McCormick Taylor Cyclists Talk Bike Safety for National Bike Month

Erika Morgan Philadelphia, PA

For Erika, biking is freedom.

“From commuting to work to cruising along trails and running errands, every ride is an adventure,” says Erika. “Each pedal connects you to yourself and your surroundings, giving you a new perspective on life.”

While cycling can be exhilarating, the lack of proper bike infrastructure and dangerous driver behavior can create deadly situations for cyclists.

“One day, I’d like to see bike highways, which are bike lanes fully separated from cars, connecting cities and towns across America.”


Russell Ewing | Baltimore, MD

Biking in the morning gives Russell a jolt of energy that not even the strongest of coffee can produce. Commuting to work via bike allows him to get fresh air and exercise every day, even if it is for just 20 minutes.

“I would say the primary challenge to cycling in Baltimore is the lacking infrastructure,” says Russell. “There have been some recent gains but there is nearly constant resistance to even minor facilities such as bike lanes or bike racks, which don’t reduce parking space or traffic capacity.”

Russell’s suggestions for infrastructure improvements to increase safety include: bike lanes that are separated from lanes of traffic (not just painted lanes on the side of a street), preventative, not punitive, traffic control measures such as traffic calming structures and re-timed light cycles, and public outreach, education, and share-the-road initiatives.

Data has shown that more people bike when there is dedicated bike infrastructure. Baltimore has wide streets, which cars take advantage of by speeding, but those streets are a great opportunity for added bike infrastructure with minimal impact to car traffic.

Russell suggests that those in the Baltimore area follow and support the work of Bikemore, the city’s bicycle advocacy group. They are fighting for a less car-centric Baltimore, which includes improvements for pedestrians and public transportation, as well as bicycle infrastructure.


Rob Hopkins | Verona, VA

Rob considers himself an environmentally aware citizen and he wants to do anything and everything in his power to drive us toward a more sustainable and eco-friendly future.

Having biked across the country from Virginia to Oregon, he’s seen plenty of instances where safety can be improved. Cell phones and other forms of distracted driving rank number one for Rob. On his journey, he passed another cyclist and later learned that she was killed by a driver who was texting.

Rob believes drivers need to be better educated on the laws surrounding cycling. Bikes are considered vehicles on the road, but cars don’t often give three feet of space when passing. Ensuring all roads have enough space for both modes of transportation to share the road will help reduce accidents.

“There are also never enough shoulders on roadways,” says Rob. “I’ve always wondered why all roads weren’t designed with an appropriate shoulder to provide an adequate buffer between bikes and cars.”


Aaron Bertoldi | Baltimore, MD

Biking to work in Baltimore means Aaron gets to avoid paying for parking and can get in and out of the city with ease, as opposed to sitting in traffic downtown. He usually parks his car in a free parking area outside of the city and pedals in.

Last year, our Baltimore office was named a Bronze-level Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) by the League of American Bicyclists. This distinction recognizes our efforts to “encourage a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers, and the community.” There are plenty of amenities at or near our office, such as bike parking, showers, and bike share.

Aaron says that the biggest hazard he faces comes from pedestrians, who may be looking at their phone while crossing the street or might step out into an area other than the designated crosswalk.


Nate Lehigh | Baltimore, MD

Nate finds biking to work to be less stressful than driving and sitting in traffic. Having the wind in his face gives him a feeling a freedom and is reminiscent of his childhood. His bike commute is fairly simple and is mostly along dedicated bike paths around Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

“Pot holes and the poor quality of roads are big challenges,” says Nate, “but they’re nothing compared to drivers not paying attention to bikers. Having dedicated bike lanes along major thoroughfares would improve safety the most.”


Bart Gibson | Verona, VA

Our Verona office is only 10 miles from Bart’s home, so he’s able to get plenty of exercise during his commute. Working in the middle of the Shenandoah Beerwerks Trail also gives him the opportunity to take in the natural beauty of the area and connect with other cyclists.

“The only real challenges are the old, rough back roads and the 500-foot elevation difference between home and work,” says Bart. “Plus, all the young boys out here have diesel trucks and like to downshift next to you.”

There is a strong road and mountain biking community in the Shenandoah Valley, where our office is located, with events such as 25-30 mile no-drop rides, all-ladies rides, and 20-30 mile keep up or drop rides.

Welcome Jim Prisk, PE to our Pittsburgh Office

We’re pleased to announce that Jim Prisk has joined our team in Pittsburgh.

As senior manager, transportation engineering, Jim will assist with general business planning and development, manage transportation engineering design projects and tasks, oversee engineering and environmental staff, and perform project QA/QC.

Jim has nearly 30 years of experience managing all planning and operational aspects of an engineering business. He has managed the delivery of a wide range of engineering and environmental projects for clients such as PennDOT, PTC, West Virginia Division of Highways, and local municipalities and county governments.

“We are happy to have Jim as part of the McCormick Taylor family,” said John Petulla, senior manager, transportation engineering. “Jim brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships to complement our western Pennsylvania management and engineering team.”

A strong leader with extensive planning and management experience, Jim comes to us from a transportation engineering consulting firm, where he was the chief operating officer responsible for overseeing all planning and business development efforts, day-to-day operations, and project management. In this prior capacity, he recently oversaw all planning, design, and construction phases of the U.S. 19 Safety Improvement Project in PennDOT District 12.

Cedar Creek to Milford Project Wins Conservation Award

Kent Conservation District nominated Delmarva Power & Light Company as its Kent County Urban Award winner for the 2018 Governor’s Conservation Awards. Presented on May 1 at the Delaware Agricultural Museum, the award recognizes the transmission line project from Cedar Creek to Milford.

The Cedar Creek to Milford 230 kV Transmission Line Rebuild consists of rebuilding a 43-mile circuit owned and operated by Delmarva Power & Light Company (DPL) and located within New Castle, Kent, and Sussex Counties, DE. The project is located within an existing transmission right-of-way (ROW) between the DPL Cedar Creek Substation in Middletown, DE and Milford Substation in Milford, DE. This is a DPL capital improvement project required to meet the current and future demands for electric service. As a transmission owner, DPL is responsible to plan and operate the transmission system in accordance with standards set forth by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), and PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM). The existing line configuration includes a 230kV Transmission Line on wooden H-frame structures with infrastructure that is more than 50 years old, including poles, wires and equipment that have reached their useful service life. DPL replaced the existing H-frame configuration with new conductor and hardware on new steel monopole structures within the existing Project ROW. The existing wooden H-frame structures will be removed.

McCormick Taylor served as the primary environmental consultant to DPL. Prior to permit submittal and the initiation of construction activities, McCormick Taylor performed preliminary archeological and architectural fieldwork, raptor nest surveys, wetland delineation, and access corridor analysis. McCormick Taylor identified 33 Phase II sites, two Enhanced Phase II sites, and recovered 12,102 artifacts during our cultural investigations to satisfy Section 106 of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) permit. Forty-three total raptor nests were observed along the existing project ROW during our field surveys, which required consultation with the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC), time-of-year restrictions, and buffer requirements. All preconstruction information and fieldwork was integral to the procurement agency permits which needed to be approved prior to the initiation of construction activities.

After receiving approvals from USACE, DNREC, and Conservation Districts, McCormick Taylor provided daily onsite environmental monitoring consultation to ensure compliance with permit conditions. Environmental monitors were responsible for flagging all wetland and stream channels along the project corridor to help the contractor identify resource areas. The monitors’ main responsibility was to review the approved design plans and monitor construction activities relevant to environmental permit requirements, environmental regulations, and commitments. The Cedar Creek to Milford Transmission Line Rebuild Project is tentatively scheduled for completion in June 2018.

Click here to learn more. 

McCormick Taylor Participates in Earth Day Celebration at Jackson Creek Elementary

On Wednesday, April 18, McCormick Taylor participated in Jackson Creek Elementary School’s Earth Day Celebration! We collaborated with LS3P, the lead architect for the Columbia, SC school, to prepare two educational signs that were installed at a rain garden and bioswale that we designed.

Jackson Creek is a new school that opened last August. McCormick Taylor was on LS3P’s team to provide innovative stormwater BMP solutions and native planting plans for the entire site, specifically the stormwater BMPs. The school is located in an environmentally sensitive area and within the headwaters of Gills Creek, a watershed that was ravaged by floods in 2015. The local watershed society pushed the school system into embracing an environmentally conscious design, which resulted in a stormwater green infrastructure approach.

Jason Hetrick of our Columbia office provided an instructional demonstration to the school’s fourth graders, as well. After discussing what stormwater is and how these green stormwater facilities function, they moved outside for more demonstrations and installation of the signs.


Angela Schreffler Receives John H. McCormick Educational Outreach Award

Angela Schreffler, PWS, CE

We’re proud to announce that Angela Schreffler, PWS, CE has received the John H. McCormick Education Outreach Award presented by the Central Pennsylvania Engineer’s Week Council. Nominated by WTS Central PA for her volunteer efforts, she was presented the award at the Council’s banquet on Wednesday, February 21.

Angela, a senior environmental scientist in our Harrisburg office, enjoys science, nature, and transportation, and she delights in sharing her excitement with younger generations. While educational outreach has very little to do with her job, it’s still something that she is passionate about. Her favorite part of volunteering is watching the kids’ disbelief change to excitement when they witness and understand how science makes the world work. Being a female in an industry that is dominated by men, she especially loves introducing girls to STEM topics and helping them realize their full potential as future leaders.

She has been active in a variety of roles since she became a member of WTS in 2008. In addition to the opportunities WTS has offered her, she is a Girl Scout troop leader, volunteers as a judge at local science fairs and her local Junior Achievement program, and she visits her children’s school to do in-classroom science activities once or twice a year. Most of the organizations she volunteers for typically involve at least one of her own four kids, so it’s another way for her to make fun memories with her family.

Encouragement, exposure, and mentoring seem to be the most influential factors for girls to choose STEM fields in college and their careers,” Angela said. “WTS is the perfect organization to mentor our future transportation leaders.”

Angela serves as WTS Central PA’s new Scholarship Chair and will continue to volunteer on the Transportation YOU committee, for which she was co-chair from 2014-2017. Transportation YOU is a hands-on, interactive, mentoring program that offers young girls an introduction to a wide variety of transportation careers. Their chapter offers several different types of programs, including classroom visits, donating books to local schools that feature girls in STEM fields, running an activity booth during Engineers Week at a local science center, and a monthly program with the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania.

Jeannette Quirus to Present at 2017 Penn State TESC

Jeannette Quirus, PE, PTOE

Join us at the 2017 Penn State Transportation Engineering and Safety Conference!

On Friday, December 8, Jeannette Quirus, PE, PTOE will be discussing the Basin Street Low-Cost Safety Improvement Project during the “Applying the Highway Safety Manual (HSM) for PennDOT and Low Cost Safety Improvements” session.

McCormick Taylor’s Bryan Hanover, PE, PTOE will serve as the moderator for the session.

Session Description: The session will start with project-specific lessons learned from applying the HSM for two PennDOT projects, including an interchange evaluation in District 8 where the HSM assisted in the preferred alternative; and an urban roadway study in District 11 to determine B/C ratios for the various improvement options. The remaining speakers will discuss low-cost safety improvements (1) on a local roadway in District 5, which constructed low-cost safety improvements with results from preliminary before/after crash data; and (2) at Maryland toll plazas, focusing on pavement marking treatment options.

Jeannette Quirus has more than 20 years of experience. She is the manager for McCormick Taylor’s traffic department, managing staff, coordinating traffic workloads, work sharing, and staffing needs. She has extensive experience in project management and a wide range of traffic engineering activities ranging from studies and operations to final design. She is an active volunteer in professional societies, having served in elected positions, including president of MASITE in 2007; president of ITE District 2 in 2010; and member of the board of directors for the Engineer’s Club of Philadelphia from 2010 until 2015. She also served as the program chair for the 2010 Transportation and Engineering Safety Conference held at Penn State. She currently sits on the Montgomery County Transportation Authority, of which she was elected vice chair in 2014. Most recently, Jeannette was appointed to the Whitemarsh Township Authority. She is a licensed PE in eight states, and has her PTOE. She has both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Pittsburgh.

Learn more here:

Donation to SCNPS Helps Protect Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

Rocky Shoals Spider Lily

Through McCormick Taylor’s Charity Committee, Katie Ellis, a water resources designer in our Columbia, SC office, was able to donate funds to the South Carolina Native Plant Society (SCNPS), where she is an active member. SCNPS works with conservation partners to protect special places with rare plants, including a site with Rocky Shoals Spider Lily (Hymenocallis coronaria) in McCormick County, SC.

The Rocky Shoals Spider Lily is a rare plant that inhabits shoals and rapids in piedmont streams. With the donation, the Society was able to put the funds towards restoring and preserving the rare Rocky Shoals Spider Lily.

Click here to learn more about this project.

The formation of McCormick Taylor’s Charity Committee was announced in 2017. This group is charged with reviewing requests for charitable donations, and allocating funds on behalf of the company.





McCormick Taylor Named a Best Place to Work in PA

McCormick Taylor has been named one of the Best Places to Work in PA for 2017. The awards program, created in 2000, is one of the first statewide programs of its kind in the country. The program is a public/private partnership between Team Pennsylvania Foundation, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, and the Central Penn Business Journal.

This survey and awards program was designed to identify, recognize and honor the best places of employment in Pennsylvania, who are benefiting the state’s economy and its workforce. Employers are categorized based upon the total number of employees they have in the United States, 15 to 99 employees, 100 to 250 employees, or more than 250 employees.

To be considered for participation, companies had to fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

– Be a for-profit or not-for-profit business

– Be a publicly or privately held business

– Have a facility in Pennsylvania

– Have at least 15 employees working in Pennsylvania

– Be in business a minimum of one year

Companies from across the state entered the two-part process to determine the 100 Best Places to Work in PA. The first part of this process was evaluating each nominated company’s workplace policies, practices, philosophies, systems and demographics. This part of the process was worth approximately 25% of the total evaluation. The second part consisted of an employee survey to measure the employee experience. This part of the process was worth approximately 75% of the total evaluation. The combined scores determined the top companies and the final ranking. Best Companies Group managed the overall registration and survey process.

McCormick Taylor will be recognized at the Best Places to Work in PA awards banquet on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at the Lancaster County Convention Center in Lancaster, PA. Rankings will be revealed at the ceremony.

ACECNJ Names 14 McCormick Taylor Employees to Multiple Committee Rosters

Vittorio Anepete, PE – Young Professionals, Steering Committee Member

Kevin Boulden, PE – South Jersey Transportation Authority, Committee Member

Anthony DiMaggio, PE, PTOE – South Jersey Transportation Authority, Chairman; NJDOT Design, Steering Committee Member

Eric Ditchey, PE – Legislative & Policy, Committee Member

Jim DiVietro – Environmental Site Remediation & LSRP, Steering Committee Member

Regina Majercak, PE – Membership, Chair

Walter Marks – Environment – Land Use & Permitting, Steering Committee Member

Tim McGuire – Public Utilities, Committee Member

Mark Moschella, PE – Alternative Delivery Method (ADM), Committee Member

John Mullen, AICP, PP – Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission, Committee Member

Amer Nazha, PE – Environment – Water & Waste Water, Steering Committee Member

Jim Vena, PE, CME – Program, Committee Member

David Verdia – Awards, Committee Member

Alexis Williams, AICP, PP – Public Relations, Steering Committee Member





McCormick Taylor Completes SAV Survey to Support Environmental Mitigation

McCormick Taylor’s Mount Laurel, NJ office is performing a Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Survey in Barnegat Bay for the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT) Route 35 Mileposts 0-4 Restoration Project, which was constructed under emergency conditions in response to Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The SAV Survey occurs in a portion of Barnegat Bay located in Seaside Park, NJ.

SAV includes certain plant species that exist in permanently submerged water areas. Both the plants and their submerged habitat are ecologically valuable since they provide shelter for a variety of aquatic life, including essential fish spawning and nursery habitat. Common SAV in this portion of Barnegat Bay are eelgrass and widgeon grass. SAV and associated habitat are regulated by the US Army Corps of Engineers and the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP), with mitigation typically required for adverse impacts.

The Route 35 project included the construction of five new stormwater pump stations with outfalls discharging into Barnegat Bay. During initial operation of the pumps, unanticipated scour occurred just beyond the outfall discharge pipes and the scoured sediments were re-deposited on the floor of the bay adjacent to the outfalls. These open water areas (below the mean low water line) are regulated SAV habitat. Marine mattress was installed at each outfall to prevent further scour issues, which caused permanent impacts to regulated SAV habitat. However, the extent of impacts due to the redeposited sediments was not immediately known. It was also not known if SAV was in fact present in adjacent open waters prior to the emergency reconstruction.

Widgeon Grass

McCormick Taylor conducted a sediment survey in 2015/2016 to determine the approximate extent of re-deposited sediments on the bay floor. At each pump station outfall, it was determined that the re-deposited sediments formed a fluvial (fan-like) pattern, similar to a diamond-shaped polygon, which covered a relatively large open water area. For permitting purposes, these polygons were considered as the “worst-case” scenario of impacts to SAV habitat, and may have overestimated the SAV habitat truly impacted.

To determine the true extent of SAV impacts, and thus refine agency mitigation requirements for SAV, NJDOT requested that McCormick Taylor conduct an SAV survey at Pump Stations 1-5 to determine the presence/absence of regulated SAV species, including the relative density and approximate boundaries of SAV that might be present. The 2017 SAV Survey began in late July and is expected to be completed in mid-August. The SAV Survey will be repeated in the summer of 2018 to compare SAV areal distribution and growth density.

At each pump station, McCormick Taylor and subconsultant KMA visually created an SAV study area on the surface of Barnegat Bay by placing orange buoys at the corner coordinates of the “worst case” diamond polygon and stringing high visibility yellow nylon rope between the buoys and the outfall structure, thus visually defining the study area limits on the water surface.

To perform a methodical and repeatable study, transect lines were established perpendicular to the shore at 15-foot intervals, with SAV sampling stations located at each interval along each transect. This provides approximately 150 sampling points at the typical pump station, with one pump station containing almost 400 sampling points. Each sampling station was assigned an alphanumeric identifier. McCormick Taylor and KMA waded into the water to each sampling station, where KMA placed a prism rod and obtained a coordinate, while McCormick Taylor dove underwater and visually examined the bay floor. Underwater and representative above-water plant samples were photographed to confirm SAV species encountered. McCormick Taylor created data sheets to record various data at each sampling station.

Upon completion of work at each pump station, all buoys and rope were removed from the water and reused at the next pump station. The data will be plotted and analyzed, followed by report preparation. Based on preliminary findings, there is substantial growth of widgeon grass in many areas where scoured sediments were re-deposited, which is favorable to the NJDOT because potential mitigation obligations will be reduced.