Haverford Township conducts study to make ‘Safe Streets for All’ a reality

With aging streets and an influx of vehicles, Haverford Township officials and a consultant are conducting a study to make roadways safer for everyone.

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Haverford Township building

(Kenny Cooper/WHYY)

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Haverford Township officials want to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on their roadways.

The township recently kicked off its “Safe Streets for All” study with a virtual introduction meeting and the release of an online survey.

“Haverford Township is an older, inner-ring suburban community,” Township Manager Dave Burman said. “We have a ton of old traffic patterns and old signage. It’s kind of the old way of thinking, and what we’d like to do is take a fresh look at it. So this gives us a great opportunity to do that.”

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In November 2023, the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners awarded a contract to Philadelphia-based planning firm CHPlanning Ltd. to create a township-wide qualified safety action plan under the federal Safe Streets and Roads for All program.

Creating a plan is a prerequisite to take advantage of federal dollars via the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, where more than $5 billion has been set aside for projects across the U.S. The consultant conducted a smaller study on the Brynford neighborhood in 2022 as proof of concept.

“What we love about this is being able to create a plan and then potentially having the opportunity to fund actionable items in our own community to make it more accessible for our pedestrians and bikes,” said Judy Trombetta, vice president of the Haverford Township Board of Commissioners.

Trombetta said the township wasn’t built to accommodate the number of vehicles currently on the roadways.

Like many of its neighboring townships in the Main Line, Haverford doesn’t have universal sidewalk coverage. Additionally, Burman said several of the township’s neighborhoods are separated by busy state roads such as Haverford Road, West Chester Pike and Township Line Road.

“We have these neighborhoods that, in many cases, are not linked safely for pedestrians and bicycles,” Burman said.

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Additionally, Burman said Haverford Township experiences a lot of “cut-through traffic” — drivers seeking shortcuts through residential neighborhoods to avoid more congested streets. He said fixing these problems could involve installing bump-outs at intersections, raised crosswalks and push buttons for pedestrians. Burman stressed the need for more data points.

CH Planning’s preliminary analysis of 2022 vehicle crash data already uncovered issues with Haverford Road and Eagle Road, according to Managing Associate Olivia Foster. Pedestrian crash data from 2018 to 2023 share similarities.

“The development of this plan is not only an analysis of the places of greatest need in terms of the most dangerous roads in the township statistically, [it is] also based on the input that we’re getting from you all — from community members, from residents, from other community stakeholders, because you all know your community best,” Foster said during Thursday’s virtual meeting.

Over the next few weeks, the consultant and township will hold pop-up engagement events in each of Haverford’s nine wards.

“We’ll have posters that will go up across the township,” Foster said. “There will be one in each ward where you’ll be able to interact with a map of your ward and identify specific places on that map that you would like to see addressed.”

Each ward will also host a focus group over the next month to discuss roadway safety.

The first focus group meeting is scheduled for Ward 1 at Lynwood Elementary School on March 12 at 6 p.m.

“This community engagement component is just super critical to the success of this plan,” Trombetta said.

Delaware County is in the process of implementing a Vision Zero study to accomplish similar solutions throughout the entirety of Delco.

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