PennDOT’s proposal of shutting down access roads, widening Route 413, and building two cloverleafs in the area of U.S. Route 1 and Route 413 in Langhorne raises three concerns:
• 1) an influx of traffic onto residential neighborhood streets and into already congested areas of Langhorne Borough;
• 2) a dangerous situation for pedestrians, including those with disabilities, who have to cross Route 413 to access the playground, library, churches, and shopping areas;
• 3) a waste of taxpayer money and resources.
The access roads that parallel U.S. 1 are used by drivers going to Neshaminy High School, to the entrance of Our Lady of Grace Cemetery, and to get on and off U.S. 1 via the side streets in Langhorne and Langhorne Manor boroughs. They provide a traffic relief valve that must not be shut off.
PennDOT’s justification for closing the access roads is the lack of a shoulder for disabled cars on U.S. 1, which presents a safety issue for drivers and emergency workers. Obviously, this valid concern should be remedied, but not in the way PennDOT has designed.
At present, there are 16-foot-wide concrete barriers between the highway and access roads. If those concrete barriers were removed and replaced with narrow metal barriers (such as already used in the center of the highway), there would be sufficient room to provide a shoulder for US 1 traffic. The access roads would be preserved.
Because current traffic patterns would not change, the residential streets and major intersections of historic Langhorne Borough would not experience the influx of traffic that will occur under PennDOT’s proposed plan.
Two expensive cloverleafs would not be needed. Property for their construction would not have to be acquired. Route 413 would not have to be widened. A fraction of the money saved could be used to add bike lanes and better crosswalks.
This simpler, much more economical alternative would mitigate, rather than exacerbate, traffic woes and threats to safety already experienced by pedestrians and drivers in Langhorne Borough.
Patricia L. Mervine, Langhorne/Middletown