over to Woodlawn was crucial to our route, because this street crosses the busy Allentown Road with a traffic light and then keeps going. Once we were through the bustling intersection we made our way through the neighborhood on the other side and arrived at the Lidl grocery store – demonstrating  there is a quiet street route to and from the high school as well as an important destination like a grocery.

Next up was crossing Main Street / Welsh Rd, which we did using the light at Oak Blvd / Squirrel Lane. At this point we took a brief detour through the Oak Park neighborhood because it was looking so pretty with the trees in full color and the leaves on the ground. After getting back onto Squirrel Lane, we went a bit off the route and rode up to Edgemont Avenue, which we used to round back down to West Third Street. This street was chosen because it goes all the way back through to downtown. Taking West Third Street did involve crossing North Valley Forge Rd. where we needed to be careful due to less-than-ideal sight lines. Instead of taking Third Street all the way to the end, we made our way to North Cannon Ave, where we used the traffic light to again, cross Main Street.

Turning left on Durstine Avenue, we proceeded to the vicinity of the Lansdale Public Library – thereby demonstrating there are ways to move about downtown Lansdale to common destinations on Main Street and side streets, like the Library or the post office. We took Columbia as our route back, with only one stop sign between Susquehanna Ave. and Valley Forge Road. Columbia is aligned on both sides of Valley Forge Rd, though it does not have a traffic light, so we waited for a good gap between cars  to cross and then headed back to Woodlawn which got us back across Allentown Rd.

Rather than going straight back to the High School, we pealed off on Pioneer Rd., then took Nash Avenue to Swartley Rd. to enter the back side of the Allen-Forge Shopping Center demonstrating to the group a quiet way to get to a bank, a drug store or pick up a slice of pizza or a taco.

From there it was Pross Rd. back to Nash Avenue which brought us back to Woodlawn near the playground cut-through which connected us back to Weikel Rd, where we paused for a moment to take in the Morgan Log House. Weikel on the return required a slight hill climb to get back to Snyder Rd. and then ultimately onto the North Penn High School campus.

Logistics of finding routes from your home to local destinations:

  1. Look for cut-throughs which might be available only to bicycle or foot traffic. These exist in all of the North Penn municipalities. Sometimes these involve parks or school yards, sometimes it might in involve the parking lot of a local business or commercial area. Online tools like Google Maps will sometimes show these cut throughs and sometimes they won’t.
  2. If you need to cross a main road, look for intersections with traffic lights and where the streets align on both sides of the road. Be aware sometimes local roads change names when passing through an intersection.
  3. If a traffic light intersection is not available near your route, then at least find an intersection where the road alongs on both sides of the street you want to cross. Look both directions both times before crossing. Also try to have your lead bike pedal in the  “3 o’clock” so its ready for you to put your weight on it and start your bike moving.

Towamencin Community Bike Ride – Nov. 12 – 1 PM

Come out for a cool afternoon community bike ride – on Sunday, November 13.

The route we will follow is meant to be both enjoyable and functional, showing how to get to and from the North Penn High School, as well as to a local grocery story and the Lansdale Library – using key neighborhood cut-throughs, as well as key crossing points of busy roads, to safely move from neighborhood to neighborhood. Dress for the weather, and come out for the ride!

Facebook Event Info

‘Google Calendar Event Info

Bike Route Info:

2023 Tweed Ride Recap

We had five riders for this unseasonably warm 2023 Tweed Ride. With temps exceeding 80 degrees – at the end of October no less – Tweed outfits were compromised a bit due to the heat.

The ride started in downtown Lansdale, with essentially three legs: Downtown to Whites Rd. Park and a ride through the park, then ride over to Stoney Creek Park, and ride through the park, then back to downtown via the Liberty Bell Trail.

At the time of our departure, there was a kid’s Halloween Candy event in full swing in the
downtown district. This meant we were not the only wacky looking people about, and rather getting strange looks, which is kind of customary for a Tweet Ride, we looked kind of normal compared to everyone else walking around in various costumes.

Parks were included in this ride because it was the right time of the year to see some color, and with the heat and the sunshine, the hope was the parks would give us a bit of a break with some shade. This panned out, however, we did need to proceed with some caution in both parks. In some places the fallen leaves were so thick it was kind of hard to make out the trails. Still, there was really good color and despite the heat, the sound of leaves crackling beneath our tires did make it feel like Fall.

When we arrived back downtown, some of us headed for some shaded outside tables at the Round House and had a late lunch.

Tweed Ride – Oct. 28 – Get Dressed and Get on Your Bike!

Community bike ride – in Tweed (or your closest attempt at vaguely British clothing)! That’s right, this will be a slow and easy group bike ride around the quiet streets of Lansdale Borough – but this time you get to dress up. Google “Tweed Ride” or “Tweed Run” to find images of other rides and for costume ideas. Raid your closets, hit up one of the local second hand stores…fun is the goal. We will meet at 1 PM, with the ride starting at approximately 1:15 PM. The route will be 4-6 miles at a slow speed. We will be starting and ending at the same location, outside Backyard Beans in downtown Lansdale. Each rider is responsible for their own safety. Helmets are required.Kids under the Age of 15 need to be accompanied by an adult. There will be opportunities to take photos at the beginning and the end of the ride. Hanging out with rides after for a coffee, tea or beer is optional.

Google Event Info

Facebook Event Info

September Organizational Meeting – Deck and Notes

Below are notes from the September 2023 Monthly Organizational meeting of Bike North Penn. Please see this LINK to a PDF of the agenda we worked through in this meeting.

Here also is a link to a Microsoft Teams recording of the meeting (this meeting recording will automatically expire in about 90 days after the meeting)

Upper Gwynedd Fall Fest 

  • TMA will have a booth
  • BNP volunteers are welcome to promote group
  • TMA has requested space for Bike Valet and it has been granted and will be promoted by UG Parks and Rec
  • Should ask for more space for full Bike Valet area if we have enough volunteers
  • Dom F. and Rena might have conflicts that Saturday, others would need to transport stands, etc., to the event.

Bike Lanes on South Broad Street 

  • Section of road controlled by Montgomery County requires work before re-surfacing
    • Culvert/Creek crossing near Allentown Rd. Needs work
    • Culvert/Creek repair currently scheduled for not before 2025
    • Order of activities
      1. Culvert/Creek crossing work
      2. South Broad St. Resurfacing
      3. New paint (including bike lanes)
  • Section controlled by Lansdale Borough
    • Resurfacing is completed – without bike lanes
    • Borough wants to complete borough-wide Active Transportation Plan
      • BNP members are encourage to attend upcoming meetings on this (see slide)
    • Borough may also be doing Traffic Study
    • Concerns about recent pedestrian and bike traffic incidents and near misses
    • Also discussed pedestrian and bike traffic incidents in the larger North Penn region
      • Need to collect data
      • See if there is any media interest

Bike Valet 

  • Last Whites Rd Park event this week.
  • Volunteers encouraged 
  • Wednesday instead of Tuesday
  • 6 PM start
  • Dom and Rena need support due to early start time and conflicting commitments
  • Discussed coordinating bike/chair exchange maybe next year at Whites Rd. events
  • Discussed doing bike valet at other local events – assuming volunteer participation

Biking for Manna – Community Bike Ride & Food Drive

  • Details in deck and on web site Facebook, Google Calendar, etc.
  • Will consider Sunday, Oct. 1 as rain date – it will be added to event info

2023/2024 Goals 

  • Bike Lanes on South Broad Street
    • Keep up pressure to get lanes applied in all sections of South Broad St.
    • Update petition to include bike infrastructure – Lansdale and beyond so any NP resident can sign
  • Encourage Accelerated Build out of Trails
    • Interested in recent blog post on Power Line Trail
    • Lead discussions on unified trail sign system (start now)
    • Consider signs on local streets to emphasize quiet routes
    • Lansdale interest in “way finding” signs – also note signs on trail in Whites Rd. Park
  • Community Bike Rides from local Apartment sights with Bike Shares
    • Have approached owners of Forge Gate Apartments
      • Limited response so far
      • Try LinkedIn to see if there are any connections to reach local executives

Other Items Discussed

  • Off-road bike trail to be added to 309 Connector
  • Hatfield has discussed with TMA the possibility of doing a local road analysis
  • Traffic Garden being added near by. Interested in checking this out

September Organizational Meeting – Tonight!

The September organizational meeting for Bike North Penn is tonight at the Lansdale Public Library at 7 PM. Come out to get more information on upcoming community rides and discuss our efforts to make biking safer and more enjoyable in the North Penn region. Your ideas are important to us:

Facebook Event Info:

Upper Gwynedd’s Power Line Trail – First Bit of Reality

The Power Line Trail, up to now has only existed on paper, but recently a small section has come to life. As part of a new housing development under construction at the corner of Moyer Blvd and West Point Pike – just outside of West Point Village, a short section of the trail has been laid down.

Hats off to the Upper Gwynedd Township municipal government, who ensured, as this development moved forward, space for the trail was set aside and ithe construction for this section was covered by the developers. 

The Power Line Trail (Let’s all hope they come up with a more creative name) will eventually run on and off space beneath the PECO power lines. Generally one end will start where the power lines cross Morris Rd. near the 476 overpass. After it passes behind West Point Village, it will connect through the Parkside Place township complex, were it will overlap the planned Liberty Bell Trail along Sumneytown Pike and up Dickerson Rd. The trails then separate with the Liberty Bell Trail turning left onto Wissshickon Ave and then Pennbrook Parkway to connect to the back side of Stony Creek Park. The Power Line Trail will cross the SETPA tracks and connect up with the other side of Dickerson before turning right on Mill Rd and then crossing North Wales Road before wrapping behind Pennbrook Middle School and the Nor-Gwyn baseball fields and connecting over to Hancock Street. Eventually it should somehow link up with the 202 Parkway Trail which runs up to Doylestown.

Earlier in 2023 Upper Gwynedd Township signed the lease agreement with PECO for access to the round beneath the power line across the length of the township.  The  funding for the trail segment along Mill Rd. to Hancock Rd., has been secured but construction has not yet started. Grants have been submitted for other segments, but even if those are awarded to the township, construction will not start before 2025.

The segment at Moyer and West Point Pike is short, but a significant sign of progress in building out the trails in the North Penn region. To ride on it, even for a brief moment can help local residents and elected officials begin to visualize what the completed trail network would feel like.

If you do choose to come ride the trail segment here (it takes all of our 60 seconds to ride), it is suggested you do it after work hours in the evening or on weekends. Though the caution tape blocking the entrance is down, this is an active work area with large earth movers and backhoes still moving about during the day. Also – now and forever, please resist the temptation to checkout the rail line along the trail. It is an active railroad – mostly at night, but SEPTA (who owns the track) does occasionally, and unexpectedly bring service trains on this line in the day time.

Here is a link to a short ride video of the current trail segment.

Neighborhood Connectors – Towamencin’s Northwest Passage

If you do enough bike riding in the North Penn area, you will, on occasion, discover unexpected connectors between neighborhoods. These connectors magically unlock previously unknown options for getting around, sometimes only available to bikers and pedestrians. Upper Gwynedd, my township, has a number of these, which I am familiar with from biking, running and walking. I probably should not be surprised when I find connectors elsewhere in the area. My latest discovery (which many locals already knew about) is in Towamencin Township.

Map of Allen-Forge NeighborhoodWhile doing some planning for an upcoming Bike North Penn community ride, I was perplexed that the neighborhood behind the Allen-Forge shopping center was somehow locked in, with no access in or out of the neighborhood except via Valley Forge Rd or Allentown Road.

Similarly, I was thinking about access to the North Penn High School campus and the bike share available to residents at nearby Forge-Gate Apartments. Was there no way for kids living in the Allen-Forge neighborhood to bike to the High School on quiet, neighborhood streets? Would a biker from Forge-Gate Apartments be forced to ride on high-speed Valley Forge Road if they needed get to the the bank, CVS, laudromat, or one of the other merchants at the Allen-Forge shopping center?

After spending some time looking at the map and not seeing any neighborhood street connections over to Weikel Road, I switched to satellite mode and struggled to find any little sidewalk which might run between houses and bridge the creek. I was almost ready to give up when I zoomed in on the Towamencin pool complex. There I noticed, between the tree cover, what looked like a paved driveway deadending into a playground behind the pool – which I had never noticed before when driving or even biking on Weikel Rd. I took a quick ride over there and sure enough, there are two paved paths wrapping on either side of the pool, passing through the playground and connecting with a simple, short sidewalk leading to Woodlawn Drive, near the intersection with Nash Ave – for people and bikes only – no cars.

View of Towamencin Pool and connectorAnd so now the secret is out. Kids in the Allen-Forge neighborhood wanting to bike to the High School can use Woodlawn + Pool Connector + Weikel to get down to Snyder and access the school campus. Forge-Gate residents as well as other neighbors can use the same route to take quiet streets to the Allen Forge shopping center. They can even take Woodlawn further as an ideal, aligned crossing of Allentown Road to more easily reach merchants like the Lidl grocery store via Columbia Ave.

As useful as the connectors are in the North Penn area, none of them are well marked and very few show up on maps. The region needs a better way to call out these connectors, as they are often keys to creating bike routes on quiet streets between neighborhoods and having alternatives to hopping in the car for short trips.