What Happened Next: Speeding and traffic woes

NewsWorks went back to check in on several of the stories it covered in 2012. These “What Happened Next” updates will run throughout December.


East Falls resident speaks out against reckless driving along one-way Calumet Bridge, Jan. 30

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The story: In January, NewsWorks ran a story about ongoing problems with a one-way bridge in East Falls.

The Calumet Street bridge, which crosses the SEPTA Norristown line railway between Cresson and Skidoo streets, is designated one-way heading northbound. However, being the only vehicular viaduct to the pocket of East Falls located between St. Bridget Parish and PHA property, it’s often traversed by motorists who disregard the “Do Not Enter” signs including, in two memorable incidents, an Inquirer delivery van and a Streets Department garbage truck.

What happened next: Nothing, said Calumet resident Sue Park, who led efforts to bring the issue to public attention.

“With the street being closed for so long and with such irregular frequency, it has gotten worse,” she added, in reference to ongoing construction on her street.

In fact, with the occasional closing of neighboring Stanton Street for construction, Park reported that many drivers are crossing the bridge illegally, running into roadblocks on Stanton Street, and then backing up Skidoo Street in the wrong direction to exit.

As for Park herself?

“I am doing as well as possible with the chaos around here,” she said. “I am so sick of things that I have been looking for a new house. With the street [construction], the dirt, the noise, and the rude neighbors, I’ve had it.”


Even police are surprised by what a radar gun finds on Henry Ave. and Kelly and Lincoln drives, Sept. 28

The story: As reported by NewsWorks, traffic along several major Northwest Philadelphia streets is an ongoing concern for some East Falls residents, highlighted by a few highly publicized fatalities and innumerable smaller collisions and incidents.

Appeals were made for action by police, PennDOT and Philadelphia’s Streets Department, and some residents pitched the idea of creating a modern roundabout in the fall to curb speeding and collisions.

NewsWorks editor Brian Hickey also weighed in, taking to the streets with radar gun to get a sense of how fast people were actually going. 

What Happened Next: Speed humps and road cutouts were recently installed along School House Lane.

Members of the East Falls Traffic Committee, now led on an interim basis by Meg Greenfield, former first vice president of the East Falls Community Council, recently had a meeting with the Streets Department to continue its quest for additional traffic calming measures in their heavily-traveled neighborhood.

With the Walnut Lane Bridge set to close for six months in 2014, and displaced traffic slated to be detoured through East Falls via Midvale Avenue, members are already looking ahead to protect their neighborhood from the impact of thousands of additional motorists per day.

More police patrols, and the occasional roadside speedtrap, have been noticed along Kelly Drive in recent months along with an uptick in accidents that has resulted in tow trucks being stationed at various spots along the roadway to cut down on wreck-chasing response time, presumably.

If you have any stories from 2012 that you’d like NewsWorks to follow up on, let us know at nwproducers@whyy.org

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