Proposal for Temple Boulevard discussed at council meeting

At last borough council meeting, Borough Engineer William Kirchner discussed a proposal to address ongoing concerns about traffic issues on Temple Boulevard.

At last borough council meeting, Borough Engineer William Kirchner discussed a proposal to address ongoing concerns about traffic issues on Temple Boulevard.

A comprehensive evaluation of all existing conditions on the road and surrounding areas has been conducted, according to the borough. A $250,000 Municipal Aid Grant from the state in was awarded to the borough for the reconstruction of Temple Boulevard. With this in mind, Kirchner believes he and his team have a plan that will address residents’ concerns.

Some major concerns for residents have been the heavy volume and fast-moving traffic along with difficult pedestrian crossings, according to Kirchner. During the meeting, Kirchner unveiled the findings to several studies conducted over the past several years and spoke about ideas to make improvements to the road.

Temple Boulevard, which has a speed limit of 25 miles an hour, connects to many streets throughout town. Kirchner said a study included an investigation of accidents and speed, among others.

“Over three years, there wasn’t a lot of accidents,” Kirchner said.

The ones that did take place could not be attributed to any cause except distracted driving, according to Kirchner. However, the speed data revealed drivers were technically speeding.

“The speed data revealed that the 85 percentile of speeding … were traveling around 35 miles an hour or less,” Kirchner said.

After further investigation, Kirchner believes the concerns from residents about speeding, primarily involving in trucks, have an unexpected cause. According to Kirchner, the road has a concrete roadway with asphalt overlay and when the concrete shifts around during seasonal variation, the asphalt and the “joints in between” start to build a lump, called a “tire knocker,” which may be the root cause of the complaints.

“Every 50 feet a car or truck is going down the road, you get that sound where it is hitting that bump,” Kirchner explained. “We think what that is causing is the perception of more speed and louder more disruptive trucks.”

To combat the issue, Kirchner unveiled an idea to slow down traffic in the most cost-efficient way by installing chokers and curb extensions at every intersection. Instead of removing concrete, which is the “most expensive option,” Kirchner believes by extending the curb against the travel lanes, motorists will have a “visual closeness” that will deter drivers from speeding. In addition, this plan would not eliminate any legal parking spots, according to Kirchner.

“These things are not necessarily locked in stone,” Kirchner said. “The nuts and bolts of the design are not done.”

The next meeting has not yet been announced. Residents are encouraged to check out the borough website, http://boroughofpalmyra.com/minutes-agendas, for updates on the next meeting.