State College

Manor Drive solutions fall on residents’ shoulders

A new owner could mean new options for the beleaguered residents of Mountainview Avenue.

Residents along Mountainview began calling for township assistance more than a year ago, claiming that poor snow removal along Manor Drive was creating a hazard. Manor, which connects Mountainview to East College Avenue, sits at a steep 18 percent grade and is the only route in or out of the neighborhood.

Discussions began last summer proposing a new road that would connect the south end of Mountainview to nearby Ivy Hill Drive. The proposal, however, ran into opposition from the residents of Stearns Crossing, the development through which Ivy Hill runs.

New proposals were created diverting Manor Drive in an effort to reduce the grade or avoid Manor altogether. Council was shown the three most recent proposals Thursday.

Michael Pratt, of Keller Engineering, described the new routes to council. Keller was contracted by the township to study alternate paths. The first path proposed bringing Manor up to the left of its current location, ending between two townhomes along Mountainview. The option, Pratt said, would cost $850,000.

A second option, converting Manor into more of an S-shaped curve, Pratt said, would cost $400,000. The final, cheapest option would be to create an emergency-only connection between the north end of Mountainview and the parking lot of nearby Celebration Hall. This option, he said, would run $335,000.

In both cases of rebuilding Manor, he said, the road would have to be closed for construction.

Residents of both Mountainview and Stearns Crossing were on hand to comment on the issue. Mountainview resident Bernie Oravec said he wanted to reiterate that the residents of Mountainview were facing two issues — winter maintenance along Manor Drive, which had lapsed under the previous owner, and the safety issues caused by the steep grade of Manor.

Oravec also claimed that both the entrances to Manor and Limerock Terrace intersected at virtually the same point along the East College center lane, creating a new traffic issue that needed to be addressed.

Stearns Crossing resident Tim Kerchensky read a prepared letter in which he said many intersections share the same issue — Manor Drive was no different. Kerchensky continued by asking why the residents of the township should bear the burden of a new road that simultaneously raises the values of the homes on Mountainview while lowering the values of the homes on Ivy Hill.

To date, council President Lynn Herman said, the township has spent more than $21,000 on contracting services with Keller and more than $500 on the township solicitor.

Councilman Steven Lyncha said he took exception to the argument regarding the center lane traffic issue, saying the situation occurs along similar roads in the township. He agreed that safety along the avenue was a concern, which is why he proposed the connection at the north end to the Celebration Hall parking lot.

While he said he wasn’t happy with the price, he suggested reinforcing the emergency-only path instead of paving to bring costs down. A second access to the road would have to be built before any work could be done on Manor in the first place.

Mountainview Avenue residents have a new owner now, he said, so hopefully the snow removal issue can now be resolved.

Ultimately, the council took no action on the issue, opting instead to give Dennis DuVall and the residents the chance to resolve the winter maintenance issue before the council revisited the issue, which likely will not be until after next winter.

DuVall said following the discussion that he only took over the properties on Mountainview on April 8, and has no plans yet on how to address the snow issue before first discussing it with the residents.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews