I love Ambler! I have a passion for the rich history, the close-knit community, and preserving the natural resources that we are so lucky to have right here in the Borough. As we look towards the future I think it is wise to continue to create a culture of sustainability that starts at Borough Hall.
Borough Council has the moral responsibility to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. A local government has the powerful ability to influence the behavior of the community and should consider policies to encourage business, industry, and residents to make choices that are compatible with and enhance sustainable development.
Please read some of my ideas below and I welcome suggestions and discussion at ErinMcKennaEndicot@gmail.com because it is ultimately my biggest priority to address the issues that are important to those I hope to serve!
Bolstering the Revival of Downtown Commercial District
- Parking in Ambler is a multi-faceted issue. Between the four municipal parking lots and the SEPTA lot there should be ample parking to accommodate the visitors drawn to the shops, restaurants and entertainment venues, even on a busy Saturday night. However, all too often residents in and around the Downtown Commercial District who rely on street parking are displaced and left to park at inconvenient distances to their home. While the option to build a new parking structure is again on the table, I would prefer to first try a multipronged approach to alleviate the perceived parking shortage.
- Continue to encourage walking/biking! Less cars= more parking
- A campaign to encourage visitors to use the municipal lots instead of street parking. Advertise a parking map in local publications. Place additional, more prominent signs directing visitors to the lots. Work with businesses to encourage their customers to utilize lots instead of residential streets through Borough distributed maps and incentives. Possibly have Borough subsidize a valet during peak hours or lease privately owned lots during high volume evening hours. While these options might come at a cost, I imagine it would be more economical than the parking structure.
- Many employees take up valuable street parking in residential neighborhoods because it is impractical to run out and feed a meter every few hours. Perhaps we could create a permit to allow employees to park for free in specific underutilized areas of municipal lots.
- Some businesses rely on “pop in” customers, who need extra convenient and short term parking to run a quick errand. I’d propose one spot per block, or upon request of specific business, that have a 15/30 minute time limit during business hours.
- Continue partnership with Ambler Main Street to support businesses, create community events.
- Work with the Planning Commission and Wissahickon Valley Historical Society to form an historical society to develop a plan to proactively preserve landmarks (possibly Mary Ambler Homestead) and create historical markers.
- Consider the adoption of a “Delay of Demolition” ordinance to afford public review of demolition permit applications for potentially significant buildings. When the Historical Commission determines that a building is significant and should be preserved, demolition will be delayed for up to six months so that solutions can be sought to preserve the building indefinitely. Example: https://www.cambridgema.gov/historic/districtsHistoricProperties/demolitiondelay
- Continue to increase walkability of the whole Borough.
- Create a map of businesses, parking, parks and include a calendar of events.
- A new traffic study can help focus the efforts to areas that need additional attention.
- Pursue alternative traffic calming options to encourage safer, more responsible driving and while reducing traffic flow. Create additional bump out crosswalks in high pedestrian areas with street parking (Bannockburn, Lindenwold, Forest).These features shorten the distance to cross the street and slow traffic by narrowing the road. This space can also be used beautify the area and add vegetation to help absorb storm water. http://www.sfbetterstreets.org/find-project-types/pedestrian-safety-and-traffic-calming/traffic-calming-overview/curb-extensions/
- Continue to work with the “Bike Montco” initiative to create safe bicycle routes to parks and trails, bicycle mobility, biking to transit, and biking near colleges and high schools.
- While many of our roads are too narrow to permit, we should look into bike lanes on a few arterial roadways.
- Add more bike racks around town to encourage residents to bike instead of drive.
- Host “pop up” traffic calming events to highlight bike lanes and draw increased awareness to bike traffic http://www.montcopa.org/2684/Bike-Montco
Continued resident engagement –
- Last year Borough Council started a weekly “Coffee with a Council Member” at the Ambler Farmer’s Market. I’d love to continue outreach programs like these to increase the engagement of residents with their local government.
- Continue to grow community involvement in local government by hosting a “State of the Borough” meeting once a year as an overview of what was accomplished in the past year and what we hope to accomplish in the future. Highlight volunteer opportunities for residents to join the organizations that help make Ambler the vibrant community that it is.
- Disseminate information such as meeting schedules, agendas, minutes on new platforms such as social media or community bulletin boards to increase resident involvement.
- Build recreation programming: once renovations are complete, utilize space in Borough Hall for both adult and children’s programming sponsored/subsidized by the Borough.
- I am excited to hear about the newly formed Community Relations Commission and look forward to working together to create a welcoming and supportive community for all of our residents.
- Stormwater Management
- Work with EAC to encourage homeowner involvement in stormwater management through both educational initiatives and subsidized tools such as rain barrels and rain gardens.
- Cross Municipality planning to mitigate flooding within the watershed.
- Healthy community initiatives, what can we as a Borough do to improve sustainability?
- Explore alternative energy sources, install solar panels at Borough Hall.
- Consider amending ordinances to include sustainable best practices for infill lot development.
- Continue to closely monitor the asbestos containment and work with EPA to find alternatives to best protect the health and welfare of residents. I think it is a gamble on the future welfare of the residents to build on the piles. I will closely follow the ongoing proceedings regarding the BoRit site.
- Create an educational campaign to prevent accidental asbestos exposure.