City officials attempting to ‘calm’ traffic down for pedestrians, bicyclists
City officials and others on a committee said they fear the amount of “blind spots” on streets downtown that might end up in a traffic/pedestrian injury and fatality.
One such site is at West Fourth and Hepburn streets, and was mentioned during City Council’s economic revitalization committee recently as a dangerous blind spot.
“We need a comprehensive traffic calming strategy to promote our city economically and that includes for pedestrian/bicycle activity,” said City Councilman David Banks, committee chairman.
Traffic calming, he said, “builds attractive, walkable environments,” and “you see it in any up and coming city.”
For David Stone, a longtime bicyclist, and former bicycle committee chairman, calming down traffic with a combined approach of a plan and action such as crosswalk improvements, enforcement of speeding and promoting a safe bike path will help the city atmosphere to attract business and add vibrancy.
Stone originated the first Tour de Bill in 2008, a combination bicycle ride fundraiser and a means of showcasing the city. The ride through Williamsport — from downtown west to Lycoming County Veterans Memorial Park and east at Shaw Place — went on for six years and during that time Stone and the bike committee worked on a draft bike path and map.
Sadly, the more recent COVID-19 pandemic took away those ideas from the desks of the powers to be.
Recently, Stone said, college students asked the best and safest way to ride a bike through downtown.
“The fact they asked that question I found startling,” Stone said.
“There should be space for pedestrians/bicyclists and traffic,” Councilwoman Liz Miele said.
Miele often walks on streets and noted the blind spots are hazardous. She supported a comprehensive look at the traffic calming strategy suggesting a council member be a part of any discussion and if the bike committee restarts a member of council should serve on that, too.
Attempts to reach Mayor Derek Slaughter on the hazards discussed and comprehensive strategy to address safety for pedestrians/bicyclists were not successful.