Many voices, one letter
From Unionville to Nottingham, southern Chester County is divided into several townships and municipalities, each largely independent of the other, each singularly dedicated to the issues of the towns and neighborhoods they serve. For many of them, their one commonality is relegated to what has been the subject of breakfast coffee chatter, severe criticism, short- and long-term vision, and the poster-child target of innumerable traffic and safety studies that forecast everything from smart growth to surefire doom.
Route 41 is this area's second-most traveled thoroughfare, and for the many who live near it and drive on it and own businesses adjacent to it, the Gap-Newport Pike is the proverbial dinosaur of southern Chester County -- a paved, stubborn relic that lags decades behind the growth and development seen along its trail.
Over the past few decades, there have been several attempts at collating the visions the leaders of these townships have for Route 41 onto a single page, and to a large degree, the annual Transportation Improvements Inventory (TII), solicited by the Chester County Planning Commission that asks each municipality to provide their road project wish list, has been the best example.
It's been proven that the voices of these townships' needs are getting the job done. The 2013 TII contains 441 highway and road projects within the county that will cost an estimated $4.7 billion, and since 2011, 35 TII projects have been completed or advanced to construction.
And yet, Route 41 remains a bottleneck of traffic. Now, the voices of those interested in cleaning up the problems are gathering as one.
In a letter addressed to Senators Dominic Pileggi, Andy Dinniman, and Representatives John Lawrence and Chris Ross, people from five municipalities are collaborating. The signers of the letter - David Connors from the London Grove Township, Stephen Allaband from New Garden Township, Bill Shore from the Avondale Borough Council, Richard Brown from Londonderry Township, and Scudder Stevens from Kennett Township - are to be applauded for pushing their requests forward.
In the coming weeks and months, the hope is that their specific requests, as described in an article in this week's Chester County Press, are given special consideration from not only the Planning Commission, but from Harrisburg. Their letter, and any subsequent positive action that may come from it, is proof that when the lines of communication extend beyond borders, a collective voice is much louder than a singular one.