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Chief Issues Reminder: Dismount Bikes at Trail Crossings

Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp told Borough Council that the safety of bicycle riders on the Saucon Rail Trail is a concern.

Hellertown Police Chief Robert Shupp issued a safety reminder to Saucon Rail Trail users--and specifically bike riders--at Borough Council's June 20 meeting.

Shupp said he is concerned because officers have observed riders failing to dismount their bicycles at designated rail trail crossings at Water and Walnut streets in the borough, even though signs indicate that they should do so.

"It's not just kids. We've seen adults do it, too," he said. "They just zoom right across the road."

Both roads are heavily traveled and crossing them requires pedestrians to use caution, he added.

"(The rail trail) is a great thing, but we'd hate to see something happen because they don't get off the bike to go across the street," Shupp told council.

In a related discussion, council member John Bate said speed humps should be installed as traffic calming devices on both Water and Walnut, near the rail trail crossings.

The Walnut Street speed hump could be installed without a permit from PennDOT, but the state agency's permission will be required to install one on Water Street because it is a state road, Borough Engineer Bryan Smith said.

"We would have to follow the PennDOT standard" for a speed hump, which will dictate the height, length and width of the device, he told council.

Council President Phil Weber said cost estimates for the work will be discussed at council's next meeting.

Mary Anne Looby June 23, 2011 at 12:36 PM
couldn't you put a speed bump on the trail X number of feet before the sign to dismount? It would get the attention of the riders, and you would not have to involved Penndot.
Susan Y June 23, 2011 at 04:36 PM
I think the drivers who do not pay attention to the signs nor the people waiting to cross is just as important as a reminder to riders on the trail. Nobody stops anywhere in town for pedestrians in the cross walks, nor do they stop for anyone wanting to cross the roads by the rail trail. I endorse the speed bump on Water Street as well as perhpaps reminders for those who ride bikes.
Stephanie Brown June 23, 2011 at 07:32 PM
How is it now six week after the opening of th rail tail that safety concerns are just being addressed? I walked the Meadows Road/Skibo/Walnut Street/ Main Street areas for the past 20 years plus. I saw and reported many safety concerns regarding speeding in these areas to the township police and the rail trail committee. None of these concerns were ever taken serioulsy. I tried to get the township and borough to be proactive regarding a public pedestrian safety campaign regarding the future opening of th rail trail at a SV Partnership meeting, but to no avail. One of the biggest concerns in the Friendensville/Water ST areas is the speeding emergency vehicles esp ambulances in that area. I understand that emergency vehicles need to respond with speed, but there seems to be a total disregard for the two pedestrian crossings in that area. Emergency vehicles need to respond with care as well as speed. I have seen both drivers and users of the rail trail at fault for their actions. One of the biggest points of confusion is the fact that the rail trail crossings over public roads are public cross walks and PA law, as confusing as it may be, applies in that situation. Yield to pedestrians in a crosswlk. Caution is the best bet in the areas of the rail trail crossings for all.
Donna Santore June 24, 2011 at 01:59 PM
I also believe safety has to be the number one concern for everyone whether they are walkers, drivers, or bike riders. I have been both walking and driving and have seen quite a few people not exercising caution. When we were walking the other night and trying to make it safely across Water Street, some woman blew right past us while talking on her cell phone. After her followed a guy that acted like we were invisible. Yesterday I was driving and slowing down as I was approaching the rail trail crossing and a group of bikers rode across Water Street on the trail without even looking or slowing down. This trail is wonderful and I hope people start being more careful. On another note there are waste receptacles and doggy waste bags at the beginning/end of the Upper Saucon portion of the trail which are really needed in the Hellertown-Lower Saucon part of the trail. We've cleaned up trash whenever we see it on the trail but I believe it would help to have them throughout the trail system. Thanks to everyone involved in the planning and construction of the trail. It is a great asset to our community!
Mary Anne Looby June 24, 2011 at 02:25 PM
What about the possibility of a flashing yellow light on either side of the trail on Water St? Don't know what it would cost and Penndot probably wouldn't pay for it, but we could make it a community fundraiser. I agree that there should bewaste receptacles along the trail, not just at the begining and end.

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