Northeast Times

Civic group discusses dangers on Holme Avenue

Those who think that dan­ger­ous drivers are a grow­ing prob­lem along Holme Av­en­ue are mis­taken.

Ac­tu­ally, they’ve been a prob­lem for a long time, ac­cord­ing to City Coun­cil­man Denny O’Bri­en, who cited a vari­ety of ac­ci­dent stat­ist­ics to sup­port this as­ser­tion dur­ing the monthly meet­ing of the Holme Circle Civic As­so­ci­ation on March 27.

In Feb­ru­ary, mem­bers of the civic group asked the area’s elec­ted of­fi­cials to help them quell per­sist­ent speed­ing and reck­less­ness along the four-lane, park­way-style av­en­ue. O’Bri­en, a Re­pub­lic­an at-large mem­ber of Coun­cil and former state rep­res­ent­at­ive for the neigh­bor­hood, re­por­ted last week that po­lice will use stat­ist­ics to guide a new traffic en­force­ment ef­fort.

As of the civic meet­ing date, there had been 34 ac­ci­dents in 2013 on Holme Av­en­ue, which ori­gin­ates at Roosevelt Boulevard ad­ja­cent to Naz­areth Hos­pit­al and con­tin­ues east­ward for two miles, ter­min­at­ing at the in­ter­sec­tion of Academy Road and Linden Av­en­ue. As of the same date last year, there also had been 34 ac­ci­dents, O’Bri­en said.

There were 72 ac­ci­dents re­por­ted on Holme Av­en­ue for all of 2012, about half of which oc­curred between the 2900 and 3100 blocks, the seg­ment im­me­di­ately ad­join­ing the traffic circle for which the civic as­so­ci­ation is named.

“This may be linked to mo­tor­ist con­fu­sion how to nav­ig­ate the circle,” O’Bri­en said.

The traffic circle links the av­en­ue with Ashton and Welsh roads, as well as Axe Fact­ory Road, which in­ter­sects with Welsh just north of the circle. Traffic sig­nals or­ches­trate vehicle flow. Holme Av­en­ue bi­sects the circle so that east­bound and west­bound traffic need not use the circle un­less turn­ing onto one of the sec­ond­ary roads. This prob­ably as­sists traffic flow through the circle, but also of­fers a heightened op­por­tun­ity for speed­ing.

The pos­ted speed lim­it on Holme Av­en­ue is 30 mph, a re­stric­tion that al­most “nobody” obeys, said O’Bri­en, who also noted that about 8 per­cent or about one in 12 ac­ci­dents in­volve a mov­ing vehicle strik­ing a parked one, usu­ally be­long­ing to an av­en­ue res­id­ent.

Po­lice will treat the afore­men­tioned blocks as ac­ci­dent “hot spots” and em­ploy ad­di­tion­al units dur­ing key times and days of the week, ac­cord­ing to the coun­cil­man, who said he brought neigh­bors’ com­plaints to Capt. Le­onard Ditch­kof­sky, com­mand­er of the 8th Po­lice Dis­trict. Monday morn­ings seem to be the busiest peri­od for ac­ci­dents, with 11 per­cent of them oc­cur­ring between 7 a.m. and noon on that week­day, O’Bri­en said.

On an un­re­lated top­ic, Sis­ter Celine Warnilo of the Sis­ters of the Holy Fam­ily of Naz­areth ad­dressed the civic meet­ing about re­cent de­vel­op­ments on the pro­posed sale of the or­der’s con­vent at 2701 Holme Ave. The Holy Fam­ily sis­ters had agreed to sell the six-story, 45,000-square-foot build­ing to a com­pany that planned to con­vert it in­to apart­ments for low-in­come res­id­ents. Neigh­bors and the area’s elec­ted of­fi­cials op­posed the $11 mil­lion apart­ment pro­pos­al, which re­lied on a state fund­ing com­pon­ent.

Earli­er this month, a state agency re­jec­ted pub­lic fund­ing for the pro­ject and the de­veloper with­drew its plans.

Sis­ter Celine thanked the civic as­so­ci­ation “for bring­ing the com­munity’s con­cerns to us” and for “pro­tect­ing” the nuns, who will soon move to a new smal­ler dwell­ing next door to the old con­vent.

“Are we sad we still own this prop­erty? Yes we are,” the sis­ter said. “But we have faith God will provide us with a buy­er that is very good for the com­munity and for us.”

State Rep. John Sabat­ina and O’Bri­en offered to as­sist the civic as­so­ci­ation and the nuns in their search for a new buy­er.

“We’re go­ing to be try­ing hard to find a new buy­er for the sis­ters,” Sabat­ina said, not­ing that state Reps. Ed Neilson and Kev­in Boyle, along with O’Bri­en, City Coun­cil­man Bobby Hen­on and state Sen. Mike Stack all stood be­hind the civic as­so­ci­ation’s op­pos­i­tion. “I be­lieve we did make the right de­cision re­gard­ing the ori­gin­al ap­plic­a­tion.” •• 

Re­port­er Wil­li­am Kenny can be reached at 215-354-3031 or wkenny@bsmphilly.com

You can reach at wkenny@bsmphilly.com.

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