How the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is connecting transportation projects with local municipal land-use planning initiatives will be the topic of a web-based seminar offered by Penn State Extension.
Presenting the 75-minute webinar from noon to 1:15 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 16, will be Angela Swallop Saunders, of PennDOT; Alan Piper, of the Berks County Planning Commission; and Matt Stewart, of the Mercer County Regional Planning Commission. The presentation is part of Penn State Extension's summer-fall land-use webinar series.
State departments of transportation no longer are held accountable just for the transportation system, they also are held accountable for how the system supports and improves quality of life for communities, according to Saunders. She noted that PennDOT is committed to enhancing community collaboration in its planning process through the "PennDOT Connects" program.
"The PennDOT Connects initiative reaches into community and transportation planning processes to initiate early dialogue and partnered decision-making about the kinds of transportation projects that will help a community achieve its vision," Saunders said.
"I will highlight the Ohiopyle Multimodal Gateway project on state Route 381 through Ohiopyle State Park in Fayette County and will discuss how the department is working with the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and the borough to make the community and park a better and safer place for everyone."
The Berks County 2017 Transportation Improvement Program has integrated PennDOT Connects into project reviews that are in preliminary engineering or starting shortly, Piper pointed out. Most discussions around that effort, he said, have focused on identifying and addressing community issues such as maintaining bicycle, pedestrian and transit access; coordinating with community events and schools; and addressing stormwater concerns.
By comparison, Mercer County Metropolitan Planning Organization's recent Long-Range Transportation Plan outreach efforts embraced a comprehensive approach to build community goals into the community transportation projects. "Community concerns and needs were integrated into our transportation projects," Stewart said. "And there was improved coordination as part of the PennDOT Connects process in Mercer County."
This webinar will provide an overview of PennDOT Connects and the outcomes from the process in southwestern Pennsylvania, and will illustrate how two metropolitan planning organizations are working with PennDOT in transportation planning. How to connect transportation improvements with other modes of nonautomobile transportation and community impacts also will be covered.
All webinars in the series are recorded and available for future viewing. Future topics and dates include the following:
- Sept. 20: "Renewable Energy for Municipal Authorities."
- Oct. 18: "Municipal Tree Commissions and Tree Ordinance: Do They Support Community Development?"
- Nov. 15: "Public-Private Partnerships for Municipal Recreational Facilities."
The cost of the webinar series is $40 for all five and $75 for all five for those who want to receive certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association.
In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing-education credits for a fee of $45.