In July of 2014, the Chester County Commissioners adopted the Public Transportation Plan – a bold and ambitious plan that will redefine the commuter preferences, facilities, and experiences for Chester County residents and workers over the next 25 years. The plan is an element to Landscapes2, Chester County’s Comprehensive Policy Plan and is structured to establish goals for each of the plan’s primary chapters relative to the SYSTEM, the ENVIRONMENT, and the EXPERIENCE.
So, what does the Public Transportation Plan mean for Chester County’s business community?
First, one must understand the current condition and what lies ahead. Chester County is automobile centric evidenced by the percentage of residents choosing public transportation (1%) versus driving alone (78%). This is reflected not only in our congested highways, but also in the lack of proper access to public transit within our built environment. Existing population and employment density in Chester County may be marginal now for providing public transportation, however this is going to change. The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) forecasts that Chester County will have the highest increase in both population growth (29.8% or+148,000 residents) and employment growth (26.0% or +76,000 employees) in southeastern Pennsylvania by 2040. Moreover, the real estate market trend is moving away from traditional suburban development and towards the revitalization of our urban centers. This projected growth and resulting density will both fuel and require public transportation services.
Elements of the Public Transportation Plan most applicable to the business community concern implementation recommendations for both the SYSTEM and the ENVIRONMENT:
- The business community can improve the ENVIRONMENT by constructing the facilities required to access public transportation services. While more easily done through new development, it may also be accomplished by retrofit. Private sector land developers are now eligible to apply to Pennsylvania’s Multimodal Fund established by the recently passed Act 89 transportation legislation. This dedicated funding source was specifically created to enhance the multimodal aspects of the transportation system, including access to public transportation.
- The business community can enhance the SYSTEM by encouraging employees to carpool or vanpool as described in the plan’s ‘new commuter service model’ or establish a shuttle service to provide for employee ‘last mile’ connections to and from regional rail stations located along the Keystone Corridor.
In summary, any improvement efforts outlined in the Public Transportation Plan that the business community can implement will not only create a better EXPERIENCE for transit users, it will also provide for a more vibrant and robust economy for all residents and workers in Chester County.
The Public Transportation Plan may be found on the Chester County Planning Commission’s website at: http://www.landscapes2.org/publications/transportation/PubTransPlan.cfm
This article was first posted in our Winter Newsletter and was written by Chester County Planning Commission’s Brian Styche. To view our entire Winter Newsletter, click here.