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Greencastle officials hope to someday name every alley

October 10, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The unmarked alleys in the Borough of Greencastle are popular bypasses to congested main street traffic.

But these streets with no name and no name tag have borough officials concerned that in an emergency a TomTom navigational system won't know to turn left onto "that alley down there behind you know where."

Eight years ago, the borough began systematically paving its narrow alleys. Now those smooth rights of way bear enough traffic that residents and emergency personnel are pushing for more signage and, at the very least, names for all the alleys in town.

Council President Charlie Eckstine said unnamed and unmarked alleys are a big concern for him.

"If a pedestrian or kid on a bike is struck in an alley that is not marked, EMS might not understand where exactly the person is," he said.

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Eckstine said a similar situation happened recently when police were called to an incident on Railroad Lane.

One of the borough's unmarked alleys, Railroad Lane was difficult for police to find and Eckstine said it was only a vague description of the alley's location that led police to the scene.

Borough Manager Ken Womack said some of the alleys have been unmarked or unnamed for hundreds of years.

But as far as how many in the borough remain unidentified, Womack said he could not even begin to estimate.

"There has never been a systematic evaluation of which alleys are named, marked and have proper signage," he said.

Naming the alleys will not be a simple task, Womack said.

A lesson the borough council learned in late September when it attempted to name an unmarked alley that years ago was established as Pine Lane.

Eckstine said he drove the length of Pine Lane only to find that it was unmarked.

He assumed it was also unnamed. Mapquest said otherwise.

Councilwoman Michele Emmett learned of Pine Lane while serving on the Planning and Zoning Commission and not long after council authorized its solicitor, Melissa Dively, to draft an ordinance naming that alley, she remembered it was already named Pine Lane .

"The name was on Mapquest," she said. "So it has been around."

Eckstine and Councilman Harry Foley hope to take inventory of all borough alleys and either name or mark every one.

While Eckstine said he hopes to have every alley marked by the end of 2009, Womack said he hopes he can meet that deadline.

Womack said that in addition to researching which alleys are unnamed, Franklin County is trying to avoid duplicate street names in the county so picking unique names will be a challenge.

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