2012: Pennsylvania Gets a New Parkway

December 3, 2012

Starting at 2:00 p.m., a newly completed parkway in southeastern Pennsylvania was formally dedicated. The George A. Penglase Memorial Parkway was created as part of a realignment of U.S. Route 202 (US 202), a highway that encompasses 59 miles (95 kilometers) altogether and courses through the western and northern suburbs of Philadelphia.

This parkway covers 8.4 miles (13.5 kilometers) on the section of US 202 between the community of Montgomeryville in Montgomery County and the borough of Doylestown in Bucks County. The parkway was built in large part to help ease traffic congestion in that region of the Keystone State, and it bears the name of a longtime business leader and community activist in Bucks County. George A. Penglase, who died in 2005 at the age of 71, had strongly championed developing a realignment of US 202 that would directly link Montgomeryville with Doylestown. Nearly a year-and-a-half before the parkway was dedicated, the Pennsylvania General Assembly approved a measure naming that new segment in memory of Penglase.

The ribbon-cutting duties for the parkway’s dedication ceremony were handled by Jim Cawley, who was Pennsylvania’s lieutenant governor from 2011 to 2015 and had previously served on the Board of Commissioners of Bucks County.  “This is a great day for Bucks and Montgomery counties,” proclaimed Cawley during the ceremony. “It’s much more than an improved roadway, it’s a model of what can happen when people work together.”

Other public officials attending the parkway’s inaguration included Barry Schoch, who was secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) between 2011 and 2015. Schoch took time during the event to commend his predecessor for his role in finally making the parkway a reality. “I’d like to recognize Allen Biehler, who kept this project alive,” asserted Schoch. “He had the vision and the courage to keep this going.” (Along with serving as PennDOT secretary from 2003 to 2011, Biehler was president of AASHTO in 2008-09.)

Another highlight of those Monday afternoon festivities was a procession of classic automobiles, ranging from 1930s roadsters to a 1980s DMC DeLorean. These motor vehicles were the first to officially travel on that stretch of US 202. The parkway was opened to all motor vehicle traffic that night. Prior to this opening, pedestrians and bicyclists alike had been allowed to travel on the parkway starting in September.

The US 202 Parkway Trail was built alongside the parkway and made its debut at the same time as that route. The US 202 Parkway Trail, likewise measuring 8.4 miles (13.5 kilometers) in length, was developed for those individuals using non-motorized transportation. This paved trail is set apart from the parkway by grassy strips and split-rail fences.  

Photo Credit: Dough4872 (licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en)

For more information on the George A. Penglase Memorial Parkway, please check out the 3 December 2012 Philadelphia Inquirer article “Long-Discussed Route 202 Parkway Opens” at https://www.inquirer.com/philly/news/breaking/20121203_New_Route_202_parkway_opens_today.html

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