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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Four-Way Stop Sign Coming to Freedom High School

Barry Roth, from the bottom of the toilet
For years, there's been a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Chester Avenue and Santee Road, which leads directly into Freedom High School, Bethlehem Area Vo-Tech and East Hills Middle School. For just as long, there have been complaints about pedestrian safety as students cross Chester Avenue every day, to or from classes. A lack of sidewalks along portions of both Santee Road and Chester Avenue has resulted in students from three different schools sharing the road with drivers, sometimes unsuccessfully. Bethlehem Township Commissioners finally took action at their December 1 meeting, authorizing Solicitor John S. Harrison to advertise an ordinance that will require a four-way stop sign at the intersection. In addition, a marked crosswalk and landing will be established.

This decision is the result of a traffic study performed by Engineer Brian A Dillman, after a September accident in which two East Hills Middle School students were hit by a car last month during a cross-country practice. One student was severely bruised and another broke an arm. One of the students is still undergoing physical therapy, twice a week.

Dillman told Commissioners that during peak times, as many as 50 pedestrians were crossing the intersection. He noted there were "numerous conflicts" between them and vehicular traffic. "There is support to have a fourth stop sign," he advised. He also recommended marked crosswalks and ramps.

This solution also has the support of the Bethlehem Area School District, advised Township Manager Melissa Shafer.

Though Commissioner Michael Hudak never voiced any opposition to this solution, he called it a "knee jerk reaction," adding that Township police noted there is no excessive number of accidents at the intersection. In October, Sgt. Daryl LaPointe told the Board there had only been 11 crashes at that intersection over the past ten years.

Those claims were disputed heavily at the time by Doreen Connelly and Nathan Stannard, parents of the two children who were hit.

"Do we need to have a child in intensive care", Connelly asked in October.

"The kids basically just ran in front of the cars," concluded Hudak on December 1, noting that no charges were ever filed against the driver.

"The traffic study speaks for itself," retorted Commissioner Tom Nolan. President martin Zawarski noted that he travels in that area all the time, but is still confused by the three-way stop sign.

Hudak asked Manager Shafer to contact the school district to arrive at a cost-sharing arrangement.

Parent Doreen Connelly stated she was "very grateful that our elected officials are actually listening. ... If it just slows down the intersection, it gives the kids a chance to cross the street."

In other business, the Board listened to a half hour of complaints from Chetwin Terrace residents Wayne Kresge, Roy Roth and Barry Roth. "I'm tired of sitting at the bottom of the toilet, waiting for it to flush," noted Barry Roth. These residents are concerned about stormwaters coming from William Penn Highway, across the bike path and flooding onto about 15 homes along Chetwin Terrace. Over the summer, Engineer Dillman directed that a swale along the western side of the bike path has been cleaned out. It is impossible to clean the swale along the eastern side without disturbing sheds and fences that have been constructed by residents.

Dillman noted that there has been no stormwater problem since the swale has been cleaned, but admitted that it will overflow in a heavy storm. He acknowledged the only permanent solution would be an underground stormwater collection system, which is not included in the funding for next year's budget.

Kresge complained that Commissioners are willing to spend $200,000 for bathrooms for the Bulldogs, but are unwilling to do anything for Chetwin Terrace residents. "Are bathrooms more important than 15 homes being damaged? he asked. Barry Roth, who sits on the recreation board complained, "The Bulldogs did an end run around us." He accused the Board of turning tail and running when the Bulldogs asked for money. "If you don't want the rec board, disband it," he concluded.

Finally, Commissioners agreed to a revision of the Madison Farms development, a 832-unit development being built along the north side of Freemansburg Avenue. Attorney Ed Murphy, representing developer KRE, sought and received approval to substitute a 1-story daycare for a 2-story office building.

Commissioner Pat Breslin was absent.


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

Nice how the Township got suckered into this one. Its been ok for DECADES and now all of sudden more government is needed because some kids look left and right. How about the price tag... sidewalks, ramps, engineering, surveying, signs, paintings. I remember when Lizzie Shine was killed on Freemansburg Avenue on a much, much busier street and nothing but some paint was put in the road and signs put up that no one pays attention to. How about spending some money there and doing a REAL traffic study with gobs of money spent like the subject intersection in this story?

Bernie O'Hare said...

You are referring to a fourteen year old high school girl, a pedestrian who was stuck and killed while crossing Freemansburg Avenue in the Miller Heights section in 2005. What happened to her was mentioned by Nolan in October. Don Wright suggested then that several areas in the township would benefit from a traffic study. It's a price the Twp pays for all the development. I can't believe anyone other than Hudak would complain about this, especially after a traffic study concludes that a 4-way is warranted.

Bernie O'Hare said...

3:33, If you want to attack someone, identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Mr. Hudak is satisfied with anything that comes along that has anything to do with public safety. Why is he so bitter about nearly everything? Are his shorts too tight?

Anonymous said...

So Bethlehem township wants to share the cost of making pedestrians safe in their shitty township that has no sidewalks. Typical response from Nolan and the gang over there in the township. Do what you were elected to do and fix the intersection. The school has been there since 1969 and the intersection and road looks like a little country lane. Widen it, put in curbs and sidewalks and improve the lines of sight so we don't end up killing someone over there.

Anonymous said...

It's not that easy. 1.) Widening the road would require the seizure of a considerable amount of real estate. Fair market value must be paid to the property owners for the seized property. 2.) Unless on public property,sidewalks are the responsibility of the private property owner. An ordinance would have to be approved mandating sidewalks, and that is a financial hardship on any property owner, let alone the fact that passage of such and ordinance is highly unlikely. Even if the municipality or school district would pay for the sidewalk improvements, they would need the approval of the private property owners, and the agreement that the property owner would assume the responsibility for its maintenance.

Anonymous said...

What road are you going to have to widen. I'm confused. Carter road is like five lanes in each direction. If anything make it narrower.

Anonymous said...

You knuckleheads are all missing the point, especially you bernie. I get what hudak was trying to say. I only wish he used his usual gruff in this circumstance. This intersection is fine and has been fine for over 25 plus years. Even the township police department agrees that it is not a dangerous or problem intersection based on factual accident data going back over twenty years !!!
The study did not satisfy seven out of eight criteria. And the only one it did was subjective and had no bearing on the actual circumstances of the incident. That FACT is and is supported by the police is that had there been a stop sign there the accident would have still happened. The car had already cleared the intersection when the kids RAN OFF the sidewalk and right in front of a moving car. The actual warrants your referring to bernie are solely based on left turns off santee and right turns of Chester. The kids ran off the curb on the opposite side of the road heading in the opposite direction. If you look at the traffic count for this area you will see that they in know way come close to meeting the requirements for putting in a stop sign.. So, what does all this tell us? That Nolan, Zawarski and Bernard will spend as much tax dollars as it takes, and it will be tens of thousands you watch, just to make them look like they give a shit in this up coming RE-ELECTION , that is all that is going on here and if you can't see that then you should be voting for them. Hudak was right here hands down. I'm sure even if he was up for re-election he would have held the same position. To bad Breslin wasn't there AGAIN. I would have loved to hear his take on it.

Anonymous said...

The road suggested by 4:24 in need of widening is Santee. Carter Rd is nowhere near this. I think you mean Chester being quite wide.

Anonymous said...

I think Mr.Breslin is still dumbfounded by the fact he was elected. His attendance record is somewhat less than stellar.

Anonymous said...

@ 3:06 & 4:42 PM
If you want to make comments regarding Breslin's attendance at meetings maybe you should check the meeting minutes. Breslin not there 4/21/14 and 9/15/14. Nolan not there 6/2/14. Hudak not there 9/2/14, 10/6/14, 10/20/14 and left at 8:15 on 11/3/14. So when you make your "To bad Breslin wasn't there AGAIN" comment, you look like an ass. And by the way, it's Too not To English major.