Slatington residents urge council to take action on roads, speeders
Several residents spoke out about the dangerous conditions and speeding on some borough streets at Monday’s Slatington Borough Council meeting.
Lori Middaugh, a resident and a teacher in the Northern Lehigh School District, said that because the streets are so bad, there have been instances where children, after coming off the bus at the school, had to go immediately to the nurse’s office because of being hurt during the ride.
“Children are riding on the buses nine months out of the year and are not safe,” Middaugh said. “I’m so scared for these kids because they’re getting hurt. It’s a very serious situation. I’ve worked in the school district for almost 20 years. I’ve been up and down the roads in the buses with the kids, and I know what we just saw when we took our field trip, and I know what the other teachers are telling me. I just want our kids to be safe.”
Middaugh also said that she and several neighbors have had a marked increase in damages to their cars.
“Things are breaking in my car that never broke before,” she said. “This is also a serious situation for our community. We’re getting bills upon bills because we have to bring our cars in to have them fixed and repaired.”
Another concern the residents expressed is the increase in speeding cars and trucks, especially near the schools.
“There has been a marked increase in families with children living in our neighborhood,” said Rita Grim, a resident on Maple Spring Drive. “I’ve seen where children had to jump out of the street onto the lawns to get out of the way of speeding cars.”
Grim suggested that posting a speed limit sign, a speed monitor, or even a “children at play” sign might help.
Resident Kate Randall said she debated whether to let her daughter ride the bus when she begins kindergarten this year.
“I was debating about putting her on the bus, but I don’t want to because of the roads,” Randall said. “Whatever we have to do to get it done, it would be much appreciated.”
“Many times I see a child walking on the side of the street and I’m telling you, one day something tragic is going to happen,” resident Bob Hughes said. “You’ve got to do something. I’m just asking you, begging you ... do something. Soon.”
Resident Steve Walden said that the streets most in need of repair are Maple Spring Drive, Shadow Oaks Lane, and Oakhurst Drive between Bulldog Lane and Maple Spring Drive.
“Does the borough have enough funds to do those?” Walden asked. “Get that work done, then work on doing a few roads every year. Is that a possibility?”
Council President Thomas Bartholomew said that it is a possibility; however, the state has not announced any grants yet.
“We’ve applied for four, we’ve only received one,” Bartholomew said. “I’m not sure if it’s because of the budget, or what is causing the delay. But, until we receive a ‘no,’ we can’t really do anything.”
Resident Jack Bechtel suggested that council needs to have a plan in place just in case the grants do not come through.
“There’s got to be a plan less the grants,” Bechtel said. “These roads have been bad for years and they’re getting worse. You’ve got to sit down and make a plan.”
Slatington Mayor Jeralyn Schoch addressed the speeding issue.
“I can guarantee you that Police Chief (Greg) Winokur will have the officers do extra patrols up there during those times to keep an eye on that,” Schoch said.
“I have a list of the different areas we need to work on, to try to reduce the speeding and the traffic infractions as much as possible,” Winokur said. “What I do ask is that, when this stuff is happening, notify my office. One of the things most important is that we all work together. You are the eyes and ears; you will see a lot more than we will. If you see it happen, give us a call, use email, let us know so that we can get more officers up there.”