East Penn switches to propane School Bus fleet

I was happy to see that this past spring the East Penn School District (EPSD) contracted with Student Transportation, inc. (STA) STA will be replacing longtime provider First Student. to provide bus service to the district. Replacing the diesel fleet STA will use 77 propane-fueled buses which are more environmentally friendly.

Here is a link to STA’s Facebook page.

Propane is cheaper and cleaner burning than diesel.  It's also produced locally here in PA.

Propane is cheaper and cleaner burning than diesel. It’s also produced locally here in PA.

An alternative to diesel, propane comes from natural gas and petroleum wells. Approximately half of the propane used in the_US comes from raw natural gas. Propane has many environmental benefits primarily due its cleaner burning nature. Propane busses also run much quieter. 

While propane busses get slightly less MPG, propane is just over 2x cheaper with the additional benefit of being produced domestically including a good amount right here in PA. 

When considering school transportation building smart growth walkable neighborhood schools is always best in terms of cost to taxpayers, student safety and fostering a sense of community. But when students must be transported by expensive busses we should strive to be as friendly to our environment as we can be. Today’s local production of natural gas here in PA + the well documented environmental benefits takes an already good decision and makes it a no-brainer.

Propane facts:

  • 24% reduction in Greenhouse Gas
  • 60% Reduction in Co2
  • 90% of propane domestically produced with a large amount right here in PA. (another 7% from our neighbors up north)
  • 40% reduction in cost
  • Positive ROI even without gov’t incentives



Survey: Let East Penn officials know what’s important for new Superintendent.

Let East Penn School District know what characteristics are important to you for new superintendent search. Read more here on patch. The school board asks parents, students, teachers, residents and taxpayers to help shape the search by completing the survey online.


Fill out the survey here

My thoughts:
Surveys like this are hard since there are no listed characteristics that are unimportant. They’re all important characteristics for the districts top admin. But here we have to rank them and I took my best shot.

Section 2 I ranked items like communication with legislature, comprehensive planning, negotiations and finances high. Development has repercussions for schools. In the past we’ve done a good job with strategic planning. Plans should be updated as Lower Mac has continued to deviate from comprehensive planning over the last 3 years. Since the last look at growth, Lower Macungie has changed zoning on nearly 1000 acres of land previously agriculturally protected.

Meanwhile traditionally senior oriented developments without restrictions are slowly changing over. More young couples are moving into these neighborhoods. (ex. Fairways at Brookside) Class size and the projected capital expenditures (new buildings) should be regularly updated. New superintendent needs to continue keeping a pulse on growth.

Negotiations with public unions are huge. New superintendent should be experienced on that front. He or she should have a proven track record to point to.

Communication with legislature I put into top 3 since schools face so many government mandates. Many fundamental issues affecting taxpayers can only be addressed at the state level. Given that here were my top 3:

1. Communication with legislature.
2. Negotiations
3. Comprehensive planning.

Section four I ranked items like class size (since relates to comprehensive planning), Finances, Gov’t mandates, New buildings and increasing student enrollment highest. In section 5 here were my top 3.

1. Class size
2. Finances Budget
3. Increasing student enrollment

What did you think was important? What jumped out at you? What were your top 3 concerns overall? Let’s talk about it in the comments below.

The East Penn School District: Serves the Boroughs of Alburtis, Emmaus and Macungie. Lower Macungie and Upper Milford Township.

What else is going on in Lower Mac?
Tax issue continues to be debated
Santa Claus is coming to town LMT Santa Run schedule
Hamilton Crossings issue 

Essential upgrades for walkable Willow Ln Elementary

Enhanced safety features ensure safe walking routes for students and parents at Willow Lane

Here are some enhanced safety features I think need to be considered before students are permitted to walk to Willow Lane Elementary next year. Here is a link to the walkability study conducted by PA safe routes to school. The study makes dozens of recommendations which in my opinion should be considered the bare minimal acceptable improvements to the 3 designated walking routes. I would like to see the following additional safety features considered by township and district officials in an effort to go above and beyond the bare minimum.

1. Lighted LED crosswalks similar to ones installed on Main. St. in Macungie.

Lights are embedded in the pavement on both sides of the crosswalk and oriented to face oncoming traffic. When the pedestrian activates the system by using a push-button, the lights flash warning motorists that a pedestrian is in the vicinity of the crosswalk ahead. These should be installed where appropriate at the busiest intersections.
Cost: Ranging from 5000-12,000 per system

2. Stalker Boards in conjuction with flashing 15 MPH school zone signage.

Stalker boards are electronic signs that display the speed of motorists as they drive past a point. Completely self contained these units are proven to significantly reduce speeds in school zones. These should be used in conjuction with flashing yellow lights and 15mph zones. (See photo)
Cost: Ranging from 6,000-10,000

3. Raised crosswalk/Pedestrian Medians

At crossing points where guards will not be located on connector roads and interior driveways on district property raised cross walks or pedestrian refuges should be installed as a traffic calming and pedestrian safety device.
Cost: Raised Crosswalk-$2,500-$7,000

To stay informed on upcoming township meetings where walkability is addressed “like” us on facebook! www.facebook.com/friendslmt