SALISBURY TOWNSHIP BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
A group of eastern Salisbury Township residents is seeking speed humps to be installed on Lehigh Avenue to reduce the speed of vehicles they claim endanger the safety of youths and families in the vicinity of Laubach Park.
Salisbury Township Manager Randy Soriano said pedestrian safety and traffic at Laubach Park could be looked at in a proposed master plan for the park.
At the July 11 township board of commissioners' meeting, Rita Bittner and Colby Jackson presented a Lehigh Avenue speed humps request petition they said was signed by 45 Laubach Park area residents.
"We've observed people driving at excessive speed," Jackson said.
"Lehigh Avenue is broad and encourages people to speed," Bittner said.
"A lot of people treat Lehigh Avenue as if it's Emmaus Avenue or Susquehanna Street," Bittner said.
Bittner and Jackson said they feared a speeding vehicle might strike a youth near Laubach Park where numerous sports competitions are held. Bittner and Jackson referred to a crash they said took place in the vicinity of the park.
Lehigh Avenue extends approximately from Tweed Avenue in the west to Park Avenue in the east. Laubach Park is near the eastern terminus on the south side of Lehigh Avenue.
Bittner and Jackson said some other Lehigh Valley townships, boroughs and cities have installed speed humps. Bethlehem officials installed speed humps on a portion of Main Street Extension.
"If payment is an issue, I'll do a fundraiser," Jackson said of funding the speed humps.
A master plan for Laubach, similar to one completed for Lindberg Park, is "in the works," according to Soriano. The plan could include crosswalks and other features, Soriano said.
"We can look at that area with some sort of traffic calming," Soriano said.
"I don't know that it's a good idea to have speed humps," Salisbury Township Police Chief Allen W. Stiles said.
Stiles does not favor the installation of speed humps because they could interfere with the transit of police and fire vehicles responding to calls.
Township Commissioner Joanne Ackerman noted speed humps cannot be placed in the vicinity of Green Acres Park because of the nearby fire station.
Soriano asked Salisbury Township Consulting Engineer David J. Tettemer for his opinion about the use of speed humps, whereby a raised area of macadam is placed on a street, with warning signs posted, limiting the speed of vehicles to approximately 25 mph or less.
"One of the best ways to calm traffic is if people obey the speed limit," Tettemer said.
He urged Laubach Park area residents to obey the speed limit, which in residential areas in Pennsylvania, is 25 mph.
Tettemer reasoned if non-residents encountered more vehicles traveling the speed limit, Lehigh Avenue might not be used as what is said to be an alternative to Susquehanna Street or Emmaus Avenue by east and west-bound drivers.
Stiles said the township police department could conduct a speed survey of Lehigh Avenue.
"We do a lot of traffic enforcement in Salisbury Township," Stiles said.
The survey would monitor vehicles per hour, average speed and mean speed.
"The equipment we have is very good," Stiles said.
The monitoring equipment would be first set up without displaying the speed of passing vehicles. Later, the display, depicting in large electronicaly-lit numbers the speed of an approaching vehicle, would be activated.
Stiles said the traffic survey would take place over a 48-hour period. He said an alarm is set off if someone touches the sign.
"If they're speeding every 10 minutes, we'll be there," Stiles said of township police traffic enforcement.
"I don't think you're going to get a speeder every 10 minutes," township Commissioner Debra Brinton said. She said she is familiar with traffic concerns in the Laubach Park area because of her Salisbury Youth Association volunteer work.
"I know from going to games there, you park at your own risk," Brinton said.
Jackson said parking in the park area is a problem. "People block driveways there. I can't even get out of my driveway," Jackson said.
"We might have something at the next meeting," Board of Commissioners' President James Brown said, referring to the 7 p.m. July 25 township meeting in the Municipal Building, 2900 S. Pike Avenue.