Over 100 Bicyclists Celebrate Bike to Work Day with TMACC

5.19.2017_6_Riding OutOver 100 bicyclists from over 10 Chester County businesses filled the Chester Valley Trail to celebrate National Bike to Work Day in Chester County hosted by the Foundation for the Improvement of Transportation (FIT); powered by TMACC.

For the past 7 years, TMACC and FIT have hosted a fun corporate challenge posed to Chester County’s businesses to bring out the most riders from a company.  The Bike to Work Day Challenge is an energy driven morning, which continues to grow as more people discover using the trail for their commutes.

cvt map

TMACC Executive Director, Tim Phelps, stated that the Chester Valley Trail has been a huge asset in promotion of biking to work.  “Since the Chester Valley Trail opened in 2010, we’ve leveraged it to celebrate bike to work day and promoting it as Chester County’s “US 202 for trails.”  It is a safe, convenient and accessible alternative to using your car to get to work.  We hope more people consider commuting by bike.”

5.19.2017_Cerner w TrophyThe ride culminated with breakfast and awards at the Royal Worthington, a luxury apartment complex located in the Uptown Worthington Town Center.  The winners of TMACC’s challenge was Cerner with over 40 riders.  Vanguard came in second with 18 riders and Traffic Planning, and Design were third with 13.

The Foundation for the Improvement of Transportation (FIT) is a 501 (c) 3 foundation managed by local transportation demand management advocacy organization, the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC).

For more photos from Bike to Work Day, visit our Flickr site!

5.19.2017_13_Tim Speaking

10 Tips to Start Biking to Work

Biking to WorkBike to Work Week is just a few days away now and a great time to start your new commute!  If you’re new to biking to work, or even biking in general here are 10 tips below that can get you started.

Check Your Gear:
As you’re planning your new commuting habits, check to see if you have all the necessary equipment and its condition.  Your check list should include: a well-running bike (make sure its serviced by a professional if you haven’t road in a while); a properly-fitted helmet; a bike light for those early morning and late evening commutes; and a backpack that fits all your work related items.

Biking LayerChart Your Route: Make it Attainable!
Before setting out on your normal route to work, make sure your commute is safe and attainable.  Maybe you only live a few miles away from work, but that route has windy roads and minimal shoulders; or maybe your roads are safe, but it’s a long commute.  If your normal commute is unsafe, chart out a different route to work.  Map out alternate roads that are safer and connect to trails.  An easy way to check for trail connections and safe biking roads is with Google Maps’ Bicycling layer.  This layer will show you official trails in your area and safe roads to ride on.  If your commute is longer than your body or schedule can handle, consider driving to a destination close by and riding the rest of the way.

Choose a Road with Minimal Traffic
Choosing a quiet road when considering your route will be helpful to keep your stress level down.  Even the most experienced cyclist will be more stressed in the presence of heavy traffic.  Also, think about it from the motorist side: Have you ever been stuck in traffic on a slim road just because there’s a cyclists ahead of you and no one can safely pass them? Quieter roads are better for everyone.

Set an Achievable Frequency:
Keep with a frequency works for you! Commuting by bike 5 days a week, sounds like a great plan, but is it something your schedule can handle?  Set a commuting goal of one to three times per week then add more frequency.

Do a Dry Run on a Day Off:
Commuting by bike is completely different than commuting by car – make sure you do a dry run on a day off.  If you’re doing it on a weekend, make sure you know the amount of traffic the road gets during rush hour.

Don’t Worry About What You’re Wearing:
We’ll let you in on a secret: You don’t have to wear lycra to be a cyclist.  If you have a short commute and are able to ride in your work attire, then do it!  All you need to ride your bike is a properly-fitted helmet and working bicycle.

But DO Consider Riding Shorts:
It doesn’t matter what you wear while riding, but if you’re commuting longer distances you may want to purchase padded riding shorts.  Your butt will thank you.

Fix A Flat Video

Learn How to Fix a Flat Tire:
A flat tire will ruin anyone’s day, especially if you’re on a busy road and need to get to work.  Know how to change a flat tire.  There are plenty of videos on YouTube to learn or check with your local bike shop to see if they have any fix-a-flat workshops.

Take Clothes and Food to Work the Day Before Your Ride:
Lugging around extra clothes and food while you’re riding can be uncomfortable.  Take work clothes and your food with you to work the day before your ride.

Find Friends:
Biking to work with a friend can keep you motivated and improve your visibility on the road.  Check your company’s HR Department to see if there is a cycling group or ask your riding buddies that work near you if they would like to change their commute with you.

If you don’t have cycling friends here is a good way to make them: www.nationalbikechallenge.org.  The National Bike Challenge, powered by Strava, is a fun way to log your riding miles and see how other locals compare to you May through September.  TMACC is hosting a local advocacy challenge on the website called “Chester County’s Bike Challenge Presented by TMACC”.  We will have monthly rides and prizes to give away during the challenge. Sign up today!

Bike to Work Day Header for Constant ContactCelebrate Bike to Work Day!
A good way to get tips and encouragement is to celebrate biking to work with friends!  National Bike to Work Day is May 19th and all over the country advocacy and biking groups are hosting fun rides.  If you live or work in Chester County, make sure to sign up for TMACC’s Bike to Work Challenge at www.tmacc.org and bring your co-workers!  The more riders you bring, the better chance at winning the TMACC Bike Horns Trophy.  If you don’t live in Chester County, check your local TMA or bicycling advocacy group for a ride.

Tell Congress: Commuter Benefits Have Value

Phelps HeadshotA special letter from TMACC Executive Director, Tim Phelps:

In planning and funding transportation infrastructure the Transportation Management Association of Chester County (TMACC) believes we should be mode agnostic and focus on the holistic approach of the multimodal movement of people; pedestrian, cyclists, cars, and public transportation. As we build federal and state policy, whether its Tax or Transportation Investment, we need to be visionary, flexible, and incentive based. An example of one of these successful programs that is currently offered by many businesses is Commuter Benefits.

As Congress, and specifically the Ways and Means Committee, begins the process reforming the tax code we urge Members to preserve the Commuter Benefits offered in section 132(f) of the tax code.

TMACC commends Congress for tackling the tremendous task of tax reform. Commuter Benefits are a staple in many employee benefits packages nationwide; a benefit that encourages employees to use alternative commuting options. Commuter Benefits are being offered in all states and have a value to businesses of all shapes and sizes. The provision enables employers to subsidize commuting expenses or for employees to contribute on a tax advantaged basis through a payroll deduction. Thus, employers can reduce payroll taxes, providing sound fiscal savings and providing many employers with additional resources to expand and create new jobs. The benefit accomplishes this in a simple manner without any administrative burden on taxpayers. Commuter Benefits help working Americans reduce what is often their second largest household expense – transportation.

Elimination of the commuter benefit would negatively impact millions of Americans who may see a small reduction in their tax bracket, but a large increase in their commuting costs. For example, a working family that takes advantage of the full allowable monthly pre-tax deduction for transit in 2017 could pay as much as $1,200 more in taxes. Eliminating Commuter Benefits would also then result in an increase in payroll taxes for small and large businesses.

  • Higher Taxes – If tax advantaged parking and/or transit benefits are eliminated, employer provided parking now must be valued, accounted for and taxed.
  • Parking Growth-NOT Job Growth– Employers may spend money, space and resources to expand parking areas or rent/lease additional parking.
  • Less Productive Workforce – More drive time + less money = Unhappy and less productive workforce.

Commuter Benefits have achieved over 30 years of bi-partisan support. In partnership with the Association of Commuter Transportation (ACT), we urge Congress to continue the preservation of these vital transportation benefits as they work towards tax reform legislation. Commuter Benefits work.

Enjoy Commuter Benefits? Take five minutes on the ACT website ( http://association-commuter-transportation.rallycongress.com/ctas/save-transit-benefit-dont-create-transportation-tax ) to defend them.

TMACC is a membership based non-profit transportation advocacy organization working with the public and private sectors of Chester County to identify transportation issues and recommend solutions that increase connectivity, reduce congestion and improve air quality.  To learn more about TMACC visit www.tmacc.org.

To learn more about the Transit Benefits, click on the links below

Transit Benefit Primer_ACT 2017

APTAReport_CommuterBenefitPaper_ESONLY (002)

Multimodal Plans Slated for Tredyffrin, West Whiteland, Downingtown and Coatesville

At the Transportation Management Association of Chester County’s (TMACC) Annual Spring Breakfast, multimodal planning was the key theme for the morning’s discussion.  Representatives from Treydffrin, West Whiteland, Downingtown and Coatesville gathered to present future improvements for their communities.

“Being close to public transportation allows us greater mobility opportunities.” said Executive Director of TMACC, Tim Phelps, in his opening remarks, “Applying transportation oriented development principals to our communities along the Keystone Corridor creates new residential and business opportunities and reduces road and highway congestion.  We are excited that these municipalities see the opportunity and are reshaping their communities around their rail stations in partnership with Amtrak and SEPTA.”

Among the plans for Tredyffrin improvements were the demolition of the current North Valley Rd Bridge and the extension of Darby Road to include a new bridge.  Tredyffrin Township Manager, Bill Martin, also discussed the East Central Avenue Multi-Modal, which includes new sidewalks and the addition of bike lanes.  The East Central Avenue project is expected to begin in May and be completed by the end of 2017.

West Whiteland, although ahead with their Exton Train Station construction, discussed challenges with planning to connect people to their station. “Transportation oriented development surrounds Exton, except we can’t easily get people to transportation in Exton.” said West Whiteland Township Manager Mimi Gleason.

As of now, West Whiteland has five plans and projects going on to improve mobility in the township including a Main Street to Exton Station Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, the Chester Valley Trail Extension Plan and the Pottstown Pike Congestion Mitigation Plan to try and find alternative, safer ways to get to the Exton Train Station.  “In an ideal world, Exton Station would be in the middle of Exton, but instead we have 5 lane highway to be crossed, bridge abutments and multiple bypass on and off ramps in the way.  Planning for safe connections has been no easy task, but we know we have to create them.”

Mike Trio, City Manager of Coatesville reported that the 3rd Avenue Streetscapes Project has received final PennDOT approval and will move ahead with the project in June 2017.  The 3rd Avenue Streetscapes Project is the beginning to the 4 Phase Coatesville Train Station Improvement Project.  The next three phases in the project are the 4th Avenue Streetscapes Project (Phase 2), the Train Station Improvement Project (Phase 3) and, finally, the creation of a parking garage with office space.

Trio stated that his main focus for this project is to improve the lives of the residents in Coatesville, “The heart and soul of Coatesville are the people.  Planning for the improvement of their lives and connections is the main goal in our plans.”

The event ended in a panel discussion where guests from the audience were able to ask questions about each representative’s projects.  The event was hosted at Downingtown Country Club.