Henry Ave. upgrades start to take shape
Small changes made ahead of start of work on safety improvement plan
WISSAHICKON » Over the past two years, a small group of Wissahickon residents concerned about traffic safety banded together and worked with Penn DOT to implement a series of safety measures along Henry Avenue in Wissahickon and East Falls.
Representat ives f rom Penn DOT have met with the local community on several occasions over the past year to discuss the planned strategies to improve driving safety along Henry Avenue, stretching from Abbottsford Avenue in East Falls to Hermit Street in Wissahickon.
Most recently, representatives including Bruce Masi, Robert Nuss and Elwood Kimmel held a presentation at the Thomas Jefferson University campus in East Falls to inform the community of exactly what changes are planned for the project, called the Henry Avenue Safety Improvement Plan.
In total, 168 roadway improvements are planned for the stretch of road in Wissahickon and East Falls, including the installation of traffic lights and guardrails, resurfacing the roadway, replacing existing traffic signs and trimming back trees that overhang the roadway. Ultimately, these tools are intended to help slow down traffic along the heavily used road and decrease the number of accidents which occur there.
Work on the project won’t begin until late 2019 or early
2020, with the total timeline expected to last about a year and a half. While even that seems a long way off though, just getting the plan put together wasn’t a short or easy process, and it involved hard work from a number of concerned neighbors in Wissahickon.
Among those neighbors who worked together with Penn DOT to organize these safety measures was Suzanne Hagner, a Wissahickon resident who met with Bruce Masi on several occasions to discuss concerns regarding driving safety and traffic accidents along Henry Avenue. She also formulated a petition, which received over 100 signatures, requesting a traffic light be installed at the intersection of Henry Avenue and Barnes Street.
While the traffic light won’t be installed until work begins on the Henry Avenue Safety Improvement Plan next year, Hagner said they were able to get traffic delineators installed in the meantime at the intersection of Henry Avenue and Hermit Lane.
These tools, a series of tall colored cones, are intended to prevent cars from crossing or making U-turns on areas of Henry Avenue where doing so is not legally allowed. Hagner said that a number of drivers in the area make these illegal turns and merges to save themselves time in traffic, but that it often results in crashes between drivers. While it’s ultimately a small change, Hagner said that it’s already made a difference in traffic along Henry Avenue.
These changes haven’t made everyone happy, though. Hagner noted that shortly after the delineators were installed, a frustrated neighbor knocked them down. However, Penn DOT had someone sent out to replace them shortly after, and they’ve remained intact ever since.
It’s been a long process for Hagner and her neighbors, but one which she said is worth it to prevent traffic accidents caused by speeding and reckless driving on Henry Avenue.
“It’s amazing what a couple of people who are really dedicated can do,” she said of the small group, which includes herself and several other Wissahickon residents.