Board plans traffic fixes

Supervisors noted a traffic light might resolve the problem, but the cost will be high.
NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Union Township supervisors agreed to take some action to resolve traffic problems along a stretch of road in the growing commercial district.
Fran Davidson presented the supervisors with 63 petitions from residents whose requests include: a speed limit reduction on U.S. Route 224 between Pa. Route 60 and Scotland Lane from 40 to 35 mph; enforcement of the speed limit once it is lowered; and that a traffic study be done to investigate the need for a traffic light before any further commercial development of Route 224 is allowed.
Davidson, who lives on Route 224 across from Lower Idlewild Road, said an ambulance that recently transported her husband was kept waiting on the highway for five to six minutes, unable to make a left turn into her driveway because of heavy eastbound traffic.
Supervisors Ralph Nuzzo and Kevin Guinaugh said Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials responded to earlier requests by saying they would allow a traffic light in the area but the township would have to come up with the $50,000 to $100,000 cost.
Raising money: Secretary-Treasurer Cathy Schmidt said one way to raise the money is an impact fee ordinance, which would require new businesses to pay the cost of traffic devices needed due to commercial development. Such an ordinance would have no effect on current businesses, however, she said.
Supervisor Steve Galizia said established businesses might donate toward a light if approached by the township.
Galizia said a bond issue is another possibility. He also asked whether township liquid fuels money could be used toward a traffic light purchase. Schmidt said she believes 20 percent of it can be used for such purposes. Guinaugh said the township receives about $120,000 annually in liquid fuels money.
Supervisors unanimously agreed to ask the township solicitor to find out whether the township could pass an impact fee ordinance.
They also directed Schmidt to draft a letter to township businesses asking for donations toward a traffic light.
Enforcing speed limit: Nuzzo said he also will talk to Police Chief Joe Lombardo about better enforcement of the speed limit, but commented that is difficult with only one patrolman on a shift.
Supervisors came under fire from residents at the meeting for changing Wednesday's meeting to 3 p.m. when they had agreed to have spring and summer meetings later to allow more residents to attend.
Galizia apologized, stating the change was necessary because he had a conflict with the regular meeting day and time, which would have been today at 6:30 p.m.

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