East Falls Community Council offers updates on traffic issues and possible remedies

 Debris from an early morning crash in October still littered the Henry Ave. and West Queen Lane intersection hours later. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Debris from an early morning crash in October still littered the Henry Ave. and West Queen Lane intersection hours later. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

Seven members of the East Falls Community Council’s traffic committee recently met with Richard Montanez, chief engineer for the city’s Streets Department.

We were impressed with Montanez’s commitment and willingness to help us calm traffic in East Falls. As one member remarked after the meeting, it was “a breath of fresh air.”

Familiar territory was covered.

Queen Lane

The Department is studying traffic speeds and volume on West Queen Lane between Fox Street and Henry Avenue.

If the expected results come to pass, we will be seeing speed cushions on that raceway. The department has already re-striped Fox Street down to one legal lane of traffic where it meets Queen Lane. If more money had been available, asphalt removal would have narrowed the road rather than stripes.

Queen Lane neighbors will be invited to meet to discuss other measures to calm traffic. Watch for fliers in your doors.

The Streets Department is also looking at the intersection of West Queen Lane and Stokley Street in response to a longstanding (five or more years) request for an all way “stop” at that corner. Promised years ago by another administration, it never happened.

School House Lane

The Streets Department, which recognizes the need to calm traffic on this narrow speed strip, will install test speed cushions on School House Lane between Henry Avenue and Gypsy Lane, as well as an anti-skid surface on the curve below the tracks.

The anti-skid material will also be applied to Lincoln and Kelly Drive curves.

We expect to receive plans for School House Lane speed cushions soon and post them on the EFCC website.

These cushions, made from recycled rubber, will be removed during winter months to avoid destruction by snow plows. If they work, permanent cushions will follow.

In conjunction with this work, the present speed humps and road cuts on School House Lane will be removed. They work but are beginning to crumble and not up to the Streets Department’s standards.

How it applies to school zones

Montanez told Paul Butler of the William Penn Charter School that the department will approve a properly designed speed table for School House Lane where students cross to get to playing fields.

The table would be installed and maintained by Penn Charter.

Montanez also said that once the department catches up with filling potholes at the rate of more than 600 a day, it would paint “Do Not Block the Box” lines on School House Lane at Vaux Street to help drivers on Vaux get through when School House is backed up.

Red-light camera sought

The committee will again ask the Philadelphia Parking Authority for a red-light camera at School House Lane and Henry Avenue. Cameras at Henry Avenue and Walnut Lane have been very effective.

It is a whole new ballgame dealing with the present Streets Department administration. Commissioner David Perri and Montanez are dedicated to calming traffic around the City.

If you are interested in joining EFCC’s Traffic Committee to work on East Falls traffic problems, please contact us at info@eastfallscommunity.org. Be sure to mention the Traffic Committee and to include your contact information.

Update

Since this story ran in the Fallser, the committee has had additional meetings. Here’s how Greenfield described them to NewsWorks:

West Queen Lane residents from Fox Street to Henry Avenue, as well as neighbors on McMichael and Penn streets met with EFCC traffic-committee representatives and Montanez on May 7.

There, Montanez explained the plan to install six to eight asphalt speed cushions on Queen Lane between Henry Avenue and Fox Street to calm (slow) traffic there.

He noted that to merit such measures, a significant number of vehicles must exceed the speed limit by 15 miles per hour.

The neighbors supported the plan, though some were concerned about the location of the cushions in relation to their driveways. Montanez promised to have the contractor mark the proposed locations and then discuss any concerns with neighbors before installation.

There were also some questions about whether traffic might avoid the cushions by moving elsewhere. The Streets Department will have to study that after they are installed.

This story originally appeared in The Fallser newspaper, a NewsWorks content partner.

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