Birmingham residents concerned about speeding

Birmingham Hunt, Knolls of Birmingham ask supervisors for action

By Liz Brown, Staff Writer, The Times

BIRMINGHAM — Residents of Birmingham Hunt and the Knolls of Birmingham attended the supervisor meeting last week to bring the issue of speeding in their neighborhoods to the attention of the township.  After discussing several possible solutions, the supervisors approved a motion to purchase a radar speed sign to control the speed of travelers through the area.

After receiving complaints from residents, the Home Owners Association (HOA) boards of both the Knolls of Birmingham & Birmingham Hunt submitted a letter to Chief of Police Thomas Nelling requesting “a renewed commitment from the township for increased traffic patrols” to curb speeding in their communities.

The letter also recommended that a speed measurement device placed strategically in the neighborhood “might make drivers more aware” of their driving behavior.  Board member Mary Pat McCarthy, who was present at the meeting, added that the respective boards have taken a multi-faceted approach to resolving the issue, including sending letters to all residents requesting them to slow down when traveling through the neighborhood.

Resident Nick Ridgely commented that the noise of the fast-paced traffic passing by his home on the corner of Crescent Drive and Knolls Road was becoming increasingly bothersome. He also expressed concern for the safety of the children waiting for the bus during the morning rush hour.  He suggested perhaps a speed bump or stop sign might be helpful in controlling the speed of drivers.

Chief Nelling responded that stop signs need to be approved by PennDOT and that putting stop signs up with the specific intent of reducing speeding is against Pennsylvania law.  The practicality of speed bumps was addressed by Township Solicitor Kristen Camp.  She commented that neighboring townships have tried using speed bumps to slow traffic, but have found the accompanying noise to be undesirable and subsequently have removed them.

Ken Morris, a 16-year resident of Vale Drive, commented that speeding through this area is not a new issue.  He observed that most drivers travel at about a 40 mph pace, well over the 25 mph stated speed limit, and that if it weren’t for the geese crossing the road, no one would slow down at all.

Supervisor John Conklin responded to the residents’ concerns and commented that the road through the Knolls was originally constructed as a through road, not a private road.  Many people use it to avoid the five-points intersection in Dilworthtown.  He acknowledged that speeding has been an issue for many years, not only through this area, but in the township as a whole.  He commended Chief Nelling for his department’s efforts to control speeding, and added that the township is lucky to have a police department at all since many surrounding communities do not have their own force and must rely upon shared departments or the state police for assistance with traffic control.

Chief Nelling recommended the purchase of a speed monitoring radar device for use throughout the township. The supervisors approved the motion and included the $3500 expense as an addition to the 2013 budget, which was also approved at the Dec. 17 meeting.

Another addition to the 2013 township budget was a $10/quarter increase in sewer rent for the 430 users of the sewer plant. This additional revenue will be used toward capital project for nitrogen reduction at the Waste Water Treatment Plant which is estimated to cost the township $250,000 – $400,000.

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