The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


June 19, 2014

Point of no return?

After reading the June 10 article about PennDOT and possibly placing a median in the center of the Veterans Memorial Bridge, it finally dawned on me that our society has maybe reached a “point of no return.”

After the deaths of Kirk Mahaffey and his son, Mayson, in 2012, PennDOT in their infinite wisdom, decided to spend $19,000 to re-paint the lines on the bridge providing an extra “buffer space” between the lanes. Why not simply lower the speed limit on the bridge to 35 mph, at a fraction of the cost. I use the bridge on a somewhat regular basis and adhere to the 45 mph ... only to be passed by motorists easily traveling well past the speed limit. I have a hard time believing that the extra buffer space is going to spare anyone at these speeds.

So, here’s my proposal to PennDOT: yes, place those concrete medians in the middle and then do something radical ... lower the speed limit. Then change the bridge to one lane in each direction (Yes, it can be physically done). This would allow the pedestrian sidewalk to be widened drastically and even create some “green space” with benches. Maybe, this would encourage folks to walk and bike the bridge more.

I can hear the outcries already. “Whaddya mean, slow down.” Our world continues at such a frenetic pace, and at what price? Even our car commercials promote the “zoom, zoom” mentality. So what if it takes you an additional 30 seconds to cross the span? The life saved may be your own ... or the life of a 3-year-old boy.

John Pitfido,

Coal Township

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