I promised to ask for help when we needed it. It’s time to rally the troops again! This time, we’re going after PennDot.
Today Penn Township installed a traffic light on Route 796 at Pennocks Bridge Road. This infuriated not only me but several community members that called me throughout the day. For those of you who don’t live in our area, this intersection has never been the scene of an accident; unlike Corey’s Corner 841 & 896.
I called State Representative John Lawrence and asked him to explain how this light was erected and the intersection known as the “Death Trap” still has not been addressed. He shared with me that Penn Township has ownership of this road. He explained further that the light cost $150,000. The Technical School (where Corey attended the culinary arts program) raised half the money required and the township paid the balance. They deemed it necessary because of the increased traffic from the Technical School.
I took a trip to Franklin Township to ask the supervisors what needed to be done in order to have a traffic signal installed at Corey’s Corner. They are as distraught as the rest of us because the township does not own this intersection the State of PA does. They can not do anything to improve the safety of this corner.
PennDot came out to assess the intersection at Franklin’s insistence. They have applied for state grant funding to remedy this hazardous intersection for years. Each year they are denied funding. It appears that PennDot did come out to look at the intersection. It is unclear as to the length of time they spent assessing this area. It is believed that it was a day or two. The result of the study; based on the review of their engineering warrants/justifications statutes was that a multi-way stop was not warranted.
They looked at a Crash Analysis from 2006-2010. The types of crashes reported are “drivers proceeding without clearance” and “running stop signs”.
The results of this analysis; It was evident that drivers on 896 heading North and South were found to be exceeding the speed limit of the advisory 35 MPH and normal 45 MPH for this road. Their recommendation; Vigorous speed enforcement by State Police or local police would be the first step in making the intersection safer. (they obviously don’t know that our State Police barracks does not have the manpower to accommodate this suggestion)
PennDot has also approved the current 30 x 30 sign with flashing lights warning of the cross road (841) to be replaced with a 36 x 36 sign. (but the township must file a formal request for this change and wait for the official approval and funding)
They also found that traveling northbound on 896, the 45mph sign was installed too close to the advisory 35mph sign. They will add a 35mph advisory speed placard to the 45mph sign to forewarn motorists of the upcoming speed change. They will also add a Left Curve sign as well as reapply the rumble strips that are wearing thin.
In regard to “running stop signs” (in reference to 841 N/S) let’s just clarify what we locals think of this label. When you approach this intersection on 841, you have to “gun it” and say a prayer in order to safely cross this intersection heading North or South hoping you’re not T-boned like Corey was as you cross because of the motorists speeding on 896 N/S.
PennDot has found that the Route marker is too close to 896 and could be obscuring the visibility of the motorist so they will move that. They will also install an additional STOP sign on both sides of 841 warning motorists that “Cross Traffic DOES NOT STOP”. (this is precisely why we need a four way stop)
PennDot Engineers are planning to “REVIEW” the 896 corridor with projected improvements going to bid mid-2016. How many families will be injured in the next 4 ½ years? It costs 200,000 for a traffic light…what does two more STOP signs cost as we wait for these improvements to be reviewed?
My friends, we need your help. The Engineers that are assessing this intersection have not lived here for 20+ years. They do not know that we locals fear for our safety as we pass through this intersection everyday. They do not know that we deliberately choose to reroute our trip detouring our commute as much as 5 miles in order to go around this intersection if we’re traveling on 841. They do not have accurate crash information because the victims of an accident at this intersection are not reported if they don’t go to the local hospitals for medical treatment. And yes, casualties and fatalities count as part of the equation to justify a safety change.
Please write Senator Dominic F. Pileggi and State Representative John Lawrence urging their intersession to go to Governor Tom Corbett to get the funding approved for the changes that will prevent another tragedy at this intersection.
The reality of this plea is that it most likely will be ignored. So I am going to ask for your creativity to come up with alternative ideas to present to the State Representative, Senator and Governor that collectively we can go to PennDot to force the changes needed immediately…not in 2016.
Has this happened to our friends from out of state? Are there any fundraising ideas we can try? What if we all call the local media? Put your thinking caps on friends. I was told today that this is bigger than I think. It can’t be done by one person. They’re probably right…but we’re not alone. We’re not just a mother and daughter…we have 1200+ family, friends and supporters, some we’ve never met, that share this journey with us. It’s not about us. It’s about protecting our community.
I have created a FaceBook page as an online petition. If you don’t have a FB page, please ask your kids, grandkids or neighbors kids to get you on and join the page. Post your support. For the locals, post your experiences with this intersection. We can do this!