PennDOT designates Pennsylvania Byways at the request of the local communities seeking to highlight cultural, historical, recreational, archaeological, scenic and natural qualities. The Pennsylvania Byways program parallels FHWA's National Scenic Byways Program. The Pennsylvania program, however does not use “scenic” in its title, recognizing that many roadways exemplify more than purely scenic qualities. The designation process for PennDOT is intended to be very easy to follow. To the right are the steps involved. PennDOT will work with the local grass roots leaders to learn more about the program as well as provide advice at any point of the process.
The purpose of designating routes is not only to display the qualities in PA, but also to allow communities to take pride of the wonderful hidden treasures and serve as an active role in protection of their resources, while at the same time creating new opportunities along the routes. The benefits of becoming a Byway can be broken down as follows:
1. Seeking Eligiblity- To apply for Federal Funding and National Scenic Byway Designation
Federal Funding- Is available to implement projects on designated routes and to enhance, preserve, and sustain the qualities of the byway. There are 8 categories that the funds can be used for: state programs, corridor management plans, safety improvements, byway facilities, access to recreation, resource protection and acquisition, interpretive information and marketing. Additional information is located, http://www.bywaysonline.org/grants/.
The National Scenic Byway (NSB) Designation is the best of the best and the highest recognition a byway can strive for. This designation is sponsored by FHWA and you must first become a PA Byway. NSB requirements are located at, http://www.bywaysonline.org/nominations/.
2. Local Support- One of the successes in becoming a byway is to seek local support. Local support with the community, businesses, visitor bureaus and local governmental agencies, etc is absolutely crucial. The local support will provide those who have pride and value the route to maintain the qualities and resources, which leads to a successful byways designation.
3. Enhance and Maintain- The visual quality of designated routes is to enhance and maintain the qualities along the designated routes. PA Byway’s program requires the applicant to provide a strategy for maintaining and enhancing the qualities. By providing a strategy is a key element in the PA Byways Program. It provides a mechanism whereby local grass-roots citizens can work together to protect the resources along designated byways. The process also provides a framework for participating in the comprehensive plan for the region’s enhancement possibilities.
4. Promote- After a route has been designated there are several opportunities to promote the byway. Each byway is marketed by PennDOT partnering with the state’s tourism agency, Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED). DCED promotes the states byways at www.visit.pa.com, The Pennsylvania Travel Guide and the Transportation and Tourism Map of Pennsylvania.
5. Recognition & Celebration- the recognition of a route by local organizations and PennDOT, will no doubt, foster local pride in the route and the qualities along it. PennDOT will work with the local byway group to host a dedication ceremony (sign unveiling, ribbon-cutting, etc) issue a press release as well as install byway signs along the designated corridors.