L. Towamensing wants speed limit reduced near Blue Mtn.
Blue Mountain Resort wants to get signs or a traffic signal to protect skiers who need to walk across the road from the overflow parking area. BRIAN W. MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS
Lower Towamensing Township officials are asking for a speed limit reduction on behalf of Blue Mountain Resort.
The township’s board of supervisors on Tuesday unanimously agreed to send a letter to the state Department of Transportation requesting a reduction in the speed limit from 45 mph to 35 mph for Blue Mountain Drive, starting at the curve by the resort, and ending at Lower Smith Gap Road in both directions.
Supervisors in their letter said their intent is to make the advisory 35 mph in that area to a regulatory 35 mph. The reduction will not only slow traffic, but make way for a midblock crosswalk between the two Blue Mountain lower driveways.
“We disagree that a crosswalk at the two driveways is considered ‘midblock,’ but that is what we’ve been told,” supervisors said in their letter. “Pedestrian crossing from the overflow parking lot to the ski resort is of great concern.”
Supervisors said the overflow parking lot leads all pedestrians across Blue Mountain Drive, or Route 2009.
“We understand that the department will conduct a speed study to obtain the current 85th percentile speeds,” supervisors said in their letter. “Please note that vehicles are currently ‘speeding’ at unsafe speeds, especially when traveling northbound (downhill) from the Blue Mountain Ski Resort driveway at the top of the hill to the Blue Mountain Ski Resort driveway at the bottom of the hill.”
Supervisors wrote, “A more realistic study would be to conduct a safe running speeding study for the roadway.”
“Blue Mountain Resort is experiencing an increase in use by local valley residents,” the letter states. “The lower lot on the west side of 2009 opposite the Blue Mountain Ski Resort driveway at the bottom of the hill is being used more frequently, forcing more people to cross Route 2009 to access the resort.”
Supervisors said in their letter that the resort has attempted twice to get a midblock crosswalk so that appropriate pedestrian signs can be provided on Route 2009.
“Twice the resort has been denied by the department,” the letter states.
“The reason given is that a midblock crossing is not allowed by the department on 45 mph roadways; however, people still have to cross the roadway.”
In March, Barbara Green, president of Blue Mountain Resort, asked supervisors for help in getting a crosswalk, traffic signals or signs on Blue Mountain Drive.
Green said at that time her goal is to create a safer area for pedestrians to cross from the eastern parking lot over to the resort.
She said there are about 20 days a year when parking overflows into the eastern parking lot.
On those busy days, Green said she has staff put up flares to alert drivers as they approach the area, and staff who are trained in traffic control out there to help patrons.
Green also had purchased signs and flashing lights to get traffic to slow down through that area, but was told by PennDOT that she isn’t allowed to use it.
She said what she would like to see happen is for crosswalks to be placed on the road and the speed limit lowered to 35 mph. Green noted the curves on Blue Mountain Road are already lowered to 25 and 35 mph.
Green said she is willing to help pay for a traffic study, and that she would even be willing to help pay for turning lanes or some other solution to slow down traffic in that area.