Residents on Old Lancaster Road Have New Concern . . . Raised Crosswalks

This is a cautionary tale . . .

I received an email from a Berwyn resident asking that I add a warning to drivers on Old Lancaster Road in regards to recently installed raised crosswalks.  She indicated that there were 2 crosswalks; one in front of the Timothy School and the other much more elevated crosswalk was installed down by TE Middle School.  She described a car losing its oil pan when the driver went over the elevated crosswalk — car had to be towed as a result!

Wondering why a crosswalk would be raised to the level that was causing car damage, I drove to Old Lancaster yesterday to see for myself.  First I came to the Timothy School crosswalk and although there was no warning signs to indicate the elevated crosswalk, it didn’t seem to be out of line in scope of construction.

But then I drove down to the other crosswalk down by the middle school.  All I can say is WOW . . . never saw this kind of walkway (nor apparently have the residents or the car drivers I spoke with on Old Lancaster).  Not only is this crosswalk elevated at a higher level than usual, the angle of the elevation  is a very steep incline for cars.  And the width (or length) of the crosswalk seems very long . . . it must be a car and a half long.

There are no blinking signs, no flourescent stripes on the road, no warning whatsoever when you approach this elevated crosswalk.  I spoke to one driver who said he had scraped the under part of his car and wanted warnings on the road immediately.  One of the residents living next to the elevated crosswalk says that she is awaken at night by cars scraping the crosswalk.  I had several people stop by and ask me who was responsible for the crosswalk . . . was it the township public works, PennDot, who?  I assume that the crosswalks are part of the sidewalk project but I don’t know who installed the crosswalks.   I would think there is a standard for elevated crosswalks, inspection and approval procedures — someone must have OK’d this crosswalk as safe, right? 

The photos really do not indicate the significance of the problem.  One mother and her son who live nearby tried to stand in such a way on the elevated crosswalk so as to indicate the level of elevation.  (photo on the left) Both sides of the road surface of the crosswalk already have deep gouges in the asphalt where the bottom of cars have scraped.

It was fascinating that local residents stopped to talk to me as I was taking my photos.  All had much to say; one older couple in the white SUV kept backing up and down on the crosswalk so that I could get the severity of the incline.  (But again, I don’t think the photos do the situation justice).  Seriously, there needs to be warning lights, signs, some kind of notice for drivers . . . school is going to open soon and this situation is dangerous.

I do have a question — if the raised crosswalk was another form of traffic calming (as some suggest as the reason for the bump-outs) why is the TE Middle School crosswalk significantly more elevated, wider and with a steeper incline than Timothy School crosswalk?  They are located minutes apart on the same road . . . very strange.  

Bottom line . . . assuming that the crosswalks are standard and constructed to code, I contend that there needs to be some kind of warning or signage for drivers.

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14 Comments

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  1. You mention the middle school first as VF, then switch to TE–I’m assuming, given the street name, you meant the latter. Thanks for the info!

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    Pattye Benson Reply:

    My mistake – I did mean to say TE Middle School. Made the change, thanks for catching the error.

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  2. Thank you. I live on Old Lancaster Rd and this crosswalk – speed bump – traffic calming device – whatever it is, there should be warning signs put up immediately.

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  3. I’ve seen this kind of speed bump at the airport. The ones at the airport serve a dual purpose though. They are not only speed bumps, but raised cross walks! Instead of going down grade on handicapped ramps, they just raised the road.

    I haven’t seen them yet, but with the new sidewalks installed, could these be the same kind as the airport? In the one picture it looks like there’s a handicapped pad there….

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  4. Are we sure that the construction there is finished? For example, if they plan to repave the road on either side of the raised crosswalk, that would reduce the severity of the slope. Also, I would think the signage is not finished. According to the Township, the project will not be finished until September, so it’s likely that some of the details are not complete.

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    I do hope that the project is not finished, esp. with signage. However, I think that there needs to be some of blinking lights up now — even if only temporary. The township (police?) have those signs that they move around with event or meeting notices — maybe one of those should be strategically placed to warn drivers. If you are coming down Old Lancaster at night, w/o flourescent stripes or some kind of warning, there is no way that you see that areas is raised. It’s obvious that cars are scraping so I just would like some kind of temporary warning signs. With school starting and drivers coming on this road, I’d like to see warning sign in place.

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  5. Update..many signs are in place now. Traffic is directed to the center of the crosswalk. The situation will be corrected by the end of the week.
    . In the meantime DRIVE SLOWLY .

    [Reply]

    Pattye Benson Reply:

    Thanks CHV. I just drove by Old Lancaster Rd. and saw that the public works people have put up warning indicators on both sides of the middle school crosswalk. Thank you public works – good job! Also noticed today that the workers are continuing the sidewalks down Conestoga Rd. (where they left off) to Howellville Rd. at the traffic light in front of the middle school. I’m guessing that the entire stretch of sidewalk will be completed by the time school starts. BTW, when do T/E schools start?

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  6. Given the overall height of the curbs around this entire area, and how destroyed the roads are. I would imagine that resurfacing is part of the plan. Just a guess.

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  7. I’ve seen this type of raised “bumps” in Media. Am wondering if they’re not speed bumps & twp just hasn’t had time to paint or put up signs.

    In Media, there are arrows or lines (like the top of a wide diamond) indicating the bump as you approach it.

    [Reply]

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