May 22 Press Release
The impact of Covid-19 has been felt worldwide. The response by governments, communities and businesses, has impacted our daily lives: the way we work, the way we shop, the way we educate, the way we get from here, to there. Services, including transportation, were severely reduced, or shut down completely. As we ease back into a more “normal” existence, there is a need to think of long-range planning, not only in guiding the recovery from the pandemic, but also the need to look beyond recovery, to the future.
On May 14, TMACC hosted a virtual breakfast, Envisioning Greater Philadelphia in 2050. This community event, included an interactive conversation with the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission. DVRPC is tasked with creating a strategic vision for the orderly growth and development of the nine-county region. This vision will inform the region’s leaders to prioritize nearly $2 billion in annual federal transportation funds.
Barry Seymour, Executive Director of DVRPC, began the discussion, which focused on the importance of long-range planning for the region. The DVRPC has been working on setting a regional agenda, and helping to guide decision making to bring about desired change. There must be a plan for a post Covid-19 world, and beyond, which includes asking questions about what systemic changes will occur as a result of the pandemic.
Will the trend toward teleworking continue? Will Covid-19 lead to location decisions for businesses and individuals living in highly-populated areas? What does the future of retail look like? Will people return to the stores, or continue purchasing online? When will people feel confident returning to mass transit, and how will this effect long-range planning in transportation infrastructure, and how it connects with our communities, our environment, and our economy?
Brett Fusco, DVRPC’s Manager, Office of Long-Range Planning, led the interactive vision exercise. Long-range planning is imperative if we want to know what we need to do to improve, and how we get there.
Participants were asked a series of questions, the same questions that long-range planners ask: What do we want to improve in the Greater Philadelphia region, how do we get there, and how do you envision the region in the future? The answers below reflect the most popular responses.
Q: What do you value most in the Greater Philadelphia region today?
Education, diversity, walkability, access to multimodal trails, arts/culture, entertainment, lots of open space, economic growth, and mass transit.
Q: What concerns you the most when thinking about the Greater Philadelphia region in the future?
A: Lack of transportation options, loss of open space, safety of mass transportation in a post Covid-19 era, lack of funding for, and deterioration of, transportation infrastructure, and climate change. With the potential for increased remote work, is it possible to reduce roadway expenditures, and reuse and adapt our roadways to increase bike/pedestrian traffic.
Q: What vision/goals would you like to see the region set and achieve?
A: Expanding regional rail, increased bike connections, economic growth opportunities for all residents, greater investment in transit, more multimodal options, easy access to work and play, climate change and clean energy, small business development, engagement in the technological revolution, and accessibility for the disabled and elderly.
The DVRPC will continue to work on its long-range plan timeline (below) which includes determining policies and actions to achieve the Vision (Fall-Winter 2020); drafting a Plan for public comment (Spring 2021); and presenting the Plan to the DVRPC for adoption (Summer 2021).
DVRPC is continuing the conversation with other groups throughout the region this summer, and will continue to post updates on our progress through the adoption of the Plan in 2021.