State Rep. Joe Webster held a hearing for community residents and stakeholders to discuss the revitalization of Ridge Pike, also known as Main Street.
“Main Street, from Norristown to Pottstown, is one of our area’s major roadways. By working together to revitalize it, we can develop a thriving business district to boost economic activity and create interest for families moving into our neighborhoods,” Webster said.
The problems Main Street faces are traffic, congestion, and limited space for business owners and consumers.
Planning commissions proposed ideas for Main Street and presented their plans in front of state representatives including House Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Mike Sturla, D-Lancaster.
Margaret Dobbs Donnelly, senior planner for Montgomery County Planning Commission, and her team presented the West Main Street Vision Plan, a design guidebook created by the commission.
“As part of the process to complete the plan, we met with residents, business owners and property owners on their vision for the future of the corridor, and created the design guidelines to address street design standards including access management, parking guidelines, building architectural guidelines, landscaping guidelines and of course pedestrian standards for sidewalks,” Donnelly said.
Mayor Aidsand Wright-Riggins of Collegeville attended the hearing.
“The needs of my constituents and concerns of Main Street has to do with a comprehensive zoning policy that is up and down Main Street,” he said. “One of the real challenges that we have is that we have five or six municipalities all locally controlled.
“The planners were looking at ways to have a more encompassing zoning process to be able to address some of the needs of the municipalities,” he said.
Wright-Riggins has his own concerns about the current state of Main Street.
“The traffic is a concern and the lack of opportunity for the community to be walkable and bike-friendly,” he said. “Particularly, I am concerned about our youth and the community. We haven’t really talked about the younger people and how those streets are really not conducive and for them to have a viable and much more enriched lifestyle. They become isolated because they don’t really have, in some of those areas, walkable streets.”
Longtime residents also expressed concerns and hopes surrounding the revitalization of Main Street.
“Traffic is a big issue. I’ve been a resident of Skippack Township for the past 15 years and when I first moved out here first it was the traffic, the congestion coming from 422, especially coming towards 29, trying to get from home to Providence Center is big,” said Dr. Barbara Collins-Brooks, a board member of Community Economic Development Council for Collegeville.
“Main Street is a vibrant potential area for students and the community and there’s no place to park. It has a lot of potential for new and growing businesses and needs more businesses,” she said.
“Today’s meeting means that municipalities are coming together. Collaboration is what’s going to name this a success.”