Thursday, May 30, 2013

Hey PennDOT, DON'T Fix West Carson Street

May 29, 2013

Mr. Dan Cessna
District Executive
45 Thoms Run Road
Bridgeville, PA 15017

Dear Dan:

About the proposed West Carson Street rebuild: Having attended the December 7, 2011, presentation in the West End and talked to project engineers, then reviewed both the preliminary plans in March 2012 and the final plans, I have but one thing to say on the project:


As I understand it, the motivating concern on the project is a failing bridge over Chartiers Creek. In short, I think you should replace the bridge and do nothing else. What I do not want to happen is to spend $20 million on a rebuild that does not work, and then not be able to do anything to reverse the error for 20 years because “we just worked on that.” In other words, leave West Carson in its broken condition until an acceptable project plan is developed. This is not it.

I suppose I must explain my conclusions. First, I am aware that this stretch of West Carson, between the West End Circle and McKees Rocks, has not seen any significant work since the trolleys and the Point Bridge were pulled out in the 1950s. However, as a regular user in several modes – driver, motorcyclist, transit user (daily trips to Robinson and Moon on the busway), bicyclist and pedestrian – I can state unequivocally that the new design is a waste of money. Aside from new pavement and drainage, there is nothing to make the road any safer for anyone. It will remain an unenforceable, cars-only speedway.

As a cyclist, I am hoping to be able to bike as easily and comfortably to McKees Rocks as I can now do to Millvale. That cannot happen in this design. Sharrows do not work at 35 mph, traffic speeds on West Carson routinely exceed 50, and will continue to. That is a deadly combination. Do not do it.

Look at The Waterfront in Homestead. That design works there and would work here. Put a sidewalk and a bi-directional bike lane on one side (the river side), and two traffic lanes. That’s all you need, except for the junction at the West Busway and at Corliss Street, where I agree you need a left turn lane. Everyplace else from Stanhope to the West End Bridge, that turn lane is completely unnecessary. You far more need to provide the future constant stream of cyclists and pedestrians a safe place to move, than a turn lane anywhere other than those two spots.

Again, if you cannot consider doing the above, do nothing but fix the broken Chartiers Creek bridge.

Thank you for your consideration.

Stuart M. Strickland