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Waynesboro Council eyes lowering Main Street speed limit

June 19, 2013|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — The Borough of Waynesboro will be working with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to explore lowering the speed limit on sections of Pa. 16 (Main Street), partly due to impassioned pleas from the local police chief and the mother of a teenager hit by a pickup truck May 20.

“It just simply has to be done,” Waynesboro Police Chief James Sourbier said Wednesday evening.

Sourbier told the Waynesboro Borough Council at its meeting that the municipality, which is only three square miles, has had 33 pedestrian accidents in five years. Fifteen of those were on Main Street, including the one that injured 17-year-old Sara Hoover.

Sara has been hospitalized in Baltimore and Hagerstown.

The girl is returning to Waynesboro Friday to begin in-home physical therapy and is looking forward to being reunited with her beloved Pomeranian, according to her mother, Roxanne Hoover.

Hoover encouraged the council to throw its weight behind a proposal to lower the 35-mph speed limit on the edges of town to 25 mph. She thinks a lower speed limit would have minimized her daughter’s injuries, which included facial contusions, a deflated lung and damage to both legs.

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“She’d be facing a very different future,” Hoover said.

In the town center of Waynesboro, the speed limit on Main Street, a state-owned road, is 25 mph. It transitions to 35 mph west of Fairview Avenue and east of Clayton Avenue.

PennDOT is willing to do the traffic study that precedes any speed limit changes, Assistant Borough Manager Jason Cohen said.

Lowering the speed limit would not be a panacea to the town’s problems with pedestrian accidents, Sourbier said. Rather, lowering it could help enforcement efforts, he said.

PennDOT did not allow the borough to paint yellow stripes in crosswalks and will not permit the municipality to erect “yield to pedestrian” signs in the manner it wants, Borough Engineer Kevin Grubbs said.

Still, town officials can and will fight for things like that, Grubbs said.

Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the public needs to be aware that the flashing lights recently installed at four crosswalks require the pedestrian to press a button. He said they are not motion activated as some people believe.

The intersection of Main Street and Fairview Avenue, where the May 20 accident occurred, is one with flashing lights. Police did not immediately say whether those lights were activated when the collision happened.

A Waynesboro man was charged with failure to yield the right of way to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk after the crash.

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