Delaware County planners attended the annual statewide planning conference in Allentown to learn the latest planning trends and techniques.
From October 16 through 18, more than 400 planners, officials, government representatives, and students came together in Allentown for the annual conference of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association. Delaware County Planning Department staff was on hand to interact with colleagues and hear about best practices from around the commonwealth. The theme of the 2016 Conference was “Communities, Corridors, and Connections” and as such included much discussion of transit, trails, and downtown investment. “As a planner just beginning my career, it was inspirational to see government officials and planners come together to learn and network with each other,” said Will Brugger, Associate Environmental Planner and first-time conference attendee.
The conference provided many educational and networking opportunities and an up-close view of the recent revitalization of the city of Allentown. Keynote speaker Mitchell Silver, Commissioner of New York City Parks, opened the conference with an inspiring talk entitled “Planning for Place and People,” which focused on the impact of demographic shifts on how to plan for communities today and tomorrow. Later, Senior Director of Major Stations, Planning & Development at Amtrak Rina Cutler spoke about the Philadelphia 30th Street Station District Plan, a long-range, joint master-planning effort that will have a major impact on the transportation landscape in our region.
In keeping with the theme of “Communities, Corridors, and Connections,” highlights from the conference included an interactive classroom session where attendees prepared bicycle facility treatments where safety improvements were needed. In another session, Lehigh Valley Planning Commission shared its WalkLV initiative, and LANTA, the regional transit provider, spoke about using sidewalk data from WalkLV to improve pedestrian connections to transit in the Lehigh Valley. Mobile workshops allowed attendees to see local projects first-hand, such as a visit to the Bethlehem Steel site where planners and community leaders shared how the site has been transformed into a mixed-use development with performing arts venues, a casino, a hotel, retail, a museum, and pedestrian trails.
The next conference will be in State College in October 2017. Visit http://planningpa.org/ to learn more about the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Planning Association including conference information. You can contact the Delaware County Planning Department any time with questions on the latest planning trends or policies facing your community.