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Tips for Requesting a Bike Lane on a Local Road

We recently published a blog about the PennDOT 5-year plan, and how to propose bike lanes on listed projects. We’ve had a lot of folks contacting us about projects that are not on PennDOT roads, so we’re here to give some tips on how to request those projects.

Not sure if your road is local or a county road or a State Road? Click here to be directed to PennDOT’s page of road ownership maps, like the screenshot of Delaware County above.

Bike lanes on local roads are rare, but they do happen. To name one example, Pottstown has several bike lanes on local roads.

Below, find some tips to make that local road bike lane proposal have it’s best shot at success:

  • Don’t go it alone. Find others who agree with you and organize. Start a Facebook group (and organize some rides while you’re at it!), an email group, do some good ole fashioned door knocking, have a few meetings at your house, etc.
  • Get involved. If you aren’t already doing so, start attending your local township/borough council meetings. Municipalities maintain meeting schedules on their websites, like this one. Encourage like minded residents to attend meetings with you.
  • Avoid just speaking at the “open mic” part of the meeting. Items that are not on the agenda are less likely to be formally considered by council.
  • Network with those involved after the meeting: board of supervisors, manager, etc. Don’t bring up your proposal right away. Make small talk, such as complimenting the handling of a difficult issue at the meeting.
  • Get in touch with the County transportation planning staff and seek their support.
  • Work to identify outside funding sources: state, federal, philanthropic, local businesses.
  • With relationships established and your homework done, work to get your proposal on the agenda at a future meeting for official consideration.

Keep in mind that planning and executing a change to your local roads (assuming that council approves) can take time, as much as several years.

After you’ve tried all this and more and you don’t think you’re getting anywhere? Consider running for office yourself!

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Topics: Biking the Suburbs, Connecting Greater Philadelphia Bicycle Network, Featured

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