A public petition to install a traffic signal at East Wynnewood Road and North Wynnewood Avenue—spurred by an accident there in December that left a teenage pedestrian hospitalized—gained traction Wednesday night at a meeting of the Lower Merion Board of Commissioners.
Pam Loughman, a Merion Station resident who works in Narberth, started the petition after the Dec. 13 collision. It also calls for crosswalk installation.
East Wynnewood Road marks, starting at North Wynnewood Avenue, the boundary between the borough of Narberth and Lower Merion's Wynnewood section. North Wynnewood Avenue tunnels under the Amtrak/SEPTA railroad tracks into Narberth just above the intersection, where East Wynnewood Road curves significantly.
Traffic entering Wynnewood Road from Narberth observes a stop sign for those turning east and a yield for those heading west. Wynnewood Road traffic is unimpeded in both directions at the intersection. Sidewalks run along both sides of Wynnewood Road east of the intersection, but only on the south side to the west. No crosswalks are present.
"It's an intersection that has always concerned me," Loughman, a 14-year resident, told the township's Police Committee.
Because of the Narberth playground and ballfields, apartments, the Wynnewood Road retail presence and the Wynnewood train station, the intersection will always have a lot of pedestrian travel, Loughman said: "Something needs to be done to account for it."
Her petition had 419 signatures by late Wednesday night.
"I think it's very well known in the community that this intersection needs some attention to make it safer," Loughman told the board.
Board President Liz Rogan asked Police Superintendent Michael McGrath whether township staff could study potential intersection improvements—at what she called "really a pretty complicated area"—and report back at another meeting soon.
McGrath said they would, adding that a previous traffic study of the intersection in question resulted in lane-alignment changes, and since then, "overall, the number of collisions has gone down drastically."
Commissioner Cheryl Gelber told her colleagues, "I totally support Liz's request that we study all those intersections on Wynnewood Road ... It's a rough place."
Commissioner Jane Dellheim voiced her support and asked Loughman whether she had considered speaking with the Narberth Borough Council about the issue. Loughman said she had heard encouraging things outside of the council chamber from borough officials—"They're taking it very seriously"—but said she also intended to raise the matter publicly at the borough meeting Monday, Jan. 14.
Carl Watson, resident of the Shortridge neighborhood near the intersection, spoke after Loughman.
"I remember the civic trying to get a light there in the early '80s, so I think I can say Shortridge would still support it now," Watson said. "Perhaps it would seem appropriate to slow the traffic down at that curve."
Lower Merion Commissioner Brian Gordon several months ago spoke in general terms with Narberth officials about the intersection's traffic demand, which has increased since the Narberth Avenue bridge shut down in August.
Wednesday night, Gordon said, "Generally, I think traffic lights should be done judiciously," but that the situation at Wynnewood and Wynnewood seemed to call for one.
Also Wednesday night, McGrath announced burglary charges have been filed in a series of three Villanova break-ins in October.
From Oct. 8 through Oct. 10, McGrath said, William Coit, 23, of Philadelphia broke into homes on the 1400 block of Lanes End, the 500 block of Spruce Lane and the 700 block of Cedar Lane.
Coit is being held in the Montgomery County Justice Facility, McGrath said.