February 2021
Your SEDA-COG MPO News & Updates
Welcome to the winter 2021 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 throughout 2021.

Feb. 23, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Community Engagement Work Group
Feb. 24, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee
Feb. 24, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Bike/Ped Funding Workshop
March 19, 2021 - SEDA-COG MPO Meeting
March 23, 2021 - Middle Susquehanna Active Transportation Committee Safety 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 Personal Delivery Devices Policy
On Nov. 1, 2020, PA Senate Bill 1199 (Personal Delivery Devices) was enacted. It is now Act 106 of 2020 and it went into effect on Jan. 30, 2021. Pennsylvania is among more than 20 states that allow for Personal Delivery Devices (PDD).

A PDD is a ground-based delivery device that is manufactured for transporting cargo or goods and is operated by a driving system that allows for autonomous and/or remote operations. PDDs are permitted to operate in any pedestrian area (i.e., sidewalk, crosswalk, safety zone, pedestrian tunnel, overhead pedestrian crossing or similar area for pedestrians), and on a roadway or shoulder/berm of a roadway posted at 25 mph or less.

PennDOT is responsible for developing policies governing the operations of PDDs and the application process to grant authorization. PennDOT has developed a policy and held a webinar about the policy. More information can be found at www.penndot.gov/pdd. If you have any questions, please email pdd@pa.gov.
CSVT Special Impact Study
The SEDA-COG MPO has been partnering with the Williamsport MPO on a Central Susquehanna Valley Transportation (CSVT) Project Special Impact Study. The study area consists of the following corridors:

  • 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.

Recent efforts have been focused on developing land use scenarios to understand how the fully constructed CSVT project can support and impact future regional growth. This analysis will eventually lead to a planning-level assessment of deficiencies and proposed strategies. Study recommendations will 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 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, priority corridors for improvement, 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 have been validated by MPO members. A first draft of the plan was issued to MPO members in November 2020. Public outreach, surveying, and consultation with diverse interested parties will begin during February.

A website for initial public review and comment on the draft plan and its included projects is available here. The website includes interactive mapping of proposed projects and factors relating to performance measures, along with a regional transportation survey. Responses to the survey are due by March 3.

A final plan is anticipated to be approved by the MPO in May 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 conducted field views on 179 HPMS sample sites required for 2020 and submitted final data to PennDOT on Dec. 4, 2020.

To learn more, contact Katherine Wilde, program analyst, at klewis@seda-cog.org.
State Rail Freight Infrastructure Grants
$31 Million in Rail Freight Grants Announced
On Jan. 12, PennDOT announced the approval of 26 rail freight improvement projects that will enhance freight mobility while creating or sustaining more than 200 jobs across Pennsylvania. The State Transportation Commission voted to approve $31.3 million for the projects through the Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) and the Rail Freight Assistance Program (RFAP).

Below is a list of approved rail freight projects from the SEDA-COG MPO area, with the state share:

  • South Avis Realty Inc. -- $391,461 to replace ties and raise, line, and surface its industrial park tracks;
  • SEDA-COG Joint Rail Authority -- $282,245 to finish the work of phase II of the rehabilitation of approximately 1,550 feet of track on its West Park branch;
  • Boyd Station -- $2.6 million to expand its rail infrastructure and construct four new tracks and install unloading equipment;
  • Winfield Storage -- $130,900 to rehabilitate approximately 400 feet of track and build an unloading pit and conveyor to transload the agricultural products from rail to truck.

The full statewide listing 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;
  • Beginning bicycle level of traffic stress analysis of local roads to complement what was already completed for state roads in the region;
  • Organizing a bicycle/pedestrian funding workshop that will be held virtually on Feb. 24, 2021.

To learn more, contact Katherine Wilde, 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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