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Chester County Press

Development's residents share stories of vehicle violations with board

05/08/2018 10:52AM ● By Richard Gaw
By Richard L. Gaw
Staff Writer

In 2011, Stephen Edwards was part of a wave of people with young families who began to flock to the Preserve at Inniscrone in West Grove.

The lure of the new development seemed too perfect to pass up: The homes were within a mile or two of nearby schools, and close enough to each other to promote a neighborhood connection that was soon seen in the scores of young children who developed friendships along Inniscrone Drive.

On May 2, supported by nearly two dozen of his neighbors, Edwards stood before the London Grove Township Board of Directors and told another story, one that sounded a different tone than the storybook one that danced in his head when he moved with his family there seven years ago.

Edwards said speeding along Inniscrone Drive has turned the lane from a quiet thoroughfare where children ride bikes into a speed lane for delivery and construction vehicles, and automobiles have repeatedly disobeyed the 25-mile-per-hour signage.

The severity of the situation in the development was recently made even more serious, Edwards said, when an eighth-grade student was was struck by a speeding car on the road. The child was immediately taken to a hospital emergency room, where he was treated for injuries and received eight stitches. The driver subsequently drove away from the scene of the accident, Edwards said.

Another incident, he said, took place during a party at 63 Inniscrone Drive, when two cars were parked in front of the home. Both were hit by passing cars.

“Just yesterday, we had a person in our community leave the bus stop,” Edwards added. “He and his dog tripped in the road. A car stopped to help him out, which was great, but then another car began to speed around him.”

Speaking for his fellow residents, Edwards said that the development's Home Owners Association requested two-way stop signs at Inniscrone and the intersections of Sligo, Castlerea, Roscoman, Coote and Finn Way. In addition, the group has asked for speed bumps to be installed at seven locations along Inniscrone Drive.

“Overall, we're really looking for some action,” said Edwards, who told the board that he has recently spoken to Township Manager Ken Battin to gain the support of the township to help install traffic calming devices, like speed bumps and additional stop signs. “We feel our taxpayer money should be used to pay for that, but we're very willing to help out. We're adamant about that being done.”

Edwards was joined by several other residents who live at the Preserve at Inniscrone, who shared similar stories with the board. One resident said that a petition circulated around the development has gained 120 signatures to galvanize support for the traffic-calming devices.

“This is a representation of the support behind this change that we need,” she said.

She said that there has been growing speculation that the increase in incidents along Inniscrone Drive is due to the closing of State Street Bridge – between Indian Road and Avondale Borough -- which has turned the road into a “cut-through lane” for drivers who need to get from State Road to East Avondale Road and Clay Creek Road. In the April progress report compiled by the township's Public Works Department, the bridge is expected to be completed by May 25.

As residents continued to paint the picture of daily life in the development, their stories took on an even more serious tone.

“My husband was assaulted a few months ago when he was trying to get the mail, while he was holding our 2-year-old and chatting with our neighbor,” said the Preserve at Inniscrone resident Dani Elliott. “He waved at a man who was speeding – I think it was a construction worker who was coming through – who then slammed his brakes, jumped out of his car, and tried to punch my husband, while he held our 2-year-old in his hands.”

Elliott said that the neighbor – Dana Hackett – tried to take a photograph of the vehicle's license plate, and was then swung at by the driver, and fell to the ground.

Elliott said that she continues to see examples of poor driving through the development every day.

“People are not paying attention,” Elliott added. “I see people driving down the hill on their [cell] phones. They're not watching. The majority of our kids are under the age of 10, and we all stand out at the end of our driveways and make sure that they don't go out on the street.”

Preserve at Inniscrone resident Michael McGarvey shared a recent incident with the board, when he had an altercation with an Amazon driver who was speeding “upwards of 50 miles per hour through the neighborhood,” he said. It led McGarvey to do his own research. He installed a speed radar gun near his home that, on a recent morning, recorded that of the 67 cars that drove through the neighborhood between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m., 24 drove over the 25 MPH speed limit, and an additional nine cars exceeded 30 MPH.

“That's 27 percent of the cars going through in one hour, exceeding the speed limit at a time when children are outside, getting ready to board the bus,” he said. “That concerns me.”

The issue of excessive and frequent speeding through the Preserve at Inniscrone has been discussed twice before at township meetings. After a December 2017 meeting drew concerned residents, the board took action in early January when it contacted Sgt. Kevin Creighton at Pennsylvania State Police Avondale. Creighton assured the township that each shift scheduled for coverage in the West Grove area would be required to drive through the development twice on that shift; and that officers on call in the area would be given a flashing reminder on their vehicle's casting assistant device to patrol the development while on their shift.

“We have had dealings with this issue before, and believe me, that's why this board twice previously tried to look to the [State] Police, because that's where you have the most control,” said Board Chairman Richard Scott-Harper. “This is an enforcement issue, and the state police has an extremely large coverage area.”

In order to best address the issue and create possible solutions, Scott-Harper offered to  arrange a special meeting in June that will invite residents of the Preserve at Inniscrone, board members, representatives from the State Police and the township's traffic study consultant “in order to find a solution that works for everybody,” he said. “This is a serious matter, and this board takes it seriously, but we have to treat this just like we do with every road in our township. Our traffic consultant is the person who tells us what we can and what we can't do. We have to have this meeting when he is present.”

Public Works Director Shane Kinsey said that while adding stop signs require a warrant, multi-way stop signs are severely restricted in Pennsylvania and cannot be used for speed control.

“Those warrants, I can tell you, without a doubt, will not be met within your development,” Kinsey said. “We have to look other avenues.”

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email [email protected].