Miss the big meeting about Henry Avenue last week? Here’s our run-thru with just the facts, kids.
Wow you will not believe the video from this meeting! East Falls locals came out in full force to confront certain members of Community Council’s traffic committee, and push for an end to our 2-year stalemate for basic improvements on Henry Avenue. Really an amazing meeting…
Before clips and commentary, here’s a quick summary of PennDOT’s PowerPoint presentation. We wish we had a link for you, but we did our best to photograph all the key slides, and we also scanned the materials PennDOT provided at the meeting.
(scroll for slideshow, but these notes first will probably help)
In February 2016, PennDOT reviewed Henry Avenue’s traffic/safety issues and came up with five possible plans (including doing nothing) that they presented to Community Council’s traffic committee.
PennDOT agreed to review two more possible plans based on the traffic committee’s recommendations — combinations of roundabout/road diet plans with added signals/safety measures.
At last week’s public meeting, PennDOT reviewed all seven options in a PowerPoint presentation, explaining pros and cons of each. Their clear favorite was #5, which includes signal enhancements and other safety measures that do not require re-engineering the road.
PennDOT feels that the changes suggested in Plan #5 will improve safety by 24% with no reduction in Henry Avenue’s “Level of Service” — that is, its ability to maintain current capacity. FUN FACT: all of the roundabout plans are rated “F” for LOS.
In addition to major signage/signal changes at Schoolhouse & Midvale intersections, Plan #5 includes bumpouts and curb extensions, plus other tweaks to certain curves (like the “pork chop” at Warden). Additional improvements were proposed, too, such as timed red light cameras and radar speed signs to help keep drivers alert.
Further modifications could include curb reflectors, pavement resurfacing, concrete medians… PennDOT’s got a whole list. All these options from #2 to #7 are detailed in the two “Alternatives Analysis” slides below, enjoy:
To appreciate the meeting (we think), you really need to see the back & forth when the floor opened up for audience comments. (watch the subtitled highlights in Part Two). Despite some theatrics, in the end, the majority called for a “sense of the room” vote where like 80 – 90% of the crowd voted in favor of Plan #5 as a fine first step to address Henry as soon as possible.
Traffic committee chair John Gillespie followed up the next day, announcing that the members agree as long as they retain the right to suggest changes before the plan is implemented. BTW, all neighbors have this right (hope you got your comments into PennDOT!).
What’s Next? PennDOT will take all comments into consideration before presenting the next phase of their plan for further public feedback soon. Please note: agreeing to PennDOT’s safety improvements does not mean that more radical options can’t be considered again in the future — perhaps thru PennDOT Connects (a community planning program).
Annnnnd… discuss! Comment below or email us to continue the conversation. Contributors always welcome for posts of all lengths! Open to all opinions supported by links and facts of the non-alternative kind.
SPEAKING OF: If you’ve ever wanted to aggregate accident data on Henry Ave for specific traffic, time of day, road conditions, etc, check out the Pennsylvania Crash Information Tool. Thanks, PennDOT!
For video clips and commentary, please see Part Two: Caught on Camera.