Council Discusses 'Talking' Crossing Signal

Hellertown Borough Manager Cathy Kichline announced Nov. 19 that a resident has requested an audible pedestrian signal be installed at the intersection of Main and Water streets.

A Hellertown resident has requested that the borough install an audible pedestrian signal at the intersection of Main and Water streets, borough manager Cathy Kichline told borough council Nov. 19.

Audible pedestrian signals emit chirps, beeps or spoken recorded messages that can assist visually impaired pedestrians with crossing a street.

Kichline said it's estimated that installing spoken-word signals at the busy downtown intersection would cost about $5,000.

It would also require the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation's (PennDOT) consent, since Main Street is a state road.

In fact, the intersection of Main and Water streets was recently upgraded with new pedestrian safety features, including ramps, crosswalks and visual signals.

Since PennDOT was involved with the process, councilman Tom Rieger questioned whether installing an additional pedestrian safety feature could "open up a worm's nest" in terms of compliance with state regulations.

Council solictor Michael Corriere advised him that "you never know with PennDOT," and recommended that council "talk to them first."

Although council vice president John Bate questioned the fundamental need for the signal, Kichline said the man who requested it typically crosses at the intersection two or three times per week.

Council president Phil Weber said he had mixed feelings about the request.

"Everybody has the right to cross the street, but I do think it’s a lot of money to put out when we’re hurting for money," he said.

Weber also predicted that "if we (install the audible signal) at one intersection, you know that sooner or later somebody’s going to ask about other intersections."

In light of the projected cost, several council members suggested that the borough seek any available grant funding that might pay for the project.

Bryan Smith, the borough's engineer, said staff at Barry Isett and Associates would handle that request.

A vote to approve a motion supporting a search for grant funding passed 6-1, with Bate voting 'no.'


Lower Saucon Brother December 02, 2012 at 01:30 PM
And since it would be in the road, maybe Pendot would have to pay for some of it?
Michele Gubish December 02, 2012 at 02:12 PM
@LSB - It was quite a few years ago that I mentioned the same thing to council in no formal way but in a passing conversation., In fact a local funeral business owner was interested in that idea as well. Nothing came of it, but I agree that seems much more cost effective at the main crosswalks. ..
Lower Saucon Resident December 04, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Lower Saucon Resident: The nerve of you people not wanting to make the roads a safer place in Hellertown. Since the exit for Rt 78 came into play it is a nightmare just to cross Main St anywhere in Hellertown. Cars do not STOP for sighted people crossing the road. Drivers can bearly make a left hand turn across Main St. because NO ONE STOPS. I hope that Gerry Kranz never becomes handicap in anyway because maybe the family will have to put he or she in a room and lock the door and throw away the key.
Henry December 06, 2012 at 03:02 PM
Henry,Bethlehem Township I think you need the help,seems your head is on the wrong end.
Henry December 06, 2012 at 03:10 PM
If we must have handycap curbs on all corners,and we don't know if anyone uses them (ADA ) Then why not help when we know a blind person lives there?


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