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Thursday, November 05, 2015

Northampton County Removes Pedestrian Crossing For Workers, Public

Crosswalk from Milides Building to courthouse
Although Deputy Sheriffs have been spotted providing valet service to a few judges who have their very own private entrance to the courthouse, Northampton County is displaying appalling disregard for their own employees and the public. Agent 99 has reported to me that a pedestrian crossing, which is supposed to help the public and employees cross the street on their way to the courthouse, has suddenly disappeared. I learned yesterday that she's right.

Butler and Washington
There is a parking deck next to the courthouse, but it fills up pretty quickly. Parts of it are regularly blocked off because, now and then, parts of the roof have been known to collapse onto cars or change their colors. Most employees and members of the public park in a lot at the Milides Building which is across the street from the courthouse, or in the lot below.

At the Milides building, there's a pedestrian crossing for people to cross busy Washington Street. It has been there since courthouse construction started in around 2002. A sign was placed there to warn oncoming traffic, but two people have still been stuck by cars. One person, a County employee, was seriously injured.

Last weekend, the County, in its infinite wisdom, removed the pedestrian crossing sign. It also sent some painters out to paint over the crosswalk, although as you can see, it is still very visible.

What prompted this action?

Apparently, the County knuckled under to a demand from the Panto Parking Police that they immediately close the pedestrian crossing and remove all signs.

Employees and the public are required to cross the street at Union and Washington Street, located 43 miles from the courthouse, or at 7th and Washington. Of course anyone who crosses at 7th and Washington to get to the Milides lot will have to walk across the intersection of Butler and Washington, which is extremely dangerous and has no crosswalk.

Though there are numerous crosswalks just like the one scattered throughout Easton, in the middle of City blocks, the County was nevertheless instructed to get rid of its crossing or Panto will be around with his tow truck.

Instead of fighting this ridiculous and probably illegal command, the County just knuckled under, just like it did in its challenge of Easton's commuter tax.

Exec John Brown and Deputy Administrator Cathy Allen have there own reserved paring spots, so what do they care?  

When I asked Administrator Luis Campos why the County is not fighting this ridiculous order, he told me the County is looking into it and mentioned concerns about liability. When I pointed out that there could be liability to a person who gets smacked by traffic while trying to cross  Butler Street, Campos said, "I don't disagree."

55 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fucked up.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this piece. The County doesn't want to pay for the signage to make it a crosswalk (blinking signs and pole with crossing walk button) plus they don't want to be held accountable. However, the employees have to pay the Easton commuter tax because of working in this wonderful City for the high paying County jobs.

Besides a long walk to the corners, it adds to what handicapped people already have to deal with. Not only did that County employee get hit once but was almost hit twice more in that same crosswalk. Doesn't seem to me that the County cares about the safety of the employees OR the children, elderly, and county taxpayers that cross the street to get into the building.

Thank you for writing this blog because as we all know, the papers do not cover the courthouse.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Agent 99 can check with Federal and State Regulators. This disregard may violate safety rules.

Anonymous said...

Use gaming money to pay for the crosswalk. The local share is a gerrymandered piece of legislation that pays for comfort facilities in some communities and thumbs its nose at others. Heck, in addition to tapping into Monroe County share, the legislation probably allows Northampton County to apply for Las Vegas ands Sands China local share. They probably get about as much gaming shareas the Commonwealth Financing Authority. Pardon my sarcasm here. It appears the crosswalk is needed. Why gamble with worker safety?

Anonymous said...

This is not a potential danger. The harm has already occurred. A county employee was leaving her 9-5 job at 6:30 when she was struck by a car and thrown in air suffering a broken leg and other injuries. It is a major pedestrian crossing that should be made safe before someone is killed.

Anonymous said...

are union goons too stupid to look both ways before crossing. Must not be in their contract.

Anonymous said...

This is TOTALLY ABSURD. I've used that crosswalk numerous times, and that area is a dangerous one for pedestrians. Your government fails once again, in astonishing fashion. Thanks for covering this Bernie - the crosswalk should be improved, not destroyed.

Anonymous said...

@8:11AM sounds like that ignorant dolt county employee hater from West Easton. Have some vegan hot chocolate and go on your way, sweetie. Since you walk everywhere, having lost your car to Bernie, you should be aware of the issue. Oh, right - without a car, you'd have no reason to use one of the parking lots in question.

Anonymous said...

My understanding of this is Penndot enforced all this onto the city and the city down to the county. The crosswalk doesn't conform to Penndot regulations dealing with the intersection of Washington St. and Wolf Ave. I would suggest those bitching should check with the Penndot District 5 office in Allentown for more details on this, not to the city or the mayor.

Anonymous said...

Easton has no authority over the county. repaint it asap. Let them sue us to remove it

Agent 99 said...

8:36, I spoke to PennDot this morning, and they said that they have no record of anything having been done in reference to this crosswalk. They said that the city of Easton is the one who would be in charge of this.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"This disregard may violate safety rules."

Like Easton does throughout the city. There are numerous crosswalks in the middle of a block, and there are sound public safety reasons for a crosswalk in the middle of this block. As I already explained, forcing people to use 7th & Washington would require them to cross busy Butler, and that is very unsafe. It should be about safety, not some anal bureaucrat throwing his weight around with no legitimate purpose.

Bernie O'Hare said...

8:36, It is a city street, not a PennDOT street, so I doubt very much that PennDOT goves much of a shit about it. It is a crosswalk in the middle of a block, but for very legitimate public safety reasons. If they want more curb cuts or better marking, the county could do that. You don't be an idiot and paint over the crosswalk. That the County rolled over so quickly to Panto Parking Police is an indication just how little it cares for the public or people who work here, but Brown wants your vote for auditor general.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"the crosswalk should be improved, not destroyed."

Absolutely, This is government at its most idiotic, screwing both the public and county workers.

Anonymous said...

I suggest a pedestrian bridge at a cost of eleventy kabillion dollars. It's only money.

Anonymous said...

Employees and the public will continue to cross there at their own risk. That removes county liability. As soon as you paint a crosswalk and put signs up it becomes a county liability. But it is still safer to have the crosswalk marked and a sign in the middle of the street than to have the public use human nature to cross there anyway and be in greater risk. The county should work with the city to come up with a solution to include lighted crossing signs, bump outs, removal of tree limbs that obscure visibility, etc. As mentioned above, use gaming $$ to pay for improvements. This administration is so short-sighted. I thought the new Public Works Director was proactive and creative. Guess not in this case.

Sal Panto, Jr. said...

Bernie, class act ignoring me at the bank last week and not acknowledging my "Hi Bernie" but that's okay. You used to pride yourself on being an "investigative reporter" but I guess that doesn't matter when it come to me. Just spread rumors and innuendo and blame without checking. Since j knew nothing of this matter I did the investigative reporting for you to get to the facts. No the city did not require the removal of the crosswalk. As a matter of fact we have ignored it in for the sake of safety. Even though this is a city street we are still under regulations of state law which prohibits a crosswalk in the middle of a street. It isn't illegal as we told the county back the. But it is unenforceable. The count was given the requirements for a legitimate crosswalk and at the time chose to go with placing the pedestrian sign in the middle of the street. They were told that the sign had to be taken I. Every night after work hours. For some reason that practice ended. A few weeks ago our traffic department got a phone call from a county employee that started the dialogue all over again. That conversation led to our traffic lieutenant explaining the process.l to someone who stated they were in charge of safety at the county. So the city has and will continue to ignore the crosswalk issue for the sake of safety but everyone should remember whe they get to a crosswalk that they should wait for the traffic to stop before crossing. Many drivers today are not considerate of pedestrians and that is unfortunate.

Anonymous said...

Related topic- what is going on with the trail crossing project carried over from the Stoffa administration? A child was badly injured at the Nor-Bath trail crossing on Weaversville Road years ago, and a comprehensive engineering study, vetted by legal counsel, recommended a number of high-tech improvements that were budgeted. I drive by those trail crossings all the time and only see a few new signs, but far short of the electronic signage recommended. Was this project even mentioned at the Public Works and Capital Budget hearing the other day? Again, another costly accident waiting to happen.

Anonymous said...

People will not use a pedestrian bridge if offered. Too lazy or disabled to climb and descend steps. Nice that Brown and his sidekick Allen have their own private, covered spaces while county minions must fend for themselves, including parking in a surface lot a block away and dodging traffic to cross Washington Street.

Agent 99 said...

Sal, would it be possible for the city to put a stop sign where the crosswalk was, since the entrance to the original parking lot for the courthouse is there, as well as the intersection of Washington and Wolf? It would have the additional benefit of making it less dangerous to make a left turn onto Washington from Wolf, where the visibility is not good.

Anonymous said...

From the PA Motor Vehicle Code:
§ 3541. Obedience of pedestrians to traffic-control devices and regulations.
(b) Traffic and pedestrian-control signals.--Local authorities by ordinance may require pedestrians to obey traffic and pedestrian-control signals as provided in sections 3112 (relating to traffic-control signals) and 3113 (relating to pedestrian-control signals).

§ 3543. Pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks.
(a) General rule.--Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a crosswalk at an intersection or any marked crosswalk shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(b) At pedestrian tunnel or overhead crossing.--Any pedestrian crossing a roadway at a point where a pedestrian tunnel or overhead pedestrian crossing has been provided shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.
(c) Between controlled intersections in urban district.--Between adjacent intersections in urban districts at which traffic-control signals are in operation pedestrians shall not cross at any place except in a marked crosswalk.
(d) Crossing intersection diagonally.--No pedestrian shall cross a roadway intersection diagonally unless authorized by official traffic-control devices or at the direction of a police officer or other appropriately attired person authorized to direct, control or regulate traffic. When authorized to cross diagonally, pedestrians shall cross only in accordance with the signal pertaining to the crossing movements.
Cross References. Section 3543 is referred to in section 3542 of this title.

§ 6109. Specific powers of department and local authorities.
(a) Enumeration of police powers.--The provisions of this title shall not be deemed to prevent the department on State-designated highways and local authorities on streets or highways within their physical boundaries from the reasonable exercise of their police powers. The following are presumed to be reasonable exercises of police power:
(16) Prohibiting pedestrians from crossing a roadway in a business district or any designated highway except in a crosswalk.
(17) Restricting pedestrian crossings at unmarked crosswalks.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sal Panto,

First, let's discuss our encounter at the bank. It is true I ignored you there, and it upset you. Too bad. Why on earth would I be a phony like you and pretend to be friendly with a person who has repeatedly trashed me, as you have done? You engaged in an email exchange with a very disturbed person in Allentown, in which you slammed me, and falsely. You also made nasty remarks to your Facebook fawners. They were mean-spirited personal attacks, which is your reaction to very constructive criticism.

Had you been alone or with other adults, I very likely would have ripped into you. I am not one of your fawning sycophants, and I really hate when some phony tries to pretend he's my pal. But you were with your grandson. I had no desire to embarrass you in front of him and therefore ignored you to be decent, yet honest.

He should not have to suffer simply bc his grandfather is an asshole. He should think the world of his grandfather, and I have no desire to say anything that would make your grandson think twice about his high opinion of you.

So I was being honest, but decent. You ought to try it some time.

Now on to the crosswalk. Of course I looked into this matter before i wrote about it. I spoke to the employee who ordered the paint job, the Director of Public Works and the Director of Administration. All three told me this was from Easton. I was advised by the Director of Administration that Easton police wanted the crosswalk removed or very expensive steps taken.

I did ask for a copy of the missive from the Panto Parking Police and do not have it. It was not provided bc the Brown admin is not known for its transparency. I will likely have to file a RTK, after which i will get a 30-day extension. I could wauit until then, or write the story now, when it is timely and fresh.

I chose to write about it now. This is a matter of public safety, and I don't give a shit whose ego is bruised.

Now you can send me this email. I am at BOHare5948@aol.com if you really give a shit about transparency. If this proves that the Director of Administration is lying, i will say so. If it proves you are lying, I will say so. It most likely will prove that neither easton nor the County give a shit about the safety of county workers and public.

I do.

Hence, my story.

By the way, I thought you had sworn off this blog. The comments supporting you come from Tricia Mezzacappa. I deleted her. It must make you feel good to kow you have the support of a wingnut..

Anonymous said...

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/PubsForms/Forms/TE-113.pdf

Anonymous said...

http://www.dot.state.pa.us/public/PubsForms/Forms/TE-113.pdf

Bernie O'Hare said...

12:33, The law exists to promote public safety, not make it worse. Removal of that crosswalk and forcing pedestrians to cross Butler Street is extremely unsafe. I am all for lighting aand doing what needs to be done to keep the crosswalk. It seems like Easton and the County spend most of their time considering ways to screw with people.

Anonymous said...

Sal Panto did know about this matter because a person that was almost hit, while a police office sat by and did nothing, went to talk to the Mayor but wasn't allowed to. This person was loud enough for the Mayor to hear the conversation as he was in his office.

Sal Panto, Jr. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bernie, go kill another pig, and attend Bacon Fest this weekend...you look like you need the calories

Anonymous said...

§ 3542. Right-of-way of pedestrians in crosswalks.
(a) General rule.--When traffic-control signals are not in place or not in operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within any marked crosswalk or within any unmarked crosswalk at an intersection.
(b) Exercise of care by pedestrian.--No pedestrian shall suddenly leave a curb or other place of safety and walk or run into the path of a vehicle which is so close as to constitute a hazard.
(c) Limitation on vehicles passing.--Whenever any vehicle is stopped at any crosswalk at an intersection or at any marked crosswalk to permit a pedestrian to cross the roadway, the driver of any other vehicle approaching from the rear shall not overtake and pass the stopped vehicle.
(d) Application of section.--Subsection (a) does not apply under the conditions stated in section 3543(b) (relating to pedestrians crossing at other than crosswalks).
(e) Penalties.--The driver of a vehicle who violates subsection (a) commits a summary offense and shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine of $50.
(June 25, 2001, P.L.701, No.68, eff. 120 days; June 26, 2001, P.L.734, No.75, eff. 60 days)

2001 Amendments. Act 75 overlooked the amendment by Act 68, but the amendments do not conflict in substance (except for the amount of the fine, as to which Act 75 has been given effect) and have both been given effect in setting forth the text of section 3542.
Cross References. Section 3542 is referred to in section 1535 of this title.

Sal Panto, Jr. said...

Sal Panto, Jr.12:58 PM
Agent 99. We are more
Than willing to meet with the county to
Resolve this issue in the interest of
Safety.

And BOH it seems like you are the individual
That has problems. You seem to
Take things personally. I
Am the bigger person because I can
Say hello to people who do not agree with me politically. It's not personal.

I will sign off for another year or so or until you bash my family, friends or staff. You can say things about me I don't care but I do care about others

Sal Panto, Jr. said...

Bernie if any of my comments upset you personally I apologize. That was not my intent. In respond to you my intent is to set the record straight.

Anonymous said...

The construction of Panto's posts are appalling. This is a guy who claims to have college degrees? Please identify the college(s) so those hiring managers among us know to stay away from the product of the institution that passed Panto along. My six-year old writes more coherently. Good grief.

Agent 99 said...

Who is the correct person to complain to at the courthouse?

Anonymous said...

After the parking fiasco Sal Panto said he'll never be on this site again, come on Sal doesn't your word mean anything.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Sal,

This is not about saying hello to people with whom there are mnere political disagreements. You know that. Some of my best friends, including Ron Angle, are people with whom I rarely agree about national issues.

I have generally supported your administration, but have disagreed about (1) the ethics of a business relationship between developer Mark Mulligan and a RDA employee; (2) the commuter tax; and (3) the Panto Parking Police due process violations. None of this was personal criticism of you or even your top officials. It was inteneded to promote good government, and I believe every one of my criticisms was and is valid.

Somwehere along the line, you became personally offended by my criticism. You lashed out. You exchanged emails with a troll currently being sued by Lehigh County DA Jim Martin for libel. You bashed me, and that troll was only too happy to forward those exchanges to me.

But what was really pathetic was when you took to Facebook and engaged in a personal attack aimed directly at me, sinply because you disagreed with me. Your fawning Facebook sycophants, who had no clue what was really going on, readily agreed. You used the power of your office to stifle criticism. And it failed.

After being personally attacked in such a public fashion, I am not going to pretend we're pals. Because you were with a child who adores his grandfather, and I have no desire to give this young man any reason to think otherwsise. The boy could think I was deaf, hard of hearing or a jerk. But he would have no reason to think less of his grandfather.

I handled that situation the right way. I could have put on a smile and pretended like you did, but I am not the phony you are. I am not running for anything and have no compelling reason to kiss anyone's ass. I don't care if I have 1 or 7,000 readers.

Sal, there is no "if." You know your comments upset me bc I told you they upset me. I also told a few of your pals, although I get the impression your sycophants don't like to disturb you with unpleasant topics like the truth.

I will continue doing what I do. I will praise your administration when it does the right thing, and will criticize you when I think you are wrong. That is not personal. But personally, I think you are petty.

If you want to apologize, do it on Facebook, which is where you insulted me.

As for setting the record straight, send me the email that was sent to the County. That will set the record straight. It will show what Easton wants and what the County wants. My adddress is BOHare5948@aol.com.

Incredibly, you now come on here and bash me for being concerned about the safety of county workers and the public. That is something you and the c ounty shoulkd be concerned about, not my story. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"Who is the correct person to complain to at the courthouse?"

Director of Public Works.

Agent 99 said...

:-)

Anonymous said...

I liked when Panto had himself (belly lapping over his belt) photographed lowering the flag to half mast. Several military personnel have been killed since and Panto doesn't seem to give a shit about them. He's a publicity whore with a thin skin. Bernie, just don't get in the way of a Panto being crowned church festival queen (as happened again this year). That will get really ugly.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tricia Mezzacappa is coming on here anonymously to take shots at Angle and me. My Italian friends tell me "Mezzacappa" means half a head in Italian. Very appropriate.

Anonymous said...

Actually Bernie, that translation is inaccurate. It isn't that simple. To translate it literally, it would mean "half" "hood". Like a hood of a coat. But to use in comparison the proper lingo "cappa nigra: like a black hooded coat or what the Dominican Order of Preachers where more of a shawl like cloak. So to put it in its proper context, it would mean that someone would be inappropriately dressed. Literally translating to how we would use it in America: half-cocked or wing-nut. There's more to it than that, but trust me, wing-nut or half-cocked is a much better and more accurate translation.

Anonymous said...

Bernie got it wrong as usual. Wait until Jim Gregory returns to the Lehigh Valley. he will re-energize the Unity-Pac and not only be on the radio but will have his own blog. The Mediterranean manslb's blog will be a mix of current events and religious outreach., he can relate to all people. He will not pick favorites and vilify people he dislikes as he dislikes no one. Mr. Gregory's blog will be a place for honest discussion and fellowship.

It won't be long now people. Soon a new blog will emerge that will not censor the truth and will encourage honest discussion and faith based hope.

Not your nemesis but one of the many Kim Gregory fans

Anonymous said...

I never liked Sal Panto. I thought John Brown had taken over that trophy being the worst asshole. Nope, Sal, you're the winner!

Brian Monahan said...

Ever go to the Bucks County Court or how about Montgomery County. The cross walks exist there ... still.... just not here. ... Now....

anonymous said...

Forgot...Carbon County over train tracks ...major route... mid block... and Pike County... Milford... A forward County Northampton...

anonymous said...

Forgot...Carbon County over train tracks ...major route... mid block... and Pike County... Milford... A forward County Northampton...

Bernie O'Hare said...

Brian, you won't believe why Brown took down the crosswalk. I'll be writing about that next.

Anonymous said...

The crosswalk were removed because it encouraged the plebeians to walk to close to the judges during their valet service.

OneBlockDown said...

Sal Panto is a tough cookie, I guarantee you if he wasn't with his Grandson a solid right hook would have been delivered to Golem's sizeable gunt.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Tricia Mezzacappa, Go away already. Everyone knows who you are, and all you are doing is making the case against you much worse. When we get our Break and Enter Order, all your computers will be seized.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Sal Panto can call Sam Murray and they can get this resolved.

Anonymous said...

The demented decisions made by this administration never ceases to amaze. In nearly two years in office, what have they really done to improve the quality of county services or facilities, or the safety of its employees or the public? Brown is obviously bored with his monarchy and is making slip-shod decisions, likely influenced by his fraudulent sidekick, Cathy Allen. If he even finishes this term in office, he will not run for re-election. He thought the county would be his own personal business to run the way he wanted, through overpaid consultants and cronyism. With his poor business practices he couldn't even run a neighborhood bodega.

Anonymous said...

I love Sal Panto in that he embraces social media and comments on blogs. It creates a connection regardless of whether you agree with him or not. Too many elected officials isolate themselves from us common mouth breathers. I wish Fed Ed would come into the blog and comment. That would be fun.

Zachary Smith said...

I wish we had a mayor in Allentown with the Balls and Integrity that Sal Panto has.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Panto does NOT embrace social media, to be sure. He has sworn off this blog and swore off a blog that covered Easton. It's not just the anonymous personal attacks. He does not like criticism. The only place he is comfortable is on his own Facebook page. That makes him better than most, but does not mean he embraces social media.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I am relatively certain Zachary Smith does not exist. I agree Panto has balls, but i find that he likes to bully his way in argument instead of using logic and facts. In argument, he has been dishonest. His claim that one and all pay permit fees, for example, is dishonest. His claim that there was nothing wrong with Easton's parking ordinance is a flat out lie. They were violating due process and had completely failed to adopt an enabling ordinance. There were problems with the commuter tax, and that ordinance had to be changed, but he claimed all was well. All of this is dishonest, so I would not give him an A for integrity. I'd give him a C.