Planning for Narberth’s Future

Over the last several years, Narberth has developed a Comprehensive Plan, a Capital Improvement Plan & Capital Budget, a Climate Action Plan, and we have completed our required MS4 Pollutant Reduction Plan, all of which are publicly available on the Borough’s web site. We also performed a close analysis of Borough road conditions, and are preparing to do the same for our sewer and storm sewer infrastructure. This deep level of analysis has allowed the Borough to clarify its infrastructure needs, identify candidates for grant funding, and schedule and budget for long-term projects. 

Some projects, such as road paving, have been awaiting the results of these analyses. After extensive utility work on the north side, the Borough undertook an inventory of road conditions. That analysis showed that almost all of the Borough roads remained in very good condition even after the utility work. We have now begun to prioritize the roads in highest need of repair. Going forward, repaving will proceed annually, using state funds. Much of Dudley Avenue will be repaved this year; the contract has already been awarded.

Our paving plan also provides an opportunity to institute the “complete streets” approach recommended in our Comprehensive Plan. Alongside the road repaving, the Borough will be installing ADA compliant ramps and inspecting sidewalks for damage.

The Borough was able to complete the paving analysis efficiently and inexpensively in part due to some prior good planning. We had previously decided to map the Borough using GIS technology, a project we were able to complete cost-effectively because we had in-house expertise and also hired summer interns to do the legwork. This investment and planning has paid multiple dividends. Because the Borough had properly laid this foundation, we were able to deploy a standardized system of paving and road analysis that our engineering firm had already used, rather than having to reinvent the wheel.

The Comprehensive Plan and Climate Action Plan have also helped to guide Borough priorities, for instance in our work to develop bicycle infrastructure. The grant funding we obtained paid not only for new bike racks and a bike fix-it station, but also for the brand new bottle filler and drinking fountain (including dog fountain!) in Station Circle that serves not only cyclists, but the community at large. This is what good planning looks like.  Our plans have also given us the basis to plan for repair to sidewalk segments, which will be replaced starting this year, and our installation of electric vehicle charging stations, also accomplished largely through state grant funds. 

The importance of this planning for finding funding partners and for providing a legal basis for certain kinds of action to protect the Borough cannot be overstated.  The Comprehensive Plan and a Climate Action Plan already helped the Borough to secure a no-cost partner for its pop-up bike lane— by helping convince them that we were committed to the project. As we seek out grant funding opportunities for future projects, this level of planning and commitment will assist us in securing much-needed economic aid. 

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