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Kennett Square officials explore options for traffic-calming in the Stenning Hills section of town

09/09/2014 09:14PM ● Published by Lev

By Steven Hoffman

Staff Writer

Kennett Square Borough Council had a lengthy discussion about possible traffic-calming measures in the Stenning Hills neighborhood on Sept. 2.

The discussion was prompted by residents requesting a stop sign at the intersection of Worrall and Wayne Avenue. Residents said at a council meeting in August that they were concerned about speeding in the neighborhood, especially since so many children play in the area.

A stop sign might still be in the offing, but officials are looking at other alternatives, including putting crosswalks in to alert motorists that they need to slow down.

According to borough officials, Kennett Square adopted a Neighborhood Traffic Management Program plan several years ago, and right now Wayne Avenue does not meet the criteria for a stop sign.

Furthermore, council president Leon Spencer said, stop signs are not supposed to be installed for the specific purpose of traffic calming. Rather, stop signs should be used on streets where bringing traffic to a stop is necessary to improve safety for motorists.

Police Chief Edward Zunino agreed with Spencer on this point, saying that it was his understanding, too, that stop signs shouldn’t be used for traffic calming.

Borough manager Brant Kucera said that they want to look at other traffic-calming options, such as speed tables similar to the ones on State Street. These speed tables, or raised pedestrian crosswalks, are designed to slow motorists down to 20 or 25 miles per hour, which is preferable to speed humps that are designed to slow traffic down to 5 miles an hour.

Council member Dan Maffei pointed out that the response times of emergency vehicles have to be factored. He noted that speed humps would hinder the efforts of emergency responders, but the emergency vehicles are able to handle the speed tables on State Street just fine.

Spencer emphasized the importance of taking immediate steps to address residents’ concerns.

Joe Scalise, the supervisor of the Public Works Department, said that installing a crosswalk is an immediate and inexpensive step that can be taken so that borough officials have more time to explore the options.

Council member Patrick Taylor said that speeding isn’t the only hazard in the area. He noted that there the parallel-parked cars on the street that could make it difficult for passing motorists to see children. Taylor said that it’s important to do something to make sure that people know that children are playing in the area.

Borough officials want to follow the procedures that are outlined in the Neighborhood Management Program plan to determine the best long-term solution for slowing traffic Stenning Hills.

Kucera said that the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program plan offers “a way of scientifically dealing with these requests.”

Even though a street doesn’t currently meet the criteria for a stop sign based on traffic volume, traffic speed, or accident history, borough council could take other factors into consideration and decide that a stop sign is necessary. For now, crosswalks are a way to caution motorists that they need to slow down.

Spencer said that he thinks borough council is being responsive to residents’ concerns.

“What people need to see is that something is taking place,” said Spencer, “with the idea that this is not the end-all, be-all. This is what we’re doing now. I’m satisfied that we have something, based on these discussions, right now. The crosswalks are immediate. We’re moving forward on this right now.”

To contact Staff Writer Steven Hoffman, email editor@chestercounty.com.

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