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Any good design, like any good planning decision for the real world, must include cost-benefit considerations. 

 

Several years ago the RP Shade Tree Commission submitted to RP Borough Council a plan to plant a double row of trees--an allee--from the foot bridge at Ridley Park Lake, across "the island," straight up the slope along the fence to Glenloch Road.  At the time, Council told the STC to hold off until after construction of the new pathway they had planned, and then plant trees along it.  So the STC didn't plant anything there, and the pathway never was installed.

 

But since many people walk that route, across the "island" foot bridge, and straight up to Glenloch, it must be considered to be a viable alternate route to cross the Creek.  So I used a measuring wheel for an accurate distance comparison of two alternate routes between the same two points.  

The starting point is along Dupont Street on the sidewalk near the school and the entrance to the Cornog playing field.  The end point is on the other side of the Little Crum Creek stream valley, on the sidewalk at the corner of Glenloch and Hillside Roads.  The two alternate routes measured we will call the "silt basin pedestrian bridge" route, and the "island pedestrian bridge" route depending on which pedestrian bridge the route crosses. 

Here are the results: 

"Silt basin" pedestrian bridge route distance = 804 linear feet.   

"Island" pedestrian bridge route distance = 1098 linear feet.   

 

Of course, the difference between the two routes could be greater or less depending on one's destination, however since this Silt Basin pedestrian bridge "project" is designed and funded to be a "safe routes to school" program, the destination of school children to and from school is the primary design parameter. 

 

So the results beg the question, particularly in light of the current not-so-swell local economy:  Does a project that shortens by 294 feet the distance school children must walk to school really justify the expenditure of over half a million {$530,000} of the taxpayers' dollars?  Is that not something the entire Community should decide?   

 

 

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Comment by tim devabey on August 11, 2017 at 2:04pm

@Michael S. Taddei,

Thank you, I agree. Certainly the "project" needs to be reevaluated.  Let us focus on the "safe routes to school" aspect.  The sidewalks around the School and Municipal properties are in poor condition.  At a Code Enforcement meeting, CE Tony Tartaglia stated that ALL of the corner curb cuts, "wheel chair ramps" in the Borough are NOT in compliance with the current ADA specs.  The right-of-way width of Hillside from Glenloch up is 50 feet.  Compare that to the right of way width of Dupont Street, 60 feet.  And yet, safety is enhanced on Dupont by making it ONE WAY during school hours.  Would that help the safety issue on Hillside?  Why do the children walk in the street (they do that in my neighborhood anyway even where there are sidewalks)?  Why haven't many homeowners on Hillside been required, as are the rest of us, to have SIDEWALKS in front of their properties?   At the first "public" meeting about this proposed project, Mayor Eberle stopped me at the door of Borough Hall and said the meeting was only for RESIDENTS of Hillside Road.  I was not allowed to attend! What sort of "deal" or "promise" is being made to residents of Hillside that WE should know about?  I have good reason to be suspicious.

Comment by Michael S. Taddei on June 22, 2017 at 4:53pm

The main safety issue, in my opinion, is the dozens of kids that walk out in the street up Hillside Road at the end of each school day because they don't have an option to use sidewalk on Hillside. From the bottom of the hill, there is only sidewalk on one side of the road and it ends about 1/3 of the way up the NW side of the road.

If the Continental aka Island bridge is ADA compliant, why not just scrap the replacement of the silt basin bridge entirely and use the funds to add, where missing, and repair, where damaged, all of the needed sidewalks to ensure safe routes to the middle and elementary schools?

Comment by tim devabey on May 25, 2017 at 8:36pm

I reviewed the plan to construct a sidewalk crossing the floodplain near the silt basin upstream of the Lake.  Seriously, why does the proposed sidewalk go down Dupont Street to a point below the ballfield and then go back upstream to reach the proposed new bridge to Hillside?  Children cross the floodplain toward the upstream (outfield) side of the ballfield because it is a shorter way to get to the bridge!

This plan looks more like a "ballfield improvement plan" than the "safe route to school" which it is being called.

Does the plan also include repair of the numerous sidewalk code violations currently existing in the school district "unsafe routes to school?"

Comment by tim devabey on March 31, 2016 at 4:43pm

@Howard,

Here are three recent pictures of the existing "safe routes to school" along Constitution Avenue in the Ridley School District.  Who is sweeping the sidewalks at the present time?  Will the condition and maintenance standard improve with new sidewalks crossing nearby flood plain field?     

Comment by tim devabey on March 31, 2016 at 4:36pm

Comment by Howard McCoy on March 31, 2016 at 10:55am

A@Tim - If there's no sidewalk across Flood Plain Field now, is there a need to spend money in a flood plain to put-in a sidewalk for the future?

Comment by tim devabey on March 30, 2016 at 5:21pm

@Howard,

Yes, the proposed five feet wide (25% wider than the borough's four feet wide standard width) concrete sidewalk would run more or less parallel to the base paths from first to home, home to third, and third to second bases, and then further--do the math and estimate the distance.  Also, the figure of $530,000 needs revising.  At the recent (second) meeting with the Hillside people, I think I heard it said that this project would require matching funds from the Borough in the amount of $160,000.  Total expenditure would now be more like $690,000.

Comment by Howard McCoy on March 30, 2016 at 8:19am

@Tim:  The line of sight makes a good point here Tim like you write. You see the bridge and the shortest point is likely to be the direction of the traffic. If I'm understanding your correctly the proposed footpath is along the 3rd base side of Flood Plain Field, correct?

Comment by tim devabey on March 29, 2016 at 2:37pm

Dear RPOL,

Here is a picture of the crosswalk painted on DuPont Street near the Middle School.  As you can see, it more or less lines up with the direction children take to get to the bridge.  I think a straight line is usually the shortest distance between two points.  What sensible person is going to turn left after crossing this street and then walk several hundred feet around the ball field then back upstream to get to the pedestrian bridge?  And yet, that is the proposed sidewalk location for the "safe route to school" expenditure--ignoring the shortest, direct route.   And who pays to keep extending the chain-link fence you can see in the background along the creek?  The school children routinely walk around the right end of the fence.

Comment by tim devabey on March 29, 2016 at 2:25pm

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