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Existing traffic-calming measures have improved dangerous intersection

04/08/2014 03:28PM, Published by ACL, Categories: In Print, Opinion

Letter to the Editor:

Our family has lived at the farm at the intersection of routes 841 and 896 for 18 years, during which time we have witnessed and assisted in many high-speed crashes at that crossroads.  

Thankfully, in 2012, PennDOT finally put in four-way stop signs at the intersection, along with a stop sign in the southbound lane of Route 896 just north, in order to slow down speeding traffic and make the corner safe for motorists.

The stop signs, along with Route 896 speed bumps, flashing lights, and the other signage warning oncoming traffic of the impending stop signs, have worked wonders in improving the safety of this intersection. These traffic measures should have been undertaken decades ago by PennDOT -- they would have alleviated a lot of pain, heartache, headache and expense for many, many people.

According to Robert Ranieri, CISA Manager at the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Bureau of Maintenance and Operations, there were no reportable crashes from the date of the installation of the stop signs on April 17, 2012 through the end of the year. Data is incomplete and not reported yet for 2013, but as people who live here, with our front door staring at the intersection, we experienced no accidents at the intersection last year. 

We have heard reports that PennDOT now plans on installing an overhead traffic light at the intersection.  In addition, PennDOT may be planning to shave the hill just north of the corner to give greater visibility for motorists traveling southbound on 896.  There may be turn lanes added to 896, along with road-widening and removing the stop sign at Den Road—which worked to slow down the traffic.  A PennDOT engineering plan for this is due in summer. 

This is a big safety mistake.  Speed is the enemy on 896 and these PennDOT so-called "improvements" will only lead us back to the days of serious crashes at the corner. Removing the stop sign at Den Road will make it again dangerous for residents leaving that development to get back onto Route 896.  Shaving the hill will give way to high speeds, with motorists racing to beat the light at the intersection.  We will be back to the days of high-speed crashes and injuries -- guaranteed. 

The four-way stop signs at the intersection have worked miraculously and at low cost.  The stop sign at Den Road has succeeded in slowing down traffic before the intersection. Why spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on a solution to a problem that does not exist anymore? How do you improve on zero reportable crashes?

Gwen Galligan

Lincoln University, PA

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