The article in Saturday’s paper concerning the borough council’s desire to keep the traffic light at 11th and Philadelphia Streets needs some clarification. Of special concern is Rep. Jim Struzzi’s characterization of the situation.
As a long-time spokesperson for PennDOT, it is perhaps understandable that he would uncritically present their view on traffic safety.
However, both he and Sen. Joe Pittman are failing to look at the issue from the perspective of the people of Indiana.
Sen. Pittman is quoted as saying of PennDOT: “They try to ensure that the traffic flow is as efficient as possible.” Efficient traffic flow, however, is not what is wanted in a busy commercial area with significant pedestrian traffic.
Traffic calming measures are what we need in order to ensure the safety of the public.
It is significant that the PennDOT official quoted in the article is a traffic engineer. This is not an engineering issue: It is a human behavior issue and needs to be addressed as such.
According to Department of Transportation Secretary Leslie S. Richards, PennDOT has recently established a new program called “PennDOT Connects” as a way to serve Pennsylvania communities better. “Through the innovative PennDOT Connects approach, the agency is considering community needs at the very beginning of every project” (Municipal Reporter, Spring 2019, p. 18). In this case the needs of the community of Indiana have so far been ignored from the very beginning.
The removal of the only restraint on the speed of vehicles entering downtown from the west, and the elimination of the only safe pedestrian crossing for several blocks, makes no sense to anyone except someone trying to move cars quickly through town.
Peter G. Broad
President of Indiana Borough Council