The Borough of Jenkintown has received Transportation and Community Development Initiative grant. This grant will be used as a seed fund to solve transportation problems and stimulate commercial and residential development.
A. Statement of Problem and Purpose Jenkintown has suffered tremendously in the last two decades as suburban sprawl has expanded. As an inner ring suburb, Jenkintown saw its core economy migrate outward as cars and tract housing dominated the scene. Strawbridges, Wanamaker’s and other major department stores were once headquartered on Jenkintown’s Golden Mile. These anchors are long gone, emigrants from Main Street to seek a new life at the sprawling malls.
Transportation problems have contributed their share to the Borough’s inability to retain and attract new businesses. In the 1950s, Old York Road (611) was a main street, with parking for cars and substantial pedestrian traffic. Now the road has no parking, and acts essentially as a highway bifurcating the Borough at speeds as much as 80 percent higher than the posted limits. Pedestrian traffic is heavily discouraged, and a cross-connection between the East and West sides of the Borough is nearly impossible.
The heavy car and truck traffic along Old York Road spills out onto the residential streets as traffic flows for even faster bypass routes. Walnut Street, for example, sees speeds in excess of 60 mph, and many of our residents have difficulty even leaving their own garages at some times of the day as traffic seeks residential cut-throughs. Almost “surrounded” by regional train stations (Jenkintown-Wyncote at the far West border of the Borough, Noble just past the Northeast boundary), the lack of tie-ins to the commercial section of the Borough renders this potential asset virtually invisible except for bedroom commuting to center city Philadelphia. And as new road construction continues to develop to outer sprawl suburbs, absent other leveraging of this and other inner ring assets, even this advantage will cease to enter into the mental calculations of potential residents and businesses.
And the lack of adequate parking (both in sheer numbers and in the management of existing assets) makes the situation worse. Based upon work of an economic development consultant as part of our recently-adopted Revitalization Plan, there appears to be a market for a substantial expansion of both office and retail space in the commercial district, but without adequate and effectively managed parking, this expansion is can live only in planning documents. The Borough sorely lacks spaces and the proper directional signage and linkages to find them. More specifics on the size and direction of this problem were provided through the Plan work, through the attention of the economic development work along with the traffic consultant member of the planning team.
Jenkintown has substantial assets as a community. We are the smallest completely self-governing entity in the Commonwealth, with an excellent school system of our own, a strong volunteer fire department presence (with two companies founded 125 years ago), excellent surrounding demographics, access to bus and rail transportation, and a strong mixture of housing accessible to the broad demographic mix that is our residential population. It is not unusual for children to grow up here, rent an apartment, marry, buy a starter house near their parents, move to a larger house (also in the Borough), and then to “swap” houses with a younger Borough family when they are empty nesters.
There are very few communities that can make the statement above. Our purpose in the revitalization effort we will detail next is to preserve and expand these fundamental assets of our community, leverage the transportation base, attract new business and residents, strengthen the tax base and thereby secure the future of the school system, and enhance the overall character and quality of life of a unique community
In January 1999, Jenkintown experienced a conflict that turned into an opportunity. At a standing room only meeting in the elementary school, after weeks of local controversy, the Borough Council reversed a previous decision that would have abandoned the Borough’s Open Space plan in favor of a parking lot at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and Leedom Street. At this final meeting, Borough Council voted unanimously for a town square with parking. This debate revealed that many in the community – residents and business owners have an “invested interest” in the future of Jenkintown. With the future of Jenkintown at stake, a small group of residents, business owners, and government officials continued to meet to discuss what the town square debate meant for Jenkintown’s future.
After several consultation meetings with the PA Downtown Center and PA Department of Economic Development, a meeting of 60 stakeholders took place at the invitation of the small working group. The stakeholders – residents, business owners, property owners and Borough Council – heard a representative from the PA Downtown Center describe the community visioning process, and soon after, endorsed the process for Jenkintown. This small, working group soon became known as the Jenkintown’s Community Alliance. This non-profit entity began to meet formally to set goals, objectives and work plans that would not only be short term but long-term as well. Through the visioning process, the following pieces were developed: a community vision for Jenkintown was developed:
“Jenkintown is and should remain a diverse, tree-lined community with family-friendly neighborhoods, quality schools and a small town atmosphere. By working together, the residents, business and property owners and government of Jenkintown can improve upon our inherent strengths while developing and promoting a vibrant, diverse and economically strong central business district that reaches its full potential as an attractive and walk able, retail, professional and entertainment destination”. With the vision statement in place, it was time to turn the vision into a reality. So, Jenkintown’s Community Alliance - in conjunction with Jenkintown Borough -spearheaded the creation of a Master Plan. The ultimate purpose of the Jenkintown Revitalization Master Plan was to build upon the previous planning efforts, by focusing the community’s future efforts on a set of discrete projects with the best potential for implementation over the next 10 years. The Revitalization Master Plan was finalized and adopted unanimously by the JCA Board as well as by the Jenkintown Borough Council in April 2001.
Just as the preparation of the Jenkintown Revitalization Plan involved an extensive public involvement program, including a series of public workshops, community meetings and task force meetings, this project will continue that approach. It has been and will continue to be central to the success of our program, from the preparation of a new redevelopment plan to traffic and parking issues; all will involve a significant community outreach program.
C. Efforts to Date:
In late 1999, Borough residents set about to address these issues. They organized and funded a Borough-wide visioning process, using an inclusive participatory model and the resources of the PA Downtown Center. In all, more than 600 different residents1 have participated in this process, with public workshop attendance over the past three years averaging more than 125 people.
This process led to the creation of a PA-DCED Main Street Program, under a 501(c) (3), Jenkintown’s Community Alliance (JCA). Building on this community process, Borough Council approved a revitalization planning process in line with Montgomery County’s revitalization program. As referred to above, a consulting team was hired to do this work, leveraging substantial volunteer efforts by JCA. The team consisted of architectural and land planners, economic development and traffic consultants, overseen by a 15-member Council-mandated Revitalization Committee. Last year, the Borough adopted this substantial revitalization plan,2 which we are now implementing.
We consider our first major step toward revitalization to be our new Town Square, designed in part to refocus the main business district away from Old York Road’s highway problems. Acquired with the assistance of Montgomery County’s green space program, the Borough spent more than $400,000 of its own money to turn a rundown store into a town square, complete with gazebo. This space has hosted jazz festivals and other events since its completion, drawing thousands into the Borough. We included parking in the design in order to maintain the then-current supply.
Since adoption of the Plan, the Borough won grants for about $250,000 from CDBG and County Revitalization for redoing the streetscape on the area surrounding the Town Square, on West Avenue and Leedom Street. The intent is to continue the refocusing of the central business district, and to provide a platform for continued revitalization of retail and office development.
On the parking and transportation side, we have changed parking meter costs and hours, and hired enforcement personnel to increase the turnover and to prevent all-day parkers from dominating needed short-term parking supplies. This has been tremendously successful. We have also begun to address the cut-through speeding issues through traffic calming measures. On Walnut Street, for instance, we painted parking lanes and a center yellow line to reduce drivers’ perception of the width of the street; while recent, all reports from neighbors are excitedly positive.
II.SCOPE OF SERVICES
Proposed Project, Results & Deliverables
The proposed project approach is to address the Borough as a whole from a revitalization viewpoint, with a strong focus on the allied transportation issues. The Borough wishes to address four main goals: 1) take the next step on the opportunity identified in the Revitalization Plan for new construction of office space (and additional retail) at several sites; 2) address related transportation infrastructure issues, focusing on parking and traffic flow issues related to these office and central business district retail opportunities; 3) redress the lack of linkages to the regional transportation network in a way that will enhance our overall revitalization efforts; and 4) modernize our zoning code to ensure that we are encouraging appropriate revitalization and discouraging those changes that do not mesh with out revitalization (including transportation) goals.
The Borough will use the TCDI grant to implement next stage studies of specific issues named in the Revitalization Plan and addressed above. We will engage the services of a development consultant (in conjunction with the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority, the Montgomery County Planning Commission, interested private sector developers, lenders and public sector agencies) to assess the potential for office and other development at the identified sites, using real numbers, values and potential private sector partners, and to proceed to make plans for specific development projects.
Our intent is to use the available resources to get as far along toward our goals as possible. Flexibility in detailing and managing the work will therefore be required from our consultants.
The deliverable will be a redevelopment plan in line with the requirements of the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority. This plan, once adopted by Council, will enable the Borough to contract with the Authority to assemble parcels and manage the specific development process. Items likely to be addressed in that Plan may include:
The Southern Gateway Parcel
The Hiway Theater Block, both sides of Old York Road
A Blight Study of the Southern Gateway, and
Other potential areas for redevelopment as determined
The Borough through a team of architects, planners and engineers will also seek to determine solutions to the parking, transportation and traffic flow problems. This is likely to include a specific examination of the potential for a multi-level parking structure off of Old York Road as detailed in our Revitalization Plan. This project would provide a critical foundation for our proposed development – as well as make up the current substantial parking shortfalls. The consultant will also address traffic flow and shared parking to allow for easier commingling between vehicular traffic and pedestrian traffic.
The deliverable will likely be a plan which provides:
Full cost-benefit analysis and planning (including sources of funds) for a feasible multi-story parking structure and other solutions to address the parking issues noted above;
Recommended traffic flow issues for the central business district;
Recommended plan for organizing the diffused (“Balkanized”) parking lots in the Borough to leverage current parking assets more efficiently;
Specific easily implementable and effective suggestions on traffic calming for residential streets; and
Integrate new parking into way finding sign system.
Separately, the consultant would provide guidance on linking the Borough to the regional transportation network, particularly regional rail line (the two train stations) and bus network. We will also be seeking further direction on encouraging bicycle and other more nontraditional transportation usage in this area. Directional and gateway signage will be major focus points for the TCDI grant, for linkage to transportation, to better direct vehicular and pedestrian traffic throughout the Borough, and to create more recognizable entry points to the Borough, perhaps building from a Town Square center point.
The deliverable will be specific signage and other feasible hard and soft asset recommendations to leverage more effectively the proximity of the train stations and other transportation infrastructure.
Provide orientation kiosks at key train and bus stops. These will feature maps directing riders uptown.
Provide way-finding signs along these paths of travel.
Provide a plan for a jitney bus service to consolidate private and public service into a unified service with SEPTA’s Jenkintown station and uptown as hubs.
Provide parking wayfinding signs from route 611 to public parking lots.
Provide Gateway Elements at the North and South ends of Old York Road.
Reconfigure the taxi and bus pick-up area on the outbound side of Jenkintown Station. Incorporate the Gateway Element.
Finally, Borough Council would like to update and improve the Borough code. Specifically, Council needs desperately to update the code to make it more in line with Borough goals as outlined in the Revitalization Plan, such as community design standards, and making the code friendlier to traffic calming, parking issues, and signage.
The deliverable is likely to be a series of amendments to the current Code, or if more efficient, new replacement sections of the Code. It is reasonable to expect that the Borough may desire to include in the project team current legal and planning advisor in this work, and that the scope may be adjusted to the funding available.
Replace the archaic A, B, C, D Zoning designations with the industry standard.
Revisit the sign code to provide a greater scope of allowable signs and lighting methods. Link sign types to portions of town and activity in a logical method. Clearly define what is banned.
Add sections concerning satellite dishes.
Add a section concerning cell phone towers.
Add a section guiding the installation and screening of air conditioning equipment and grilles in regard to facades and street visibility.
Refine the Design Guidelines into a form that can be added or referenced by code.
Review Building Maintenance portions and stiffen the regulation.
III.Qualifications and Evaluation Criteria
The Jenkintown Oversight Committee will be responsible for evaluating and selecting the consultant(s).
Negotiations and award of the contract will be to the firm or firms that provide the most advantageous proposal, all things considered, including prices and costs. The Committee reserves the right to reject any and all proposals.
Criteria have been established to guide the evaluation of each consultant’s proposal. The top-ranked firms with the highest numerical scores after evaluation may be asked to make oral presentations to the selection Committee. The oral presentations will also be evaluated on the basis of the following criteria. It is expected that the firm’s proposed project manager would take part in any oral presentations. The criteria will be evaluated according to a weighting system with those areas of expertise considered most important given the most weight in the selection process. The criteria are as follows:
1. Qualifications and Experience of Project Staff: (Weight 25%)
The name and address of clients for whom similar work has been performed by the firm and principal members of the team. To include a concise description of past experience. Examples must be provided.
A description of the project team, including an organizational chart and resumes of the professional staff. This will include a certification that said persons will be available and assigned to the project.
A description of experience in multiple realms of planning (such as a combination of brownfield remediation, and redevelopment, community involvement, economic development, and the like).
A description of past experience working with a broad and diverse range of groups, facilitative management, and consensus building throughout the planning process.
A detailed description of the role of any subcontractor to include examples of past work and professional certifications.
2. Technical Approach: (Weight 40%)
The proposal should contain a detailed work plan based upon the project scope as defined herein. The work plan should include special data needs, methods of analysis, presentation and communication, critical project milestones, end products, and special procedures. In particular, the Committee is looking for a realistic work plan that will be accomplished within a reasonable time frame at a reasonable cost.
3. Application of Creativity and Innovation: (Weight 20%)
Consultants should feel free to develop alternative approaches to completing this project. Consultants may also suggest ways of enhancing specific elements of the project.
Demonstrated High Interpersonal Skills: (weight 15%)
This project will require the consultant to work closely with local government officials, the local business community, and the public. The quality of written, oral, and graphic communication skills will be considered.
IV.Project Time Frame
The project should be completed and all of the results submitted to the Jenkintown Oversight Committee prior to the schedule below from the date of the execution of the contract with the consultant. This schedule will be adjusted with the consultant in order to meet the client’s goal of
Redevelopment Plan(s) & Blight Certification(s)
Parking Plan 12-18-months
Transportation Plan 6-month
Code Modification 18-months
V.Procedures / Coordination and Review
Jenkintown Oversight Committee is responsible for selecting qualified consultants, facilitating the program process and review, and determining the allocation of resources.
The consultant should expect to work closely with the Oversight Committee, Borough Council and Administration, the Executive Director of the JCA, the JCA Design Task Force, JCA Parking Task Force, Jenkintown Zoning Advisor and solicitor, and representatives of the Montgomery County Redevelopment Authority. .The consultant will attend two public meetings per subject matter. The JCA role in the process will be to secure the bulk of public participation and support.
Consultants are required to work with community organizations for public input and recommend methods of involving the public in the design process.
At a minimum, consultants are expected to recommend a strategy for community involvement, such as actively participating in the following meetings:
The consultant will attend monthly meetings with the Oversight Committee for each project: Redevelopment plan, Parking Plan, Transportation package and Code Modifications.
Prior to printing the finished document all text and graphics will be reviewed and approved by the Jenkintown Oversight Committee. At a minimum, the following documentation for each project must be submitted:
Fifteen (15) Black and White copies and electronic file of the draft work papers in progress will be presented to the Jenkintown Oversight Committee for review. These will be distributed to parties involved in the respective plans. Drafts are to include all relevant graphics and text. In addition, copies of all draft documents must be made available for public review at both Jenkintown Borough Hall and Jenkintown Public Library during normal business hours.
A set of full size graphics to display information for public presentations including any that may be included within the Redevelopment Plan, Parking Plan and Way Finding Sign Package will be required.
Fifteen (15) copies and electronic files of the Redevelopment Plan, Parking plan, Way Finding Sign Package and Code Revisions for distribution to the Jenkintown Oversight Committee, elected and appointed officials of Jenkintown, County and other select individuals will be required. Display graphics will be reduced and incorporated within the Plan where appropriate. The Redevelopment & Parking Plans and Sign Package will be printed in a two-color format.
Two Hundred (200) copies and electronic files of the executive summary will be required. The summary will be in (full color) format. This will include elements of the Redevelopment Plan, Parking plan and Sign Package The intent of the executive summary is to generate public interest and excitement in the Plan as well as to educate the public. Accordingly, the executive summary should contain graphics and text necessary to achieve this goal.
All original reports, drawings, and layouts shall become property of the Jenkintown Borough for use in the future and to reproduce as needed. A copy of the completed Plan will be submitted to the Borough on computer diskette in Microsoft Word format.
VIII. Directions for Submission All materials for this RFP are to be submitted to the following address by no later than January 5, 2004 at 4:00 PM to Jenkintown Borough Hall. . Proposals received after this date will not receive consideration. Any and all costs of developing the proposal are entirely the responsibility of the applicant.
Bidders are required to attend a prebid meeting to be held at Borough Hall onMonday December 1st, 2003, 7:00 PM, Jenkintown Borough Hall hosted by the Jenkintown Planning Commission. Please prepare all your questions for presentation at this meeting.
Bidders are directed to use the attached proposal and submit a separate price for each subject in this request for proposal.
Submit ten (10) copies of the proposal to the following:
Michael Golden, Councilman
c/o Jenkintown Borough
700 Summit Ave.
Jenkintown, PA 19046
Email email@example.com This Request for Proposal is not subject to the competitive bidding process - and any contract entered into as a result of any proposal will not be based on the concept of the “lowest responsible bidder”. The Borough of Jenkintown reserves the right to reject any and all proposals that may be submitted.
Soliciting proposals and granting exclusive negotiation rights does not commit The Borough of Jenkintown to accept any terms of said proposal. Final terms of any agreement will be determined by direct negotiation and all agreements are subject to the approval of the governing body of the Borough. Negotiations may be suspended or terminated at any time that it is determined that additional negotiation would be unproductive.
Submission of a proposal constitutes express acceptance by the Proponent of all provisions of the Request for Proposal.
1 Keep in mind that Jenkintown has only 4400 total residents, including children!
2 This plan, while too long to include as an exhibit, is available in pdf format at www.jenkintown.com. If you have trouble finding this document, please contact Meghan O’Brien at Jenkintown Borough.