MINUTES OF THE COORDINATING COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON JULY 20, 2017 IN THE BERKS COUNTY PLANNING
COMMISSION CONFERENCE ROOM ON THE FOURTEENTH FLOOR OF THE BERKS COUNTY SERVICES
Larry Shifflet, PennDOT
Central Office, Acting Chair *
Ray Green, PennDOT Central
Office for Michael Rebert, PennDOT 5-0
Kevin S. Barnhardt, County of Berks
Donna Reed, City of Reading
Shannon Rossman for James
Mason, Berks County Planning Commission
Craig Lutz for Randall Swan, Reading Regional Airport Authority
Joseph E. Rudderow, III, 2nd
Class Townships (Maidencreek Township)
Jeff Glisson for Dave Kilmer,
MEMBERS NOT ATTENDING
Tony Sacco, 1st
Class Townships (Cumru Township)
Stephen H. Price,
*Tie-breaking Vote only
Gene Porochniak, PennDOT
Kerry Fields, PennDOT 5-0
Alan D. Piper, Berks County
Michael Golembiewski, Berks County
Regina Zdradzinski, Berks
County Planning Commission
David Berryman, Berks County
Jessie Seidel, Berks County
John Slifko, City of Reading
Matt Boyer, Commuter Services
Bill Royer, Rep. Ryan McKenzie
Felix Colon, AIM
Angel Torres, AIM
Brelje, Reading Eagle
CALL TO ORDER
Acting Chairman Shifflet called
the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m.
APPROVAL OF COORDINATING COMMITTEE MINUTES OF MAY 11, 2017
Shifflet asked if there were any questions or comments to the May 11, 2017 Coordinating
Committee Meeting minutes.
MOTION: Mr. Rudderow made a motion to approve the May
11, 2017 Coordinating Committee Meeting minutes. Ms. Reed seconded the motion and it passed
FROM THE FLOOR
There was no business from the floor.
ON MAJOR PROJECTS
Mr. Piper stated that, based on prior meetings, the
board requested a change in format of the report just focusing on the major
projects and providing more information related to those projects. Staff went through an initial list and
selected nine projects with four of them being related to Rt. 222 North, the West
Shore Bypass project, three more related to I-78, and the Penn Street Bridge
project. It is a combination of projects
that are either currently under construction or in the design process. Staff came up with a standardized form that
includes a map showing the location of each project. It also highlights the various phases of the project,
working through Preliminary Engineering, Final Design and Construction. If under construction, it identifies who the
contractor is, when the project started, estimated cost, and estimated date of
completion. The board members liked the
Acting Chairman Shifflet gave an update on the Major
Mr. Piper said that there needs to be a discussion
regarding the board selection of additional projects to consider or changes in
the priority list. There is also a
separate sheet included which lists other significant projects throughout the
MPO. He asked the board to add other
projects that they think are more significant than the one’s listed. Mr. Rudderow told Mr. Piper that this list is
good and we should run with this format and see if it helps the committee. Acting Chairman Shifflet stated that most of
this information can also be found on PennDOT’s PA Transportation Projects website
Mr. Slifko questioned the amount ($112 million) for
the I-78 (12M) Mainline Reconstruction project.
Mr. Piper stated that the biggest part of that project is widening the
14-span bridge that goes over the Schuylkill River. The bridge is approximately ½ a mile
long. It goes over the Schuylkill River,
Reading Blue Mountain Northern Railroad, and Lowland Road. This project also includes replacing the
I-78 Bridge over Port Clinton Avenue on the west side; replacing the bridge on
Rt. 6l over the interstate and realigning the ramps at the Rt. 61
interchange. It contains three bridges
altogether. Mr. Slifko stated that the
project is three times as expensive as the Penn Street Bridge project. It is an old bridge and refurbishing it is
more expensive than building a new one.
Ms. Reed asked for an update on the Penn Street
Bridge. Mr. Piper stated that a
progress meeting was held yesterday. It
seems to be running very smoothly and on schedule. He has heard nothing but good reports
regarding traffic. People are avoiding
the areas as much as possible. PennDOT
and the contractor made changes to the timing of the traffic signal located at
2nd and Penn Streets that allows traffic to clear better.
Commissioner Barnhardt stated that ReadingBridges.net
will be scheduling a meeting before school is back in session for RACC and the
schools located on S. 5th Street.
Ms. Reed asked if Front Street will be opened before school starts. Mr. Piper said that Front Street is only
supposed to be closed while RACC is not in session.
UPDATE ON US
422 WEST SHORE BYPASS RECONSTRUCTION PROJECT
Piper stated that PennDOT has a webpage regarding this project www.422westshorebypass.com but it is not linked to any PennDOT webpage. It shows photos, gives an overview of the
project, shows improvement concepts, explains the purpose and need of the
project, and allows visitors to sign up for email updates. This project extends from Rt. 12 to just east
of I-176 for reconstruction - widening to three lanes in each direction, and
replacing all interchanges and bridges. There is a 3-D flythrough on the site
based on the concept plan. The concepts
that are in place now are very early in the preliminary phases of the
project. There are still issues being
resolved regarding bicycle/pedestrian access.
There was one specific workshop related to bicycle/pedestrian issues
held on May 30, 2017. Staff met with
PennDOT and designers where concerns were expressed. There will be a follow-up meeting with the same
people on August l, 2017. On August l5,
2017, there will be a formal public meeting regarding the project at Alvernia
University at 6:00 pm.
Piper presented the 3-D digital flythrough of the project to the board.
The project would consist of widening the West Shore
Bypass to three lanes in each direction and rebuilding all of the interchanges
and associated bridges. Changes would be made at the North Wyomissing
Interchange. It would look the same as
it is now except ramps would be modified to make U-turns legally. Both of the overhead railroad bridges over the
bypass will need to be reconstructed.
The Penn Street Interchange is proposed to have what is referred to as a
diverging diamond interchange. Traffic
lanes would be flipped as they go through the interchange. All of the turning movements are left-turn
movements, instead of having movements across traffic. Chairman Kufro stated that this alignment
produces a better traffic flow. The
proposal for the Lancaster Avenue Interchange will have the interchange split
in half and has a portion of the intersection lined up with Rt. 10 heading to
and from the west. The traffic going to
and from the Exeter area would get off at new ramps to Rt. 10, and come down
Rt. 10 to Lancaster Avenue and the Bingaman Street Bridge. The 1-176 Interchange basically has the same
configuration but it is slightly relocated to the north to allow for reconstruction
for both river bridges on either side of the interchange.
project also involves the complete reconstruction of the Bingaman Street
Bridge. It would look to relocate the
Schuylkill River Trail across that bridge and take the trail up the Reading
side of the river where it would meet up with the existing trail at RACC.
Rudderow asked if the railroads pay for the new bridges. Mr. Piper said not in most cases.
Rudderow asked where another interchange like a Diverging Diamond is
located. Acting Chairman Shifflet said
there is one in Washington County at the I-70/PA 519 Interchange.
Mr. Piper stated that in West
Reading there is a new road proposed for access to the substation and to the
warehouse. That road will also serve as
a bicycle/pedestrian connector between the Wyomissing Creek Trail and the Penn
Street Bridge. The main line of the
Schuylkill River Trail shifts to the Reading side between the two interchanges.
Ms. Reed asked if the ROW will
take part of Schlegel Park. Mr. Piper
said that it might impact the driveway but this has not been fully developed at
Mr. Piper stated that there were
concerns regarding the cemetery along Rt. 10 near Lancaster Avenue. The project actually moves the highway away
from the cemetery. The trail is still going between the highway and the
cemetery. Fern Avenue access onto Rt. 10
will be closed under this scenario to prevent regional traffic from passing
through this residential neighborhood.
Lutz asked when the bypass was originally constructed. Mr. Piper said 1965. Mr. Rudderow asked, in these plans, is future
traffic growth looked at. Mr. Piper
stated that is one of the reasons why the project will have three lanes in each
direction. Mr. Piper stated that the
designs are made to anticipate the full projected volume plus twenty years of
Mr. Lutz asked how long this
project will take to complete. The
project will most likely be cut up into construction phases. The estimate for the project is $650 million.
Considering that we receive much less than that per year, Spike funding,
public/private partnership funding or spreading construction out over multiple
years based on funds available are some of the options. The final selection of the funding method
will ultimately drive the schedule.
Mr. Piper and Commissioner
Barnhardt are working with municipalities and the County’s Department of Emergency
Services on a West Shore Bypass Task Force to look at ways to better coordinate
responses for incident management for now and into the future. PennDOT will send a representative to the
meetings from the District Traffic Operations Center. We will talk to other MPO’s to see how they
manage their plans.
6. PENNDOT REQUESTED
AMENDMENTS/MODIFICATIONS TO FFY 2017 TIP
Fields gave an update on Amendments/Modifications to FFY 2017-2020 Highway TIP
from April 27, 2017 through July 6, 2017.
There were no Amendments during this period.
Administrative Actions - There were 14 Administrative Actions impacting the
Reading TIP. Two actions assigned
funding from the TAP Line Item to the 18th Wonder and Boyertown
Railroad Connectivity projects. Another
action provided for funding to improve the alignment of Maidencreek Road (SR
1005) with SR 73. The balance involved
reallocating funds within existing projects to account for changing needs.
REVIEW AND RECOMMENDATION ON
RATS PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PROCESS/LIMITED ENGLISH PROFICIENCY PLAN
Golembiewski stated that this process is coming to an end. The packets include the Public Participation Process
regarding Appendix A. The public meetings
were advertised and no one attended either of the them, which were held on June
27, 2017 at BARTA and June 28, 2017 at the Berks County Agricultural
Center. He would hope that since there
was a lot of participation at the beginning of the process that the public
thought there was no need for participation at the end of the process.
Golembiewski said that the “Appendix A” handout will be included in the back of
both documents. Everything that has gone
into updating these documents was listed.
Appendix A.l includes the contact lists used from January 2017 through
Appendix A.2 explains all of the various
activities that occurred during the formulation of the two documents, including
initial public release, copies of newspaper articles, WFMZ articles, power
point presentations given at the two meetings, sign-in sheets, discussing
comments made at those meetings, and copies
of online and paper surveys. Reading
through this, Mr. Golembiewski realized that he missed two items. Those involve working with Abilities in
Motion. He met with their Consumer
Action group in January and April. He
also was involved with one of the BCTV programs with one of their group
Golembiewski stated that Appendix A.3 lists the actual language groups that
reside in Berks County as derived from the Census American Community
Survey. Besides English, Spanish is the
number one language group; Vietnamese is the next highest listed; and other
Western Germanic language is listed after that.
Spanish is the language that we must translate as far as having these
documents ready. We need to find
representatives in the Vietnamese community to find out how to reach out to
that group. There is not one
concentrated area in Berks County where they live; they are scattered around
Berks County. The challenge is to work
with leaders in that community to find out where these people are located and
how we can reach out to them.
Golembiewski stated that Appendix A.4 lists everything that occurred during the
formal 45-day Public Comment Period.
Descriptions of actions that were taken, a copy of public notice
advertised in the Reading Eagle newspaper along with the Spanish version that
was sent out, how it was placed on our website in English and Spanish, copies
of the surveys in English and Spanish, newspaper articles that were done by the
Reading Eagle, opening statement prepared to open each meeting, and public
meeting surveys that were available at each meeting.
Golembiewski stated that one of the changes that will happen from going through
this process is figuring out what is considered to be our vital documents and
having those documents or a summary translated into Spanish and made available.
The Federal Government tells us we have to do it, but they don’t tell us which
documents are vital. There is no
notification or legislation. There is
also a range of documents the other MPO’s think are vital. Anything dealing
with Title VI, policy, complaint procedure, forms, annual schedule and public
meetings has already been translated and posted on the Planning Commission’s
front doors in English and Spanish. Usually,
we just post a PDF of the meeting agenda and meeting minutes on our
website. As of March, it is now being
provided as a web page. With the
translator on the web page, click on the language and automatically translate
the minutes and agenda.
Golembiewski stated that, we were told that we can either do the whole document
or an executive summary type is acceptable.
Go forward with the Long Range Transportation Plan, TIP, Public
Participation Plan and the Limited English Proficiency Plan, we will get executive
summaries created and those will be translated into Spanish and made available
in print and on the website.
Golembiewski stated that there were many discussions on how to get the word out
to the public. County-wide long range
planning does not generate much public interest. There is a big concern regarding project
level activities. As we start going
through the PennDOT Connects process, we will be meeting with communities on an
individual project basis to get the word out regarding what is going on and how
they can have their say.
Mr. Lutz made a motion to adopt Appendix A and to include it in both the
Public Participation Plan and the Limited English Proficiency Plan. Mr. Rudderow seconded the motion and it
Mr. Green made a motion to adopt both the Public Participation Plan and
the Limited English Proficiency Plan in their entirety. Mr. Rudderow seconded the motion and it
8. UPDATE ON TAP PROGRAM SCHEDULE AND REVIEW/RECOMMENDATION OF
PROPOSED FUNDING POLICY
Mr. Piper stated that the new round of the
program that was formerly known as the Transportation Alternatives Program
(TAP) and has now been renamed Transportation Alternatives - Set Aside Program
(TA-SA) is now in progress. In June, all of the program documents available on
PennDOT’s website were forwarded to Berks County municipalities.
period opened July 10th, 2017.
There was a statewide webinar last Thursday that potential applicants
could participate in to educate themselves on the program process and the
changes over the prior program.
Piper stated that the schedule is that applications can be submitted anytime
from July 10th through September 22, 2017. Through August 25, 2017,
applicants have an opportunity, if they are not certain their project fits in
one of the criteria, to submit a summary of their project to PennDOT to
determine whether or not the project is eligible.
are highly recommended to meet with both the MPO and PennDOT District Office to
review their projects regarding eligibility, scope and cost estimates. Most municipalities grossly underestimate the
level of involvement required and the level of effort that is required and the
difference between a purely municipally developed and let project when compared
to a project that uses federal dollars.
Piper stated that there are a few potential applicants already and staff met
with one this morning and gave them feedback.
They will still have to meet with the Department. If the applicant meets with the MPO and the
Department before the application is submitted, bonus points will be earned. If you meet with the MPO and the Department
after the application is submitted, advice is given but bonus points are not
earned. If there is no meeting with
either the MPO or the Department, the project will not be eligible.
Piper said that the applications are due September 22, 2017. PennDOT will send them to the MPO by
September 29, 2017. The MPO has until
January 5, 2018 to complete the internal rankings. It is anticipated that the
Technical Committee will review the applications and prepare a recommendation
to bring to the Coordinating Committee for their approval at the November
meeting. Hopefully, early in calendar
year 2018, we would have the local recommendations, the state would have the
statewide recommendations and all of this falls right into the TIP update.
Piper stated that the dollars available to our area has not changed based on
the legislation. Berks County will get
$556,000 for the two-year period.
Statewide, PennDOT is estimating that they will have up to a maximum of
$55 million available to cover that two-year period. This is the largest program they ever
asked how the municipalities are supposed to be aware of this program. Mr. Piper stated that PennDOT sends material
to anyone that applied in the past.
Staff sends material directly to every municipality in Berks
County. We have sent reminders twice
already letting the municipalities know about this program. Acting Chairman Shifflet said that PennDOT
had a press release as well.
Lutz asked how many applications we received so far. Mr. Piper said none yet. The application process only opened last
Friday so most people are still in the planning stage. We think there are four candidate projects
and there will most likely be more. Mr.
Lutz and Mr. Slifko asked for a list of the candidate projects and the Guidance
document. Staff has only had preliminary
contact with people that are thinking of submitting projects.
stated that, in past meetings, we have discussed coming up with a policy of
funding Transportation Alternatives Program cost overruns. It was talked about at the Technical
Committee meeting last week. There is a memorandum included in the
packets. The Technical Committee decided
they need more discussion on this issue.
Mr. Piper asked the Coordinating Committee to read through the
information and get back to Mr. Berryman or himself with any comments. The Technical Committee will review this
again on August 3, 2017 with the possibility of bringing a policy recommendation
back to the board in September 2017.
TRANSPORTATION IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
Piper stated that they are 25% into the TIP update process. Staff has worked with Acting Chairman
Shifflet this year putting together the Financial Guidance and we are close to
having final numbers out on that.
Procedural Guidance has been put out.
Preliminary meetings were held within the District in which costs were
adjusted for current projects. The Long
Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) was looked at and project recommendations were
made. Staff also met with District
5-0’s Bridge Unit to go over a potential list of bridge candidate
projects. The Congestion Management
Program, which was adopted last year, was also looked at and a few traffic and
roadway project recommendations were made.
the items to be discussed at the next Technical Committee Meeting will be to
see how much room we have to move potential candidate projects forward. The goal is to have a draft program together
by the end of 2017 and ready to be adopted by July 2018. We are
six months ahead of schedule. As new
projects are identified, they will need to be incorporated into the PennDOT Connects
process. We will then have discussions with the municipalities regarding the
scope of work for each proposed project.
State Transportation Commission (STC) did a statewide survey and we received
preliminary results from them. We will
discuss in detail what we found in terms of the feedback from the public
through their process. Mr. Piper addressed
one interesting fact. We found that, in the State Transportation Commission survey,
people can recommend the project or voice a concern. The STC has a process that looks at the TIP
and people received feedback stating which projects were already being looked
at. There are a very high number of
projects that are already being addressed.
Most of the complaints received are concerning the Rts. 222 and 422
Mr. Boyer handed out the Commuter Services Program Update
and stated that Commuter Services of PA is in their 13th year. The program started back in 2004-2005. Berks County joined in 2009.
He noted that there were 352 people who participated in
their Earth Day event, with over 70,000 miles removed from the roads as part of
that promotion. May was Bike Month. Sixty four cyclists registered their rides
and took 7,600 miles off the roads.
The Dump the Pump Campaign took place in June. People who use alternative modes can write a
synopsis of why they ride, what mode they changed to and what their decision
was based on for a chance to win prizes.
Mr. Boyer stated that each year Commuter
Services uses a Performance Measuring Tool and the report was presented to
their Board of Directors yesterday. This
Performance Measuring Tool asks the people in the Ride Share Data Base how many
give credit to Commuter Services for them changing their mode. When you speak to people that say they are
doing things differently, 33 million miles were taken off the road that
actually give Commuter Service credit.
The people that are doing a different mode and giving credit to their
employers or corporate co-worker who introduced them to the program but still
making the change, 224 million miles were taken off the road. It is a significant number but has decreased
slightly since last year. Outreach has
not changed and the amount of people reached has increased. Sometimes there are less people willing to
change modes when the economy is doing better.
Mr. Boyer stated that Commuter
Services had an 89% favorable rating as far as identification and a 3%
unfavorable rating. There are reasons
for this. Carpools are not located in
some areas, and no bus transit line available, etc. Of the five transit authorities that are
measured in our tool, BARTA had the highest increase percent in favorable
ratings. Transit as a whole is at a
10-year high as far as people in our data base using transit as an alternative
Rudderow asked for clarification on the Rts. 222 North/73 intersection. Turning lanes are being proposed in this
area. Will this include turning arrows
on both routes? Mr. Piper stated that he
is not sure if PennDOT ever made that determination yet. That is generally a final design
decision. Mr. Rudderow stated that he
thinks the turning lanes with turning arrows would help at that
Rudderow asked if he could be provided with an update on the Schaeffer Road
Bridge. Mr. Piper will check with the
County and let Mr. Rudderow know. The
bridge belongs to the county at this time but will be transferred to
Maidencreek Township once it is reconstructed.
Mr. Rudderow made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Ms. Reed seconded the motion and the meeting was adjourned at 2:58 PM.
/s/Alan D. Piper
Alan D. Piper