October 10, 2018

Transportation Thursday’s

Featuring: Montco Trail Challenge

 For any of you who read our blog, you know that we did a really fun segment through the Spring/Summer called Trail Tuesday’s.  I visited a new trail in Montgomery County each week and told you all about it.  Well, I just found out that the Montgomery County Planning Commission has been hosting a Montco Trail Challenge the whole time!  I guess we are #twinsies.  Anyway, I thought you would want to hear about it!
It runs from May 5- December 2, and it is a fun way to get out and get moving!  I know I am telling you about this after the summer is long gone, however, fall is an excellent time to be going out to the trails for a nice hike!  Plus, it must be asked, is summer actually over?  I mean, it’s 82 degrees right now.  I think it might be the Universe’s way of telling you to get some friends together and hit the trails people!
The challenge is this. 
See how many trails you can visit by December 2.  Register online at, or pick up a trail challenge card at any of these locations. Green Lane Park, Lorimer Park, Norristown Farm Park, Central Perkiomen, and Lower Perkiomen Valley Park also has drop boxes where you can submit your cards to receive your recognitions. 
Plan your visit. 
Record the unique symbol located at each trail. 
Return your card or submit online.

      That’s it!

       There are Achievement Levels for bragging rights at the end: Explore=5 Trails, Adventurer = 10 trails, and Trailblazer = 15 trails.  Here is what is new this year:

      Register and walk with your dog!

      After receiving pictures and stories of dogs participating in the Montco Trail Challenge, this year’s Challenge officially has dog registration available. Your furry friend will receive a Get Out and Go bandana for their participation!

      Larger, more colorful trail symbols

      New trail markers will be found at each major trail head. The symbols are six inch, white PVC squares with a colorful animal shape in the center. 

      Explore the Schuylkill River Tow Path!

      The Schuylkill River Tow Path offers beautiful views of the canal, river and wildflowers over the course of its 2.3 miles of stabilized dirt, gravel, and asphalt trail. The Tow Path can be accessed by the Schuylkill River Trail at Upper Schuylkill Valley Park and the Lock 60 Schuylkill Canal Park.


      Last year more than 1,500 people participated in the Trail Challenge. Think about ways you can engage local hiking groups, scout troops, and co-workers!


      Use social media to post your pictures, recognitions, and encourage your friends to participate. The county's Twitter feed and Facebook page will be looking to share your accomplishments. Use the hashtag #MontcoTrailChallenge when you post!

      Here are the trails you can visit:


      Audubon Loop

      Chester Valley

      Cynwyd Heritage

      Green Lane Park System

      Norristown Farm Park System




      Schuylkill River

      Schuylkill River Tow Path


      Wissahickon Green Ribbon

      I am a little bummed because I think I visited at least a few of these trails, but I didn’t know about the challenge so I didn’t record the symbols!  You win some, you lose some.   And it’s a shame, because there are few things I love more in life than a challenge.

      For more info don’t forget to check out  And if you do the challenge, email me and let me know!


      By: Tiffany Marrero












      September 27, 2018

      Transit Thursday’s

      Featuring: Staying Safe on SEPTA

      I don’t think I will soon forget where I was when I saw the news article flash on my screen.  I was sitting in my room, with my children who are 15 and 11, just one room over playing a video game together.  I had just taken a ride on SEPTA for a blog article, and I was looking forward to hopping on the train again soon with the kids to take them ice skating down at Blue Cross River Rink this winter.  Then I saw it.  “ Boy, 7 killed on SEPTA tracks in Philadelphia”.  My heart stopped.  Something like this should never happen. 

      Every 3 hours a person or vehicle is hit by a train.  I am not telling you this to scare you.  I am telling you this to inform you.  Some things are out of our control.  Like the hurricane we just saw tear through the Carolinas.  However, people were advised to take certain precautions to keep them out of harm’s way.  And the same goes for our safety while on any type of transportation.  There are things we can do to keep ourselves and our children safe. 

      Here are some tips from SEPTA to keep in mind while riding public transportation:

      1.      ALWAYS hold onto your children’s hand when waiting for transit services.

      2.      Don’t let your children wander- transit areas are busy places.

      3.      If you’re standing while you ride, HOLD ON TIGHT to the poles or seat rails.

      4.      Watch your step closely and make sure you have a firm footing when getting on or off.

      5.      Read posted emergency evacuation instructions so you’ll know what to do in the event of an emergency.  STAY ALERT for instructions from the Conductor or authorized personnel.

      6.      Stay BEHIND the yellow line on the station platform, until the train has come to a complete stop.

      7.      Be alert for Express trains- don’t assume every train is stopping at your station.

      8.      ALWAYS be aware of the gap between the train and station platform.

      9.      DON’T pass between the cars when the train is moving- WAIT until you arrive at the station and use the platform to switch cars. 

      10.   DON’T lean against the doors.

      11.   NEVER cross the tracks.  ALWAYS use the dedicated overpass or underpass to safely cross to the other side of the station.

      12.   Walking along the track right-of-way or crossing the tracks is TRESPASSING.  It can prove to be a FATAL mistake.

      13.   NEVER attempt to board or exit a moving train -avoid the risk of serious injury and WAIT for the next train. 

      14.   DON’T hold the doors open and always make certain your bags and clothing are clear of closing doors. 

      Riding the train or the bus is supposed to be a fun and safe way to travel, and it is.  But just like with everything in life, we need to be alert to the dangers involved and committed to practicing safe travel tips to keep ourselves, our children and those around us out of harm’s way.  If you think your school could benefit from Travel Training and Safety classes, please don’t hesitate to contact us.





      By: Tiffany Marrero










      September 20, 2018

      Transit Thursday’s

      Featuring: Lansdale Transit Oriented Development

      As part of our newest blog series, we are going to feature the local borough and townships transit oriented developments.  I had the pleasure of visiting the relatively new Lansdale Municipal Complex, located at One Vine Street, this week.  The beautiful new building features easily accessible resident services, police station, artifacts and historical photographs, as well as a public meeting space.  I met there with John Ernst, Borough Manager, and Tracy Flynn, Communications Coordinator.  I wanted to find out more about the upcoming projects, under construction and in development, going on in the Borough.  Here is what’s happening:




      Madison Parking Lot  - The redevelopment of the Madison Parking Lot is going to include 175 luxury apartments, 100 public parking spaces and a connection to the multi-community Liberty Bell Trail.  Already under construction, this will also featuring a widening of Madison Street to create a public plaza as well as an additional 17,500 square feet of commercial/retail space






      Walnut Crossing -  In development is the transformation of a former church building into approximately 141 high end apartments that will feature amenities such as a pool, dog park, bike shop and storage units.  There will also be 2 level parking, above ground and below ground.  The building will feature green-friendly elements such as solar panels to make the complex sustainable.   

      Liberty Bell Trail – Previously mentioned, the Liberty Bell Trail is currently under construction in the Lansdale Borough.  This trail is meant to connect multiple communities in the southeastern PA area.  Within Lansdale, this ten foot wide trail start at the entrance of Andale Green on Hancock Street and continue roughly 1/3 of a mile.   This project is in the early development phase, but is expected to commence in the near future.

      Lansdale Skate Park – This new Skate Park will be located at Fourth Street Park, and currently they are looking for a professional skate park design consultant to initiate this project.

      Already Completed:

      SEPTA Parking Garage – 305 spaces were added to the new garage at the Train Station, and currently the parking is FREE until further notice.  A pedestrian overpass provides a direct connection to the Madison Parking Lot.

      North Penn Commons – North Penn Commons is a public center that houses four highly respected non-profit organizations: Advanced Living Communities, Manna on Main Street, NorthPenn YMCA & PEAK Center.  The goal of this collaboration is to focus on the health and well-being of every member of the North Penn Community.  As a side note, if you are a member of the North Penn YMCA, you are able to rent the PTMA’s Bike Share bikes out of that location FREE of charge!  See the front desk of the YMCA for more information.

      A lot of great things are happening in Lansdale, and with so much access to public transportation and apartment living, this is a great place to live for those that enjoy city living in a suburban area.  For a list of events happening in Lansdale, go to      

      If you are a member of the Partnership TMA, we want to feature your town!  Email me at, or, if you are not a member email me as well so I can get you some details on how to become one!  You can also visit to see how we can help your municipality.


      By: Tiffany Marrero












      September 13, 2018


      NEW BLOG!  Transportation Thursday

      Featuring: The SEPTA 132 Bus from Montgomery Mall to Landis in Telford

      If you live in the Montgomeryville, Telford, Souderton, Hatfield or Lansdale area you might be surprised to know that we have a local SEPTA 132 bus that runs through these towns.  It’s an excellent way to get around town to run errands or do some food shopping.  The bus starts out at Montgomery Mall, at the entrance that says Macy’s near the Dick’s Sporting Goods and Sears Automotive.  At first I was confused, thinking it was the actual Macy’s entrance, which is located on the opposite side of the mall.  But there is an entrance on the ground floor that says Macy’s to let you know if you enter the mall through that entrance, you can make your way across the mall to the Macy’s department store.  That is where the bus stop is.


      Once I figured out where the bus stopped, it was so easy to wait on the beautiful benches for my 12:15 bus.  It was a rainy day when I went, so there were not a lot of people waiting.  I used my new Septa Key Card to pay, which was so easy since you just hold it up to the reader and then walk on through.  The bus has 5 stops through the county before landing directly in front of the Landis in Telford.  The first stop is in Montgomeryville, at North Wales Rd & Horsham Rd, near the 7Eleven and Wawa stores.  Next up is the Lansdale Rail Station.  After that it stops at Broad & Market St in Hatfield.  The stop is an easy walk into any part of busy Hatfield.  Up next is Bethlehem Pike & Souderton Rd, near the Wawa and a short walk to the Giant in Souderton.  After that it heads over to Souderton’s Main & Broad’s St, which is also a close walk to any one living in the heart of Souderton.  The final destination is directly in front of the Landis in Telford. 


      This is a great way to utilize public transportation, take a break from driving, and get around town.  Or, if you do not have access to a vehicle, anyone living in close proximity to these stops would easily be able to walk to the bus stop and then get themselves around town.  Please spread the word about this accessible route in our area.  And don’t forget to sign up for your SEPTA Key card if you don’t have one.  Currently, you do have to physically go to a Kiosk to get a card.  The closest one to our area is the Norristown Transportation Center.  You can also still make cash payments for the bus, but you must have exact change.


      I stopped in at Landis and had lunch at their big salad and hot bar.  The food was fresh and I paid about $4.95 for a salad.  They have a cafe area with seating which is a nice feature.  

      If you are 65 or older, the blue and yellow cards are no longer accepted.  But the good news is you can get a no charge Senior SEPTA ID by calling us to set up an appointment.  You can contact us at 215-997-9100, or, email us at  And just as a reminder, Seniors can ride both Regional Rail and Buses absolutely free of charge now! 

      If you use the 132 bus, let me know about it!  Contact me at to tell me what you have used it for and how your trip went.







      By: Tiffany Marrero









      September 5, 2018

      Walking Wednesday

      School is back in session.  Whether we want it or not, homework and schedules and packing lunches are here.  I think the worst part is saying goodbye to my son’s each morning, and wishing they could just stay home and hang out with me.  That is my fantasy world. I am pretty sure if they stayed home they would want to do everything BUT hang out with me.  They love me, but I am just a “mom”.

      My boys have walked to school most of their lives.  We live within 1 mile of the elementary school, so they only offer bussing for the 1 and 2 grades.  Other than that they have been walkers.  When I started working at the PTMA, I was horrified to see the statistics on children pedestrians.  It is so scary.  According to the CDC, in  2015, one in every five children under the age of 15 who were killed in traffic crashes were pedestrians.  

      Considering a lot of our children have to walk to school,which is actually a really healthy way to go, (for the environment AND for the kids), I have some tips from for staying safe this school year.

      Keep these tips in mind when walking with your child to and from school:

      If your child walks to school, let us know!  We can always try to organize a pedestrian or bike and helmet safety session with the Montgomery County school they attend. Or, just send us pictures of your little ones being safe on the roads.  We would love to see it!

      By:Tiffany Marrero










      August 29, 2018


      NEW BLOG!  Walking Wednesday’s

      Featuring: 5 Things to Look Out for while Walking in your Neighborhood

      I spent all summer exploring the trails in Montgomery County and telling you about them.  And I had the best time.  Another way I keep my family exercising (while using my car less), is by walking to places whenever I can.  It’s not always easy in the suburbs, but I think for most of us there is some type of store or event we can walk too from our homes.  We live about ½ mile from our local pool and a gas station with a little store inside, and 1 mile from an ice cream store and pizza shop.  I pretty much always make my kids walk to those places if they want to go.  I worry about having clean air for my grandkids in the future, plus instilling healthy habits in my own children.  They complain sometimes, sure.  But we always have a good time.

       Here are 5 things I have learned to look out for while walking through neighborhoods/sidewalks:

      1.    Broken/Buckled Sidewalks- If you think potholes can be bad in this area, don’t forget the sidewalks crack too.  Frost gets into the tiny cracks in wintertime causing the cracks to expand.  A fun way to look out for this potential danger is to play a game where you have to be the first one to point out a crack and then make sure you jump or step over them.  Bonus points for making a funny face while you do it!

      2.    Dog Poo- While you’re looking down, watch out for this.  Nothing ruins a nice walk more than realizing you stepped in dog poo.  Especially while wearing flip flops.  (Yes, this has happened to me.  Yes, I threw those flip flops directly in the trash.  Thank you Old Navy for $1.00 flip flop sales).

      3.    Low Hanging Branches- While looking down for cracks and poo (pun sort of intended), don’t forget to notice any low hanging branches.  They can scratch your face, get in your eyes, or even cause you to lose balance and fall. 

      4.    Storm Grates- These are especially dangerous if you are riding a bike, but can also be a danger while walking.  You can get your foot caught, twist your ankle, fall down and hit your head.  So, make sure you look out for these while crossing the street.  You do not want to get caught in one and fall in the middle of a trafficked road.

      5.    Cars- You would think this would be obvious, but more pedestrians than you realize get hit by cars, ESPECIALLY children.  Look both ways before you cross the street.  Hold hands with little ones.  Cross at cross walks where possible. 

      Whatever your reason for walking around your neighborhood, be it exercise, keeping our air cleaner by running errands on foot, or just to have fun with your kids or partner just remember to stay alert.  Then you can have a safe and fun time, and you can feel much better eating pizza and ice cream if you walk a couple miles to enjoy it.  (At least, I do!)


      By: Tiffany Marrero













      August 21, 2018

      Trail Tuesday’s

      Bucket List of Trails outside Montgomery County


      I cannot believe summer is almost over and so is my Trail Tuesday’s edition of the blog!  I wanted to do one last entry for you guys and thought I would compile a list of the best trails outside Montgomery County, but close enough for you “weekend warriors” to get too by car, or some are even close enough for a day trip. 

      So here is my list of the top 4 hiking spots near Montgomery County PA:

      1.    1. Bushkill Falls (a.k.a. The Niagara of Pennsylvania)- This amazing hiking destination is located in Buskhill, PA.  It is known for the stunning water falls that are laced throughout the park.  Charles E. Peters first opened Bushkill Falls in 1904 to the public, with a single path and swinging bridge over the head of the main falls.  His family still owns it to this day.  I visited Bushkill Falls several years ago and let me just say I probably took 100 pictures while I was there.  This is not an easy hike.  We went with a baby in tow, in one of those front carriers and let me tell you….I worked up a sweat.  My parents also came with us, and even though they were in good physical shape, it still made me nervous for them to be hiking down on rocks.  You really need to be able to keep your balance.  But it was so worth it to step around the corner to see the beautiful falls.   The parks fees range from $8.50 (for children 4-10) to $16.50 (for an adult weekend/holiday).  There are so many other things to do besides hike. There is a miniature golf course, bird watching, paddle boats, shopping, food, picnic areas, fishing and a playground.  This is a must do for anyone who wants mind blowing scenic views and has extra time to spend utilizing all the other amenities offered.


      2.   Gorge Trail, Watkins Glen State Park- Fingerlakes, NY. This park is definitely far enough that you would need to play to stay for the weekend.  It is roughly 3 ½ hours away from Montgomery County.  According to, Gorge Trail and Indian Trail Loop is a 2.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Watkins Glen, New York that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, camping, and fishing and is best used from May until October.  The reviews let me know it is definitely a moderate terrain, with slips from the wet rocks almost unavoidable at times.  From all of the reviews I have read, everyone says it is totally worth it.  You can camp, fish, hike and bring the kids.  No dogs are allowed in the park.  Vehicle entrance fees are $8.  Check out their website for details about camping and where to stay during your visit:




       Swamp Forest Trail, Lums Pond State Park- Newark, DE.

      This 4 star rated trail is listed as good for all skill levels.  Dogs are allowed but must be on a leash.  Here is a professional review I found about this park:

      "A long but easy hike through the woods around Delaware’s largest freshwater pond. Delaware’s largest freshwater pond, Lums Pond, was created in the early 1800s when St. Georges Creek was impounded to supply water for the locks of the new Chesapeake & Delaware Canal. 

      Today the pond covers 200 acres and is surrounded by oak forests, wetlands, and beaches. Swamp Forest Trail circles the entire pond, following the shoreline and occasionally drifting from the water’s edge into the forest and along the edges of a wooded swamp. Special considerations: Hunting is permitted in the park; check with the park office for season information."

      --David Edwin Lillard, Hiking Maryland & Delaware (Falcon Guides).


      4.   Songbird Trail Loop – Absecon, NJ.  This trail is a 4.6 mile loop, rated moderate, has a number of local hotspots near it, and is kid and dog friendly.  It is close to the beach, mainly used for fishing, hiking, biking, and scenic driving.  Some of the reviews I read stated that it’s best to visit this in fall, winter and early spring, because there are many bugs in the area in the summertime.   There is a lot of wildlife in the park, which makes me want to take my kids there so we can play “Find the Animal” game.  It makes the hike that much more fun! 



      I plan on visiting a few of these parks this fall, and I hope you do too.  If you do, let me know!  I would love to hear about your trip.  You can contact me at:


      By: Tiffany Marrero 





      August 15, 2018


      “This Can Happen To You”

      Sometimes we are too smart for our own good.  I have taught bicycle safety for years.  In fact, I have a certificate from the League of American Bicyclists which hangs on my wall and says I am a certified youth instructor.  But all of that did not prevent me from having my first bicycle accident.

      It was a hot and windless day on the bike path in Nags Head, North Carolina.  We had just finished our shrimp basket lunch at the Pier and were riding home to enjoy a nice nap on the beach.  I was biking along looking straight ahead and worrying about the very large puddles left on the path from the previous evening’s storm.  To make it through the puddles on my old cruiser bike, I was going to have to speed up when I got close to them.  So I was trying to calculate the best time to accelerate to maximize my speed and cut down on the splash that was sure to occur.

      That is when it happened – 2 very large garbage cans just jumped out in front of my bike!  Okay, they really didn’t jump out in front of me, I was just completely unaware of what was happening right in front of me, that I just didn’t see them.  So I hit them, my bike ricocheted off them and I knew I was going to lose control of my bike.

      During that time I had to make a split decision.  Should I try valiantly to regain control of the bike on the sidewalk or steer the bike to the soft grassy shoulder where I knew it would go down?  I chose the grass.  The stoppage was almost immediate.  The bike came down on top of me sending the handlebars into my chest. So while I was a little shaken up and of course, extremely embarrassed, when several people rushed over to see if I was okay, the damage to myself and my bike were minimal. 

      So let me use this accident as a learning lesson for you.  First of all, always wear your helmet.  Even if you are just out and about on a bike path or biking on vacation.  Accidents happen and they can happen to you.  Be aware of your surroundings at all times.  If I was actually in the present and not looking so far ahead, I would have seen those devious garbage cans just waiting to jump out in front of me.   Select the path of least resistance even if it makes you look foolish.  I could have tried to right my bike, but eventually I would have fallen much harder on the sidewalk, scraping my legs and possibly breaking something.  The grassy shoulder was a sure way to stop the bike and I knew the fall there would be much softer.  And always take advantage of a misfortune to learn a lesson and tell a story.  Watch out for garbage cans – they certainly can be shifty!


      By: Peggy Schmidt


















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