October 2020
Your SEDA-COG MPO News & Updates
Welcome to the fall 2020 edition of Pathways, a newsletter covering activities related to the SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). The SEDA-COG MPO is the official transportation planning organization for eight central Pennsylvania counties: Clinton, Columbia, Juniata, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, and Union.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MPO meetings have been transitioned to virtual formats. Staff are working remotely and are available by phone and email. During these difficult times, we remain focused on the health, safety, and well-being of our staff, partners, and stakeholders.

We hope you enjoy our newsletter! Stay tuned for future editions on a quarterly basis.
Upcoming Meetings & Events
Below are upcoming transportation meetings and events being held in the region. In accordance with state and national guidance for mitigating the spread of COVID-19, meetings are primarily being conducted virtually. PennDOT LTAP has suspended all in-person instruction, but a number of virtual classes and virtual drop-in sessions will be held through the end of 2020.

November 17, 2020 - Central PA Transportation Coalition
November 18, 2020 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee
November 20, 2020 - SEDA-COG MPO Meeting
December 11, 2020 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Connections Work Group

We will post updated meeting information on our website. For more information, or for links to participate in virtual meetings, contact the SEDA-COG Transportation Planning staff. SEDA-COG MPO meeting agendas, minutes, and recordings can be found here.
LTAP Training
PennDOT Virtual Innovation Week
PennDOT is hosting a statewide Virtual Innovation Week, November 2-6, 2020. This event will provide federal, state and local government transportation representatives with the opportunity to learn about and discuss transportation innovations being used across Pennsylvania.

The FREE virtual event will consist of:

  • Ten different virtual presentation sessions over five days, featuring primarily PennDOT and local government speakers, focusing on topics such as pavement & bridge preservation, innovative maintenance techniques, innovative design approaches, multimodal planning, and traffic safety. A facilitated question/answer period will follow each presentation. View the complete schedule for more information on specific sessions and speakers.

  • A Virtual Exhibit Hall, featuring a variety of innovative equipment, materials, applications, and technologies used by federal, state, and local agencies to help them do their jobs safer, better, faster, and save money.

Please note that the event registration deadline is Wednesday, October 28 at noon.
CSVT Special Impact Study Underway
The SEDA-COG MPO has been partnering with the Williamsport MPO on a Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) Project Special Impact Study. This study is being done to examine the potential traffic diversion and subsequent land use impacts that may be caused by completion of the CSVT, and make recommendations for mitigating any unwanted impacts. The study area consists of the following corridors, which exhibit the greatest potential for the CSVT project to impact future development:

  • PA 147 from the Ridge Road interchange in Northumberland County to the I-80/I-180 interchange;
  • Interstate 180 from the I-80 interchange to the US 15/Market Street interchange in Williamsport;
  • US 15 from Winfield in Union County to the I-180/US 15/Market Street interchange in Williamsport.

Michael Baker International is the consulting firm providing technical support and report preparation. Ongoing coordination with a study management team, steering committee, corridor municipalities, and partnering agencies is providing essential information and guidance. Additional outreach will gauge public opinion on study recommendations through a public open house and a legislative briefing.

Study recommendations will be identified that address safety, system operations, economic development potential, and land use policy. Final recommendations will be presented to the MPOs for their endorsement, and the formal study process will come to a close on June 30, 2021.
Long Range Transportation Plan Update
Plan Update Progressing Well
Work continues on the 2021 Update of the SEDA-COG MPO Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). The current conditions content and mapping from the existing 2016 LRTP has been predominantly updated. Evaluation of seven significant issues identified as part of the 2019 SEDA-COG MPO Strategic Plan has also been completed.

More recent activity has involved analyzing performance measures and projects to include in the LRTP. Consultant assistance is being used to develop performance measures content and visualization, along with conducting public involvement. The draft asset management and discretionary project lists will be shared with MPO members shortly, then followed up by final project scoring and selection. Public outreach, surveying, and consultation with diverse interested parties will begin during November/December.

A first draft of the plan is anticipated for issuance to MPO members in November 2020, a final draft plan will be completed in February 2021, and the final plan will be adopted by the MPO in June 2021.

To learn more, contact Don Kiel, senior principal program analyst, at 814-553-8689 or dkiel@seda-cog.org.
Highway Performance Monitoring System Samples
The SEDA-COG MPO works to verify and update roadway inventory data for Highway Performance Monitoring System (HPMS) samples. HPMS data are used for allocating national and state highway funds, project planning and programming, assessing air quality conformity, and travel monitoring.

Each year, SEDA-COG MPO staff complete field views of randomly selected HPMS sample sections in all eight MPO counties to verify data items such as left turn lanes, lane width, signalized intersections, and widening potential. MPO staff began field views on the 179 HPMS sample sites required for 2020 following a statewide HPMS Workshop in late July. The final data will be submitted to PennDOT by December 4, 2020.

To learn more, contact Katherine Lewis, program analyst, at klewis@seda-cog.org.
Federal Transportation Funding Legislation
Federal Legislation Extended One Year
The federal surface transportation law, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), was extended for a year after President Trump’s October 1st signing of a temporary funding measure that averted a shutdown of the federal government. A key element of the extension is a provision to prop up the struggling Highway Trust Fund via a $13.6 billion infusion from the General Fund. This funding transfer should put enough money in the trust fund to make it through to September 30, 2021.

The yearlong FAST Act extension offers an opportunity to produce a significant multi-year surface transportation bill that would boost investments to address current challenges and give transportation agencies more stability in meeting future needs. We will report updates in this newsletter, as they become available.

The temporary spending bill that extended the FAST Act can be found here.
Active Transportation Committee Update
New Committee Keeps Rolling
The Middle Susquehanna Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan was adopted by the SEDA-COG MPO in May 2019. To help implement this Plan, the SEDA-COG MPO and the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership formed a Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee. The Committee's mission is to enhance quality of life in the Middle Susquehanna Valley through the development of a regional network of walkable and bikeable communities and the promotion of a bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly culture. The Committee and its work groups on Safety, Connections, and Community Engagement are diligently laboring on multiple fronts to implement the Plan's action items, goals, and overarching vision.

A few recent successes include:

  • Helping communities pursue funding from DCNR and WalkWorks grant opportunities to further active transportation in our region;
  • Updating bike/ped priority project lists and mapping;
  • Developing new vehicle stickers/decals that were printed and distributed to encourage safe driving and sharing of the road with bicyclists;
  • Presenting three virtual lunch-and-learn workshops focused on “Bicycle Friendly” program designations from the League of American Bicyclists for businesses, communities, and universities;
  • Beginning bicycle level of traffic stress analysis of local roads to complement what was already completed for state roads in the region.

To learn more, contact Katherine Lewis, program analyst, at klewis@seda-cog.org.
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SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) enhances the quality of life and economic advantage for residents and businesses in 11 central Pennsylvania counties through its vital partnerships and initiatives.

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