By Richard L. Gaw
Representatives from four area townships and one borough have compiled and sent a letter to state senators and representatives that expresses their concerns and priorities for the Route 41 corridor - namely in traffic, safety and road improvements.
The six-paragraph letter, first introduced by the London Grove Board of Supervisors chairman David Connors at a meeting at the township on June 5, is addressed to Rep. John Lawrence, Rep. Chris Ross, Sen. Dominic Pileggi and Sen. Andrew Dinniman, and is signed by Connors; Stephen Allaband, chairman of the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors; Bill Shore of the Avondale Borough Council; Richard Brown of the Londonderry Township Board of Supervisors; and Scudder Stevens, a member of the Kennett Township Board of Supervisors.
The letter is response to The Chester County Planning Commission's (CCPC) request for input from all municipalities in the county as it prepares the 2013 Transportation Improvements Inventory (TII).
"At this point, all respective boards have agreed that it is in their mutual best interest to support the projects listed on each others' TII with respect to their relationship to and impact on Route 41," the letter states. "The goal is for the five municipalities to agree on the priority of improvements along the corridor and to seek funding for their construction."
Each municipality listed their top wish list projects for Route 41 development and improvements. New Garden Township included two priorities: to improve the Baltimore Pike and Newark Road intersection which, if reconstructed, will provide an alternative route for traffic traveling on Route 41; and make improvements to the Route 41 and Newark Road intersection.
For London Grove Township, its top priority will be to include safety and traffic calming measure to Chatham at the intersection of Route 41 and Route 841. Kennett Township has asked for the construction of a left turn lane for customers of the Taqueria Morolean Restaurant traveling south on Route 41, and a right turn only lane out of the restaurant, as well as a U-turn.
Avondale's immediate priority is to examine methods of reducing traffic flow through the borough, while the top priority for Londonderry Township is for the construction of a roundabout circle at the intersection of Route 41 and Route 926.
The letter had its roots in a recent conversation Connors had with Rep. Lawrence to discuss how Route 41 can remain high on the priority list for improvements.
"Rep. Lawrence told me that there is limited funding from Harrisburg and PennDOT for safety and traffic improvements, and that we improve our chances for funding when start to cooperate and support each others' initiatives," Connors said. "I've always felt that a township and its supervisors should be able to demonstrate the ability to lead, and be able to tell state senators what they need in their respective municipalities. This multi-municipal initiative is clear evidence of that ability."
So far, Connors has heard positive feedback from colleagues in neighboring townships. "All of the pieces are falling into place," he said. "Apparently, something similar had been tried in the past and been unsuccessful, but for whatever reason, the timing is right and the players are all in line.
"This entire initiative doesn't just simply impact New Garden Township," Allaband said. "If you approach the future of Route 41 on a regional level, you'll have more of an impact, and a better chance to get things done. In the past, no one culd get on the same page on similar initiatives, and little got done. I'm hopeful that we're all in agreement, and then if there is any money available for these projects, then we wil benefit as a region."
The next step in the townships' Route 41 priority list will be to arrange a group meeting between the signers of the letter and Randy Waltermyer, the transportation planner for the Chester County Planning Commission, in order to further discuss common goals for the future of the corridor.