Confusing intersection may be improved

People’s concerns were put to paper and a real solution may be in the works for a problematic intersection at Fourth, Beeber and Oliver streets, said Kim Wheeler, county lead planner, community development, at Wednesday evening’s Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Program outreach meeting.

At the July meeting, neighborhood residents expressed how dangerous that intersection is, calling it a “mini confusion corner,” so county, city and state Department of Transportation officials met on Sept. 10. They discovered there were no traffic reports due to accidents in that area, concluding the intersection must be so confusing people and vehicles proceed with caution.

However, when county Transportation Planner Mark Murawski, PennDOT District 3 Transportation Planner Chris King, City Engineer John Grado, Deputy Director William Kelly, county planning and community development, Wheeler and two other PennDOT officials visited the intersection, they saw how confusing and potentially dangerous it was.

So the program partners asked Pennoni Associates to draw up a traffic plan, which in turn will be presented at a future outreach meeting to get the residents’ feedback again. One possibility is to have a half traffic roundabout at the intersection, Wheeler said.

“It’s about getting people safely across that intersection,” Wheeler said, adding that confusion arises whether one drives or walks there.

The project still needs finalized, approved and funded.

Another major concern expressed at July’s meeting was sufficient street lighting. Mayor Gabriel J. Campana was one of the almost 30 people in attendance at Wednesday’s outreach meeting, and said he needs their support at tonight’s City Council meeting where he’s asking for $125,000 to light up the neighborhood. If it doesn’t pass, he said the residents could wait one or two years as the county applies for grants for lighting.

Campana also spoke of the public swimming pool issue, emphasizing the city can only afford one pool – East End or Memorial – if City Council approves borrowing $250,000 to make it ADA compliant.

“Several council members have already said ‘No.’ Tomorrow night, I’ll try again,” Campana said.

The Brodart Neighborhood Improvement Program partners – the county, Williamsport, Habitat for Humanity and STEP Inc. – requested Textron Lycoming to make $61,850 worth of improvements along its perimeter. It’s the optimal time for these improvements, such as privacy slats, shade trees and perimeter solar lighting, as the Brodart building is coming down and new housing will go in its place, Wheeler said.

The partners also met with Textron’s executives to request the removal of certain hazardous materials from one of its buildings along Memorial Avenue to one of its interior buildings. The executives said that already was part of their plans, and will come to the next outreach meeting in December at All Saints Church.