Some York Township residents are growing increasingly uneasy as they face the new year without a traffic light that eases their way onto Route 124, and more than 330 people have signed an online petition that asks the township for action.
Continuing construction at two places on Route 124 (Mount Rose Avenue/Prospect Road) to widen traffic lanes means that a traffic signal at the intersection of Route 124 and Chambers Road will be taken out this month, when weather permits.
Jay Cohen, a resident who uses the intersection to leave the Starview Heights development where he lives, initially wasn't concerned about losing the light. When the flashing sign from PennDOT went up advertising the change, he assumed new access to a coming light at Plymouth Road and Route 124 would solve the problem. But then he learned such access isn't planned.
Instead, Cohen estimates that drivers from about 600 homes will be left without any traffic lights to exit Starview Heights, Heritage Hills and three condominium complexes on Chambers Road.
Online petition: Cohen said his neighbors also assumed a new light was going in, and now are becoming "livid" as they think about not having an easy or safe way to exit their neighborhoods.
"It's a train wreck waiting to happen," Cohen said.
PennDOT will be taking the light out and creating a right-hand turning lane onto Chambers Road. Drivers will be able only to turn right onto Route 124 from Chambers Road.
Cohen said there are three other ways of leaving the area, but all of them are at stop signs while facing streams of traffic, especially during rush hours.
Cohen created a website that details why he believes the traffic light was essential, and why the township needs to consider funding a traffic light at another location. Included on the site is a link to an online petition, which sends an email to York Township Commissioner Robert Kessler every time someone signs it.
"I think my computer's about to explode," Kessler said.
Plymouth Road: PennDOT spokesman Greg Penny said the state will be putting in conduits that would support a traffic light at the intersection of Plymouth Road and Route 124, but funding for any future light installation would have to come from the local level. That intersection is located in Springettsbury Township.
Springettsbury Township Manager John Holman said the light at Plymouth Road and Route 124 has been approved and will eventually be put in, and partially funded by Heritage Hills Golf Resort & Conference Center. But Matt DeRose, owner of Heritage Hills, said an agreement was never reached to connect Chambers Road to that intersection.
Cohen said a light could also go in at the intersection of Skylight Drive and Route 24 (Cape Horn Road), which would be located in York Township.
Wait and see: Cohen said he's heard a "wait-and-see" mentality from York Township so far, and is hoping he and his neighbors will spur officials to action.
"That to me is not the right answer," Cohen said. "It's not something we just watch."
Kessler, of York Township, said the commissioners do not have the authority to install a light, but could look into funding options for another light if the public deems it necessary in the coming months.
Cohen said his goal is to act as a facilitator of the information between local officials and the community, and hopes to contact the people who have signed the petition. If he can garner enough support, Cohen said he plans to attend York Township meetings to share the concerns of the community with township officials.
"This is a great neighborhood," Cohen said. "It's centrally located. The light was the way you got out."
-- Reach Nikelle Snader at firstname.lastname@example.org.