Tredyffrin, like many suburban Philadelphia communities, was originally developed for people who commuted from here to the city, where most jobs were located. At that time, the goal was to provide a solid housing stock with good access to road and rail transportation. Today, people work everywhere, including their own homes, so our home towns have become the center of our lives. We stay local to work and to play. In more recently built communities, many developers address this changing lifestyle by providing housing, offices and recreational opportunities in close proximity to one another.
We are fortunate in that Tredyffrin already has many of these sought-after qualities: many jobs are located right here or within easy commuting distance, we have top-ranked schools, great parks and the beginnings of a township-wide trail system, and a great variety of housing choices. So how can our local government improve on that? We can work to make certain that we provide as many features as we can to continue to be a desirable community:
- We can make sure that our “playing” opportunities, like our parks and libraries, are open, accessible and well maintained.
- We can create a transportation hub that is easily accessible and user-friendly.
- We can provide zoning codes and regulations that encourage redevelopment in a practicable manner. For example, family-owned restaurants now fill formerly vacant spaces in Bryn Mawr and Ardmore, largely the result of new township parking policies that encourage restaurant development.
- We can improve the permitting process so that it does not deter developers and property owners seeking to move here or improve their physical presence.
- We can be ready for the Chester Valley Trail through Tredyffrin by planning now for appropriate and logical access for our residents and businesses.
We are a great community, but we need to build momentum to keep moving forward. We have a Comprehensive Plan that lays out a vision for the township over the next 10 or 20 years, including plans for land use, transportation, trails and sidewalks, economic revitalization, historic preservation, and housing. What needs to happen, and has not happened since the Comprehensive Plan was adopted, is the incremental and systematic addressing of these items identified in the plan. It is true that budget constraints have limited our progress, but other options remain, including using volunteers from our talented population, improving our codes and permitting process, and increasing our efforts to seek funding from other public and private sources.
We need to be resilient in these difficult times. There are many quality-of-life improvements that can be made at little or no cost now, and deferring everything will only put us at a disadvantage when the economy picks up. We believe it’s a matter of forward-thinking vision and the commitment to get things done. We can see neighboring towns adapting to economic challenges and moving ahead. Why not Tredyffrin?
Molly F. Duffy is vice chair of Tredyffrin Township’s Sidewalks, Trails and Paths Committee; past chair, Environmental Advisory Council; and candidate for Tredyffrin supervisor-at-large.
Victoria “Tory” Snyder is on the Planning Commission, chair of the Sidewalk Subcommittee and candidate for Tredyffrin supervisor, District 1.
This letter was originally published in Main Line Suburban Life on Friday, October 21.