CLEARFIELD – A Lawrence Township resident, Nancy Myrter, brought concerns about pedestrian and traffic safety on a township roadway, 21st Street, to the attention of the Clearfield County Commissioners on Tuesday.
Myrter said she’s a life-long resident of Clearfield and has resided on 21st Street for 40 years. Although the roadway has been well-maintained over the years, she said it is not posted with a speed limit.
“It’s a problem that has always been present,” she said. “That means the speed limit, by law, is 55 miles per hour.”
She noted that 21st Street is heavily-traveled with it being located near the Clearfield County Jail and the Clearfield County SPCA, as well as with the borough and township dump site up there.
According to Myrter, SPCA volunteers donate their time to walking animals from the shelter and take them onto 21st Street. She said while there is a side yard for exercise, there aren’t any other walking trails that would be safe for the volunteers and animals.
As a result, she requested a traffic study in order to alert the Lawrence Township Supervisors and PennDOT to the dangers of 21st Street. “I would like a speed limit on the road,” she said.
Myrter added that, “In the past five years, there have been two motor vehicle [accidents resulting in] deaths on this road. One happened at the end of my driveway.”
Over the years, she said that she and her husband have also pulled numerous vehicles out after their operators crashed into the ditches where the blind curves are along 21st Street.
She told the commissioners that she’d spoken to Police Chief Mark Brooks, who is open to offering educational sessions with the SPCA on pedestrian laws and safety issues their volunteers will face on 21st Street.
“I feel each and every volunteer needs to be aware of the pedestrian laws and of the danger this road poses,” she said.
“People take advantage of the 55-miles-per-hour-speed limit and just don’t care … then when people come around the curve, there are kids and dogs from the SPCA that are untrained going down the road. There’s going to be a tragedy here.”
Myrter said that she would like to see the SPCA officials utilize their property, which they have been given, to make walking trails. This, she said, would eliminate any need for volunteers to take animals out onto the roadway.
Myrter said she hasn’t spoken to anyone with the SPCA directly, as she wanted to see what could possibly be done first. She also felt it may be better for local officials to take the concerns to those at the SPCA. “But I certainly wouldn’t want to be a volunteer and not knowing, not aware of pedestrian laws,” she said.
Commissioner Mark B. McCracken said this summer his daughter was a volunteer for walking SPCA animals. He said the first time he went with her with plans of walking around behind the facility, which wasn’t possible. Due to his own concerns from walking on 21st Street, McCracken said he asked his wife to go with their daughter the next time.
“That was without even knowing what you just told us,” he said. “I didn’t realize there wasn’t a speed limit, and I just assumed it was something like 25 or 30 miles per hour, which is still dangerous.”
McCracken said that he would like the commissioners to send a letter to the township and endorse the idea of a speed limit. Both McCracken and Commissioner Joan Robinson-McMillen believed that the township could bypass a traffic study, as common sense would say to implement a speed limit on the roadway.
McCracken said as suggested to Myrter, he believed the jail officials could put together a group of inmates to work on creating trails on the SPCA property. However, Commissioner John A. Sobel believed the SPCA would have to request the trails or at least agree to the idea.
Solicitor Kim Kesner pointed out the volunteers are neither covered by the SPCA’S liability insurance nor workmen’s compensation. “There are the things that go unexplored until you have an injury or a tragedy,” he said.
Myrter said that she will also present her request to the Lawrence Township Supervisors at their next meeting on Nov. 3. She said that township police planned to increase their patrols in the area of 21st Street.
McCracken said in addition to speed limit signs, there could be others alerting motorists to pedestrians in that area. He thanked Myrter for attending the commissioners’ meeting and bringing her information and ideas to them.