The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

The official student newspaper of Lower Merion High School since 1929

The Merionite

New township program eases transportation

Lower Merion Township adopts a transportation plan to decrease traffic problems.

Lower Merion township prides itself on being the best, whether that be academically, environmentally, or otherwise. Its school district is often first to implement new initiatives and teaching methods due to its many resources and engaged residents.

One of the newest additions to our township is called the Main Line Greenway. According to the township website, it is “a low-stress bicycle network, and a Pedestrian Mobility Plan which includes targeted improvements to pedestrian infrastructure.” In accordance with the new sustainability plan launched in 2023, this greenway will help decrease the township’s overall carbon footprint and increase the access of physical activity for its residents. The sustainability plan is a massive initiative to make the township as a whole more environmentally friendly. It was launched around early summer and slowly incorporated into the township. The single-use plastic bag ban across all stores was one of its first actions.

This initiative was heavily campaigned for with the cited benefits such pedestrian walkways provide. As a township, we do not have a very robust system of walkways and sidewalks, which makes it difficult for people who enjoy walking or biking to get around. Something the township has already begun is increasing bike lanes in lower traffic areas, in accordance with the sustainability plan. A map of all roads in the township was created and each was classified under how much traffic they have running through them under certain time periods. With the help of the Narberth Cycling Club and the Philadelphia Bicycle Coalition, the township created bike rides throughout these low-traffic zones and collected data from participants. By working with local groups, they ensured that the plan was not only safe, but also accurate, enjoyable, and a good way to build a community among those who ride them.

Another initiative, which all of these fall under, is the creation of an Active Transportation Plan, which the township website calls a “…comprehensive strategy that promotes and encourages the use of active modes of transportation such as walking, cycling, and rolling.” Some of its goals are to, as stated, create a healthier LM and a better quality of life, as well as decrease traffic problems in the area, all of which are exceptional and highly necessary in such a polluted world.

The development process began in January of 2023 and should be finished by December 2024. LM residents are now able to participate in this healthy initiative, which benefits them and the planet.

In terms of the comprehensive bicycle network, it “will include 46.25 miles of bike routes of which 6.75 miles are possible bike lanes,” which is amazing news for those who enjoy that form of exercise. The length of the path also shows the township’s commitment to making the area more environmentally friendly and more healthy.

After viewing the map of the proposed route, it appears to be a very effective plan for promoting biking around the township and will surely be used by everyone from children to adults. The map goes through much of the township and getting from place to place only using its paths is straightforward.

In order to pay for this plan, the Lower Merion Township Board Of Commissioners set aside funds to create needed signage and they are working with civic groups, as well as neighboring Haverford Township, to extend this out as far as possible. This ensures that such an important opportunity for health and efficiency reaches as many people in the township, and even all the way to Villanova, as possible.

If anything in this article interests you, the township is always looking to get volunteers to roll out the sustainability plan. If interested, reach out to Paloma Vila in the Lower Merion Township office for more information. Another effective way to get involved is to use the Greenway once it officially opens – anyone, regardless of ability, can use it with ease.

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