Two Accidents on Same Day at Intersection of 4th Avenue and Fayette Street in Conshohocken

Yesterday the morning started with a fatal accident just before 7:00 a.m. at the intersection of 4th Avenue and Fayette Street. This accident involved a vehicle striking a 80 year old male pedestrian as he crossed Fayette Street.

That evening at 7:17 p.m. there was a two-vehicle accident that resulted in one being turned over ( has pictures). One person was taken to the hospital.

Social media has been abuzz about these accidents and potential causes. There are no official announced causes or placements of blame.

Safety of pedestrians along Fayette Street has been discussed by Borough Council several times over the years since started in 2009.

The most recent discussion was in 2016, which involved a proposal to place flashing beacons at the intersections that do not have traffic lights. From the May 18, 2016 minutes:

Mr. Manfredi introduced Mr. Brian Keaveney, the Borough’s Traffic Engineer from Pennoni Associates, to summarize the bid process and results. Mr. Manfredi added that the Borough had approved money in the budget for the engineering but had not appropriated funds for this particular project and that, if
awarded, it would require a transfer of monies from the capital or capital reserve funds through supplemental appropriation.

Mr. Keaveney then shared that the beacons were recommended for installation as a means to implement pedestrian crossing improvements to Fayette Street at the intersections of 4th and 7th Avenue. He explained that two alternates were put to bid; the base bid included the installation of the beacons using sidemounted pedestals on both sides of Fayette Street and the first alternate included the use of overhead mast arms to hang the flashers over the roadway but, because PennDOT has expressed to the Borough that it must use mast arms if it
completes the project, the price of the project has significantly increased. He shared that two bids were received, from Carr & Duff, Inc. and Lenni Electric Corporation, and that the low bid’s cost to install the beacons on the mast arms at both locations is approximately $159, 800.00. Council discussed the item and
asked questions about the price of the installation, the reputation of both firms and the logistics and maintenance involved if the beacons were installed. Mr.  Griffin called for public comment and Mr. Joe Malzita of Wood Street, inquired about whether the beacons would flash continuously or only when a pedestrian
was crossing; Mr. Keaveney answered that they would flash only when a pedestrian was present. Following the discussion, because the bid is eligible for award for sixty days, Council made a determination to consider awarding this bid at the June work session.

The bid was rejected at the June 15, 2016 by a vote of 7-0.

During the public comment of the June 15th meeting, resident Rosemary Northcutt asked the following:

Ms. Rosemary Northcutt inquired why the Borough rejected the bid for rapid flashing beacons since it was not discussed as part of a public meeting and what the plan is for pedestrian safety going forward. In response, Mr. Manfredi explained that it had been discussed publicly at the work session in detail. Mr. Manfredi added that Council would continue the discussion on Fayette Street on an upcoming agenda and explained that the plan is to continue careful, thoughtful study and analysis
before any final action is taken.

We looked at the agenda and minutes after that date and here is what we found:

July 27, 2016 (Special Meeting)

Note – this meeting didn’t have a normal agenda, but was for the purpose of discussing the status of goals set for 2016 and goals for 2017.

Mr. Manfredi shared his idea for a campaign to encourage pedestrians to cross at signalized intersections as a solution to improve safety on Fayette Street, which Council was supportive of. Council also discussed the necessity of the signs at other crosswalks on Fayette Street and determined to remove those not at signalized intersections.

Under goals for 2017, the following was listed:

Consider alternatives for pedestrian crossing safety on Fayette Street.

August 31, 2016 (Special Meeting)

Note – this meeting didn’t have a normal agenda, but was for the purpose of discussing the status of goals set for 2016 and goals for 2017.

Mr. Manfredi explained that completion of this item would require a Borough-wide traffic evaluation study and Ms. Barton, Mr. Griffin, and Mr. Stokley expressed their concerns with performing an additional study at this time. Mr. Stokley then commented that a gentleman had been struck by a vehicle recently while attempting to cross Fayette Street at the CVS corner; he suggested that an arch light be installed at the location to make crossing safer and the other members of Council were in agreement.

Mr. Manfredi then shared the third goal to consider alternatives for pedestrian crossing safety on Fayette Street and explained that Council had previously discussed the item and considered initiating a campaign in the immediate future to encourage pedestrian crossing at signalized intersections. He provided an update on the status and then inquired if Council wanted to keep this goal as a high priority; Ms. Sokolowski replied that it should remain so until Council is able to review the results of the interim campaign step.

Council then discussed the goal regarding the Fayette Street Road Diet Study. Mr. Manfredi explained that the costs to perform the study could be mitigated by funds that were expected to come from impact fees. Ms. Leonard commented that Council might like to begin the research with PennDOT to determine if it is feasible and Mr. Manfredi replied that PennDOT has initially been in favor of the road diet. Council then discussed the impact the road diet and other potential traffic calming measures would have on Fayette Street and its surrounding neighborhoods if traffic were diverted to other routes.

We reviewed all of the available minutes on the Borough’s website (which goes through an October 2017 meeting). Based on the minutes, there was no discussions in 2017 (at least through October) of traffic safety on Fayette Street.

During 2016 and 2017, traffic safety issues were discussed, such as a speed hump on Righter Street, a speed hump in the area of West 12th Avenue, and placing a stop sign on West 6th Avenue at Freedly Street.

But, as far as we can tell and based on the minutes, there was no further discussion as how to make Fayette Street safer.

Please note we aren’t arguing the flashing beacons are the appropriate and best option. We are just showing what was discussed, considered and decided against.

We could be wrong, but we don’t think the campaign to encourage people to cross at the lighted intersections ever took place.

If you are wondering, the Mr. Manfredi mentioned is the former Borough Manager.

Let us know what you think in the comments.