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Chester County Press

Editorial: Kudos to supervisors for plan to improve intersection

02/24/2015 03:57PM ● By Richard Gaw

The intersection at Baltimore Pike and Route 796 in Penn Township is arguably the worst one in southern Chester County. But the Penn Township Board of Supervisors is working with engineers on a plan for major improvements that will ease congestion and improve safety.

Developing a concept plan is a prerequisite for applying for grants to pay for a large reconstruction of the intersection. The new design will realign the intersection and add turning lanes on both Baltimore Pike and Route 796.

At a recent meeting where the intersection improvements were discussed, Curtis Mason, the chairman of the board of supervisors, said that the intersection has become dangerous because of the increased traffic in the township. Mason said that the intersection is the most pressing issue in the township, and we agree.

Penn Township has developed into a commercial hub in southern Chester County, and is the home to several retirement communities and health care facilities. It is a lot busier than it was even a decade ago, and the Baltimore Pike and Route 796 intersection is crucial to the township.

Fortunately, Penn Township is well-managed, and supervisors long ago identified the need for intersection improvements and had the foresight to take action.

The Penn Township supervisors voted to purchase the Red Rose Inn, one of the more historic buildings in the township, with the idea that intersection improvements were inevitable. It's great that the township had the ability to purchase and preserve an historic building, but it's equally important that the township owns that property in advance of reconstruction work on the intersection. The original part of the Red Rose Inn, which has historic value, will remain intact. But some of the side structures on the Red Rose Inn property will need to be removed to allow for the road to be widened.

Penn Township has one of the lowest tax rates in the area, and is historically on the conservative side on financial issues. You can bet that purchasing an historic property was not at the top of the supervisors' wish list. But that decision will pave the way for much-needed improvements to a dangerous intersection. We applaud this example of good governing by the Penn Township Board of Supervisors, which includes Mason, Victor Mantegna, Tom Barlow, Ken Bryson, and Bill Finnen.