When public safety concerns are involved, leaders are well-served to proceed with caution.
We support Ferguson Township officials unwillingness to be rushed into a decision about street access for a new store on North Atherton Street.
And we suspect an agreement can be reached between the township and representatives of CVS pharmacy that gives the company improved access for its future customers but also provides for public safety along that busy corridor.
CVS is eying the former Blockbuster video location at the corner of Atherton and West Cherry Lane. The company has agreed to meet a list of conditions put before it by the township related to its request for an entrance to and exit from the site along Atherton. Is that the right decision?
Thats what the township supervisors must determine and they must take enough time to make the right call.
Currently, access is available by turning at the stoplight and then turning into the store.
Camp Hill-based J.C. Bar Properties Inc., developers for CVS, have requested two new lanes on Atherton, a right turn into the store and a right turn out. The two lanes would be bordered by a concrete barrier.
Supervisors George Pytel and Drew Clemson said Monday they are especially concerned with the right-out lane due to visibility concerns and traffic flow.
They said a study by a Pittsburgh transportation firm shows that traffic averages 44 mph along that stretch of North Atherton Street, even though the posted limit is 35 mph.
Board members questioned whether a delivery truck could safely turn into the store site, or safely move out onto Atherton heading north.
Pytel, the board chairman, said he is concerned that some drivers would attempt to turn left into the store via the right-out lane.
Personally, I dont think you could give me enough information to tell me a right-out is a good idea, he said.
Now the township supervisors and PennDOT will confer on whether the access would be safe.
We urge them to continue proceeding with caution, taking a page from a dispute that ended this week in Bellefonte.
There, Borough Council had turned Badger Lane into a one-way road because of safety concerns.
Residents then voiced their opposition to the change and presented a petition at Tuesday nights council meeting.
Bellefontes streets committee had studied the situation and agreed with residents.
So, after a 90-day trial, the borough relented. The road is once again going to be two-way between Bishop and High streets.
There is no perfect decision in such instances, but safety should be the top priority.
It was, concerning Badger Lane in Bellefonte. And it has been, concerning a new drug store planned for Ferguson Township.
We urge the townships supervisors to take their time and make the best decision possible.
And we urge drivers to remember the speed limit along Atherton Street and slow down to be safe.