“It was more than a scheduling issue,” said Richards. He said Mayor Ed Pawlowski favored a painted median rather than a concrete barrier.
But Young said the project’s planners wanted to install a four-foot-wide concrete barrier that would serve as a planter in the middle of Basin Street. He said the mayor objected to that idea because it would have turned Basin Street into a two-lane street.
Young said driveways are along that stretch of Basin and a median barrier would prevent people from turning left into those driveways. O’Connell disagreed: “There are not many people making left turns on Basin Street, either way. If you make a left turn into a driveway, you’re really taking your life into your own hands.”
Young also said the weight of concrete barriers on the county-owned bridge would have to be analyzed.
The project also will include resurfacing the roadway between Union and Auburn with a treatment designed to make the pavement more skid resistant to mitigate wet pavement crashes. Colello said the repaving treatment being proposed, which is applied to the existing road surface, has a three-to-five-year service life.
Young said such a treatment was applied “quite a few years ago” on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and he is satisfied with the way it has held up.
A third planned improvement includes signs and markers to warn drivers of curves in the road and better delineate travel paths.
Colello said there also will be some minor guide rail improvements at the railroad overpass and the Little Lehigh Creek bridge.
Colello, who works for McCormick Taylor Engineers in Philadelphia, said she would not recommend using guide rails in the center median, because they operate like rubber bands: if they are hit, “they deflect into the opposite direction of travel.”
Richards said 79 of the 124 accidents occurred on Basin between Union and Auburn.
He said only 19 occurred at the Auburn Street intersection and 26 at the Union Street intersection.
Richards said that part of Basin Street was ranked 146th on a 2010 statewide list of high crash locations and 22nd among high crash locations in this area.