Northeast Times

State Road lane changes get a green light

Start­Frag­ment

The four-lane con­fig­ur­a­tion of State Road in Tor­res­dale will not re­turn with the im­min­ent con­clu­sion of a mul­ti­year sew­er and wa­ter main in­stall­a­tion pro­ject.

Speak­ing at the monthly gen­er­al meet­ing of the East Tor­res­dale Civic As­so­ci­ation on Jan. 9, Phil­adelphia Streets De­part­ment en­gin­eer Steve Lorenz re­por­ted that the city will use a three-lane con­fig­ur­a­tion to al­low for the cre­ation of ded­ic­ated bi­cycle lanes.

For cars, there will be one north­bound lane, one south­bound lane and a cent­ral left-turn lane.

“For a num­ber of years, we’ve been de­bat­ing wheth­er to put bike lanes on State Road,” Lorenz said. “So we used this pro­ject to see how one lane in each dir­ec­tion would work. It worked well.”

Ac­cord­ing to Lorenz, the bi­cycle lanes will be a stand­ard 5 feet in width and will be­come part of “Bike Route E,” a con­tinu­ous bi­cycle route/trail stretch­ing from Mor­ris­ville, Bucks County, at the New Jer­sey bor­der to Mar­cus Hook, Delaware County, at the Delaware bor­der. It links with sim­il­ar routes in oth­er states to form the East Coast Gre­en­way, a con­tinu­ous “urb­an path” from Cal­ais, Maine, to Key West, Fla., for non-mo­tor­ized hu­man trans­port­a­tion.

Ini­tially, Tor­res­dale Av­en­ue was to carry the neigh­bor­hood’s seg­ment of the route, but State Road will in­stead be the of­fi­cial route.

Lorenz noted that en­gin­eers ob­served no pro­hib­it­ive vehicle traffic snarls with the three-lane con­fig­ur­a­tion dur­ing the sew­er and wa­ter main con­struc­tion, aside from typ­ic­al delays caused by mo­tor­ists mak­ing left turns.

One neigh­bor ques­tioned the wis­dom of re­du­cing ca­pa­city on State Road, con­sid­er­ing many mo­tor­ists use it as an al­tern­ate route for the nearby In­ter­state 95, par­tic­u­larly when traffic is at a stand­still on the high­way.

“More times than not, 95 is not backed up,” Lorenz said. “And when it is, ob­vi­ously traffic goes all over the place.”

Oth­er neigh­bors re­ques­ted spe­cif­ic modi­fic­a­tions to the new con­fig­ur­a­tion. One asked for “left turn” ar­rows and mark­ings in front of the Baker’s Bay con­domin­i­um com­plex. Mark­ings have been in­stalled in front of the neigh­bor­ing Delaire Land­ing com­plex, but not at Baker’s Bay.

An­oth­er neigh­bor re­ques­ted that the streets de­part­ment in­stall turn­ing ar­rows on east­bound Linden Av­en­ue at State Road to im­prove traffic flow through the in­ter­sec­tion. Linden Av­en­ue is wide enough for a ded­ic­ated left turn lane with an­oth­er lane for right turns and through traffic. Yet, there are no lane mark­ings, so many left-turn­ers sit in the middle and block trail­ing cars while wait­ing for on­com­ing traffic to clear.

An­oth­er neigh­bor re­minded Lorenz to have “no truck park­ing” signs re-in­stalled along north­bound State Road north of Aren­del Street. The signs were re­moved for the sew­er and wa­ter pro­ject.

In un­re­lated busi­ness, lead­ers of the civic as­so­ci­ation agreed to meet with the own­er of Mag­gie’s Wa­ter­front Caf&ea­cute; to dis­cuss his on­go­ing zon­ing vari­ance and li­quor li­cense ap­plic­a­tions.

The city’s Zon­ing Board of Ad­just­ment re­cently ap­proved two vari­ances for the bar/res­taur­ant at 9242 N. Delaware Ave., in­clud­ing one for the con­struc­tion of a new ex­ter­i­or walk-in cool­er and one for the con­struc­tion of an en­clos­ure for a set of ex­ter­i­or Bilco-style doors.

Three oth­er vari­ance ap­plic­a­tions are pending with the ZBA, ac­cord­ing to the busi­ness own­er, Kev­in Good­child. In ad­di­tion, Good­child has ap­plied to the Pennsylvania Li­quor Con­trol Board to ex­tend the use of his li­quor li­cense on the prop­erty.

Good­child says he has in­ves­ted some $300,000 to ren­ov­ate and ex­pand Mag­gie’s with the con­sent of neigh­bors, some of whom now op­pose modi­fy­ing the li­quor li­cense.

Mean­while, the ETCA has form­ally op­posed Good­child’s three un­re­solved vari­ance ap­plic­a­tions, which in­volve the modi­fic­a­tion of lot lines, the leg­al­iz­a­tion of park­ing and the fur­ther ex­pan­sion of the bar/res­taur­ant.

Of­ficers of the ETCA in­vited Good­child to at­tend their next ex­ec­ut­ive board meet­ing to dis­cuss his plans. Al­though that meet­ing is not open to the pub­lic, Good­child is ex­pec­ted to speak pub­licly at the civic group’s next gen­er­al meet­ing on Monday, Feb. 13, at 7 p.m., at Liberty Evan­gel­ic­al Free Church, Linden Av­en­ue and Mil­nor Street. ••

End­Frag­ment

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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