Holes like this one on Germantown Avenue, with loose stone, pose a saftey concern for both drivers and pedestrians. (Photo by Bob Previdi)

Holes like this one on Germantown Avenue, with loose stone, pose a saftey concern for both drivers and pedestrians. (Photo by Bob Previdi)

by Bob Previdi

This past Tuesday, I took a walk to Mt Airy to meet a friend for coffee. I saw some of the small decorative stones lose in the intersection of Germantown Avenue and Cresheim Valley Drive, so I took a photo to forward to the city’s Streets Department as I often do to get them repaired. They don’t usually repair them properly, just fill it with asphalt to stop the hole from getting larger. By Friday the hole was still there and getting larger.

While I was taking the picture, a young woman came up to me with her two small children. She said she believed the loose stones were dangerous – that they might pop-up and be tossed by a passing car. We had a conversation about pedestrian safety (she is from Germany) and we parted at the New Covenant Campus which led me to believe she does this walk regularly with her children.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I care about our community and the safety of pedestrians. It led me to write this column and suggest to the community that it is time to rethink the safety of this intersection both in the short and long term.

Being a major gateway to Chestnut Hill, Cresheim Valley Drive at Germantown Avenue is not a very pleasant place to begin with. Cars just go too fast and seem to ignore pedestrians. And with the stones flying around, it’s worse. It is not safe for pedestrians or drivers and needs to be fixed.

While the problem of stones lifting is pervasive up and down Germantown Avenue, this particular problem is much narrower in scope, and I feel we can take quick action to remedy it. The spot I want to focus everyone attention on are two strips of Cresheim Valley Drive on either side of the trolley tracks on Germantown Avenue.

At this point, 14,000 cars a day cross according to traffic counts available at the Delaware Valley Planning Commission’s web site. This causes the small stones to come lose on many occasions and fly off. They can be found littered all over the intersection and the area surrounding it.

We were warned by Pennoni Associates, the contractor for the State Department of Transportation at the time the roadway was reconstructed, that these small stones may not hold, and their warnings have come true. It is time to be pragmatic and make safety our first priority.

I am a member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Traffic Transportation and Parking Committee and invite anybody with constructive ideas to contact me at bobprevidi@verizon.net.

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