April General Membership Meeting with Councilman Curtis Jones

Introduction and acknowledgements were given to Phila Streets Michael Carroll, Deputy Managing Director for Transportation, Richard Montanez, Chief Traffic Engineer, Bruce Masi and Elwood Kimmel, engineers for the PennDOT Henry Ave study who came out quickly at the committee’s request, “boots on the ground” to see our most dangerous intersections and streets. Also Josh Cohen has been supportive and very available. Councilman Jones is well represented by Josh. 

Wissahickon has 2 main arterials that border our neighborhood… Henry Ave and Ridge Ave. There have been numerous accidents on both and 4 fatalities on the section of Henry Ave, especially west of the Wissahickon Creek Bridge Ave in the past year.

Geoff Brock’s video presentation showed pedestrian crosswalks where it is dangerous to cross within the lined crosswalk as well as a traffic light. Ridge and Manayunk Ave is extremely dangerous. His wife was hit by a vehicle and carried on the hood of the car, fortunately she was not critically injured. He also had videos taken as he (other pedestrians) try to cross Ridge Ave and are in crosswalk but drivers do not yield and keep driving. This is a common occurrence on Ridge Ave at 4 pedestrian crosswalks – Lauriston St, Manayunk Ave, Osborn St, and Cresson St.

At a time when we need to be encouraging use of public transportation, all of these crosswalks lead to bus stops as well as the Wissahickon Train Station. Yet those using public transportation must risk being hit in the crosswalks.

Liz Carpenter spoke of her horrendous accident where she was run over by a SUV as a bike commuter on Ridge Ave and suffered 22 broken bones. This accident occurred on lower Ridge Ave & Main St.

Some options to increase safety and lower speed were suggested including re-timing of traffic lights, soft cushions or rumble strips on road surface prior to crosswalks, raised crosswalks, vertical flashing lights at crosswalks. Councilman Jones was asked to lend his support to obtaining safety enhancements.

Suzanne Hagner and Jessica Brooks presented the dangers of Henry Ave at Barnes St and also Hermit Lane. Mike Lehman had taken videos of dangerous back-ups and vehicles cutting through Hermit Lane. His videos were sent to Bruce Masi and Elwood Kimmel and they responded quickly by coming out and seeing the dangers with several of the committee members. As a result, Mr. Masi recommended that we get petitions signed and sent to him asking for a speedy intervention to address the dangers. Petitions were circulated (130 signatures were quickly collected) and sent to PennDOT, Streets Department, Mayor Jim Kenney and Councilman Jones via Josh Cohen.

There remains a question of who is responsible for Hermit Ln – Streets or Parks and Rec – and this needs to be sorted out as well as repaving the lane. Tizz Butler, who commutes by bicycle, was knocked off her bike by a car cutting through the lane. Visibility is poor. This is also a road that leads to Daisy Field where there are families, young children, dog walkers, and pedestrians.

We asked for Councilman Jones’ help in getting speedy safety enhancements to these areas.

It was also announced that there will be a Public Meeting with PennDOT presenting their choice for safety enhancements on Thursday, April 20 at East Falls Presbyterian Church. Neighbors were encouraged to attend.

Suzanne Hagner, WICA Traffic Chair

filed under: Traffic

One Comment

Robert Kapusta

I feel the important need to comment on traffic issues with respect to Henry Avenue. As a driver on this roadway, I witness the high speed on this stretch of highway almost everyday. What is wrong with this picture, to start? Number One, Penndot needs to select an asphalt material that is coarse, not smooth, that absorbs stormwater runoff quickly, like the asphalt on Kelly Drive, only the asphalt should be designed to give the vehicle a shaking sensation when driving over the speed limit of 35 mph. This prompts the driver to slow down the vehicle. Number Two, sadly, there need to be red light cameras installed at every intersection along Henry Avenue and the ticket penalty should be severe, where it hurts all drivers, in our wallet. The most important lesson here is that all drivers need to slow down to the point where police should set up speed traps , which I realize is illegal in Philadelphia. Another point I need to present is the maintenance of Striping and Traffic Lines and Crosswalk Bars. There is no regular maintenance of Striping on Henry Avenue or any roadway in Pennsylvania. This is a road and safety issue, not to be toyed with in budget battles. In conclusion, I saw the striping down on Henry Avenue at Seville Street. Why would anyone reconfigure a traffic lane into a left turn lane at Seville Street. Does Councilman Curtis Jones and/or Special Assistant Josh Cohen realize the confusion drivers will face at morning rush and afternoon drive at 4 PM. How do they profess to be pro-active when the only way they learn is when a serious accidents occurs and TV cameras are rolling. That is anything but pro-active.

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