Park needs more walking routes

I am pleased there was a letter and an article about driving conditions on Bells Mill Road.  The letter indicates the conditions are hazardous to vehicle passengers and residents, though, for the latter, it does not indicate the nature of the residents’ hazard.  I will take it that he means pedestrians and bicyclists, who are a much greater risk in an accident than those in automobiles.

The article, as opposed to the LTE, specifies those injuries to residents.  There is a rather detailed recounting of the property damage caused by careening cars.

There was no description of the hair-raising danger to a pedestrian or bicyclist who tries to enter this beautiful park without driving. It makes little sense to drive to a park to walk when one can walk to that park to walk.  It makes about as much sense as driving 12 miles round trip several times a week to tend to an organic gardening plot to prove one is environmentally responsible.  Especially so when there is public space available to garden within a walkable distance.  If there were will to do so.

There are reckless and safe drivers on Bells Mills Road. The most careful of pedestrians, however, is foolhardy to walk to Forbidden Drive on Bells Mills. There is ongoing reconstruction of trails along Valley Green.  Nevertheless, it has a good share of hazards.

There are many complaints of the parking and traffic conditions in and near the Valley Green and Bells Mills lots. If parking lots in and out of narrow, clogged roads to the park are overwhelmed, perhaps the best solution is more parking spaces taking up more park space.  Or, to conserve park space, build a multi-story garage.  But, since this wouldn’t improve the ingress and egress, it is impracticable.

The only practical way, as I see it, is take the pressure off car traffic by making walking and biking safer and more attractive for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The distance to walk to Forbidden Drive is reasonable for many Hill residents, but actually walking – not so much.  Let’s overburden the parking lots, create traffic jams, and cause vehicular accidents to show how much we love nature.  How ecologically friendly.

Thomas Shoener
Chestnut Hill


Deer cull must stop

The orange colored curfew signs are now apparent in Wissahickon Park as I expect that they are also in the other four park areas within the Fairmount Park system.

Once again, a special permit issued by the Pennslyvania Game Commission allows for the unwarranted eviction of deer by death from their rightful homes.  Beginning Dec.  1 through March 31, 2017, the United States Department of Agriculture’s euphemistically named Wildlife Services will take aim at deer, our state animal.

Initially, this shoot to kill operation, begun in March, 1999, was planned and executed by a private contractor.  His method was called ‘’remote euthanasia.’’ What? And now, the method remains the same, except taxpayer funded Wildlife Services has been the terminator since 2001.

This, the 19th year that Wissahickon Park has been under attack, demonstrates that ‘’culling” is self-perpetuating.  How many more deer have to die? To date, the body count for the five park areas targeted is a reported 3,188 deer. It’s been reported that ‘’although culling has eliminated a significant number, deer have continued to reproduce in high numbers.’’ No surprise there.

It was on June 15, 1998 that ecology and biology professor Thomas Eveland was here for a public presentation titled, ‘’Why Killing Deer Makes Poor Park Management.’’ Dr. Eveland views proposals to kill deer in parks with much skepticism. And, of course, the powers that be dismissed his knowledge of deer biology and ecology.  The significance of his expertise resonates today.

Several months ago, I met a former board member of the Chestnut Hill Community Association in the Wissahickon who described this on-going assault on deer as ‘’criminal.’’ Amen to that.

The longer this hellish cycle of violence continues, the more it’s accepted. It’s unacceptable! Speak up!


Bridget Irons
Chestnut Hill