20 February 2023 Meet Mack Monday Meeting Summary
Thirteen people (mostly Newtown Twp residents) attended this Zoom meeting, which focused on the following topics (view the presentation below...):
- 2023 Road Repaving Program: What roads are on the list? How are roads selected? Is there enough money to repave all 4.5 miles of roads?
- Earned Income Tax: 2022 Data, Future Concerns
- Reduced Speed Limits: What’s Next for Newtown-Yardley Road and Sycamore Street?
- 2022 Speeding Citations: Which Roads Saw The Most Citations? Which Saw None?
- Newtown Shopping Center Traffic Study
- Environmental Advisory Council Update: Earth Day Celebration, Single-Use Plastics Ban, and Solar Power
- Privilege of the Floor – Q&A Session covering the following:
- Detailed Meeting Notes
The following is a 15-minute video recording of the presentation that was made at the beginning of the meeting:
The 2023 bid package consists of 2.32 miles of roads to be paved (BASE BID) as well as 2.18 miles of additional roads if there is enough money (ALTERNATE BID). This works out to a total cost estimate of $1,342,308 for 4.5 miles of roads. See “8 February 2023 BOS Meeting Summary” for the list of roads included in the bid.
Unfortunately not enough money is available to pave all the roads. For more details, refer to the notes below.
On February 8, 2023, the BOS unanimously approved lowering the speed limit on North AND South Sycamore Street to 25 MPH.
ORDINANCE No. 2023-O-2 states: “Sycamore Street has been re-designated as North Sycamore Street (between Durham Road and Swamp Road/West Washington Avenue, and South Sycamore Street (between Swamp Road/West Washington Avenue and the Newtown Bypass), and the Board of Supervisors desires to establish a 25 miles per hour maximum speed limit on both North Sycamore Street and South Sycamore Street in the best interests of the public health, safety, and welfare and to allow proper enforcement of the maximum speed limits.” See page 8 of the 2023 BOS Chronicle for the Sycamore Street Speed Signage plan. Also, see the North Sycamore Street Pedestrian Safety Timeline.
Following that, the speed limit on Newtown-Yardley Road from Washington Avenue (Borough border) to Lower Dolington Road was also reduced to 25 MPH. Residents of Newtown Walk advocated for that at the October 26 , 2022, Newtown Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting. View the video of comments made by residents.
- Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons will be installed at crosswalks (Tara Blvd & Silo Dr). When? Refer to the notes below.
- Speed limits will be “electronically” enforced on these roads. How? Refer to the notes below.
What About Lower Dolington Road?
A resident proposed that the speed limit on Lower Dolington Rd south of Frost Lane also be reduced for the safety of pedestrians using the crosswalk at Barnsley Blvd. Listen to the discussion below.
Follow up: After the meeting, I drove past the crosswalk on Lower Dolington Road and noticed that it did not include “piano striping” (aka continental markings), which have been proven to make crosswalks more visible to motorists (read “Crosswalk Visibility Study”). Since practically ALL such crosswalks in Newtown have been repainted with these stripes, I contacted Micah Lewis, the Newtown Township Manager, and requested that the Newtown Public Works Department paint the bars on this crosswalk too. Within minutes Mr. Lewis responded “[Joseph Schiavoni, Director of Public Works] will take care of that crosswalk when weather permits…”
How many speeding citations did the Newtown PD issue in 2022? On which roads did motorists get speeding tickets? Which roads did NOT have speeding citations? To get a better idea of speeding enforcement by the Newtown Township’s Police Department (NTPD), I analyzed the Department’s traffic citations issued in 2022. The following charts were presented:
Two roads are conspicuously missing: Newtown-Yardley Road and Sycamore Street. This is surprising given all the comments from residents – as well as certain BOS members – regarding speeding on these roads.
- Brixmor's Traffic Consultants (Langan) prepared a Traffic Study
- “Significant” queuing delays were found: Are You Surprised?
- Township Engineer is “currently preparing formal recommendations on mitigation,” but not regarding queuing delays
For more details, refer to the notes below.
Calling Upon Citizens With Specific Skill Sets
Marc Björkman suggested a novel idea for residents to advise supervisors and the township regarding specific problems such as traffic mitigation. After all, there are many residents in Newtown who have a "specific set of skills" that can be called upon to inform Newtown Township Supervisors on various issues. Listen to the discussion below.
The Newtown Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) recently discussed plans for celebrating Earth Day, which is Saturday, April 22, 2023. The Council hopes to have videos and speakers at the Newtown Theatre, probably sometime before Earth Day.
Council members also discussed its draft ordinance for a mandatory ban of single-use plastics, which includes bags, straws, utensils, cups, and styrofoam containers. Newtown already passed a resolution calling for a voluntary ban of single-use plastics. According to a post on Facebook: “[The Council] anticipates following up the voluntary elimination by businesses with a mandatory ordinance to be presented to the Supervisors in 2023.”
EAC members informed me that Tyler State Park erected a solar array near the entrance at Swamp Rd and the Bypass/Durham Rd.
It is estimated that once once completed by the end of the year and connected to the PECO grid, the solar array will reduce yearly electric costs at the park from about $17,500 a year down to $1,500.
The cost: $377,000 paid for via the Pennsylvania’s Growing Greener grant program. Read "Big Solar Array Erected at #NewtownPA Side of Tyler State Park."
A meeting attendee raised the issue of handicap parking on the east side of North Sycamore Street between Newtown Pizza and Penn Community Bank. Listen to this 2-minute edited audio snippet of that conversation:
See the meeting notes embedded below or download the PDF file here.