It's Time to Improve Pedestrian Safety on N Sycamore Street!
[This post was made on December 21, 2021. A lot has happened since then to improve pedestrian safety on Sycamore Street. See the “North Sycamore Street Pedestrian Safety Timeline” for a history.]
Newtown Township Police are investigating a Fatal Auto/Pedestrian crash, which occurred in the 200 block of N. Sycamore Street (at Silo Drive - which back in early November I labeled "A Dangerous Intersection").
The crash occurred on December 22, 2021 at approximately 11:04 pm. A male was struck while attempting to cross N. Sycamore Street using the crosswalk to catch an Uber with friends.
Recent Significant Pedestrian Incidents reported by police (does not include car-only incidents):
- 12-22-21 11:04pm 200 Block N. Sycamore Street Auto/Ped (In Crosswalk) - Fatal
- 12-16-21 Durham & Sycamore Street Auto/Ped (In Crosswalk) - minor injuries
- 10-22-21 Sycamore & Jefferson, Auto/Ped (Mid-block) – critical injuries
- 09-21-20 Sycamore & Jefferson, Auto/Ped (In Crosswalk) – minor injuries
- 05-04-19 Sycamore & Jefferson, Auto/Ped (Mid-block) - Fatal
Education of Drivers and Pedestrians
At the November 10, 2021, BOS public meeting, I asked Chief Hearn what could be done to improve the unsafe situation at N Sycamore St and Silo Dr. The Chief said “It comes down to educating the public. The public needs to know that they can’t cross outside of a crosswalk. Inside a crosswalk the cars are supposed to yield to them. Additional signage with lighting elements, that runs into an additional cost factor and involves ongoing maintenance and a liability factor if a bulb burns out and it’s not replaced in a timely manner. It’s a managed approach, but I believe education is the best way to go at this point.”
The Chief specifically mentioned that the Police Department will be distributing flyers to local businesses to hand out to customers.
Pedestrian Safety Weeks
I found an interesting discussion in the minutes of the May 26 2010 BOS meeting. At that meeting, the supervisors adopted Resolution 2010-R-9, presented by the Joint Traffic Committee, designating the week of May 28 – June 4 as “Newtown Pedestrian Safety Week”:
“Whereas Newtown Township and Newtown Borough have formed a Joint Newtown Traffic Committee (hereinafter the “Committee”; see below) with a goal to improve pedestrian safety; and
“Whereas, the Committee has outlined a program to educate both drivers and the public on pedestrian safety, especially the meaning of pedestrian crossing signs, through the assistance of our law enforcement officials; and
“Whereas the Committee has determined that improving pedestrian safety and adherence to posted speed limits will ultimately lead to safer streets that will benefit both residents and visitors to Newtown Township.
“Now, therefore, be it: Resolved, the week from May 28, 2010 – June 4, 2010 is declared and recognized as “Newtown Spring 2010 Pedestrian Safety Week.”
“Further, Resolved, the Newtown Township Police Department and Committee will collaborate on a program designed as a combination of education and enforcement, with the goal of raising awareness for both drivers and pedestrians for safety at crosswalks with signed sentinels and for adherence to posted speed limits during the Newtown Spring 2010 Safety Week.”
At the December 8, 2021, BOS public meeting, I proposed that Newtown adopt a similar resolution going forward. I mentioned that a week of educational activities would be more likely to be covered by local media than a one-time distribution of flyers. A Joint Newtown Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Committee" -- if we had one (which we don't - see below) -- could recommend educational and promotional activities for the week.
Joint Newtown Traffic & Pedestrian Safety Committee Proposed
I would add at least one other suggestion: resurrection of a new version of the Joint Newtown Traffic Committee, which the BOS rejected to do at the July 14, 2021, Board of Supervisors meeting. The new committee should be named "The Joint Newtown Traffic & Safety Committee" so that the focus is safety as well as promoting multi-modal transportation. In fact, back in 2010, this committee made some of the same recommendations as the Chief mentioned above. For more on that, see my Notes for the December 8, 2021, BOS Meeting.
*Tim Szwedo, P.E., P.P., a Senior Project Engineer, notified me in a November 11, 2021, email that when a McDonalds was proposed for the shopping center, a "traffic count for Silo Drive at N. Sycamore Street revealed that 95% of the traffic was turning right at this intersection. The 5% trying to turn left or to cross over to the Sycamore Grill side would cause excessive delays for all traffic and make drivers accept small gaps in traffic which compromises safety. I suggested directing all of the left turns and thru traffic to use Ice Cream Alley to a right turn onto Rt 532 Durham Rd then the left turn and thrus can be made under the safety of the traffic signal at Goodnoes Corner."
Posted on 27 Dec 2021, 01:57 - Category: Public Safety
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