SANATOGA PA – For a second time in three years, the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department has studied, and rejected, a request to have a three-way stop installed at the “T”-intersection of Rupert and Pruss Hill roads on the township’s northeast side. It has, however, made a suggestion to improve sight lines there, and it also asked the Pottsgrove School District to relocate a bus pick-up point near the corner for safety reasons.
More than 1,500 vehicles pass through or turn at the intersection daily, at an average rate of about 65 vehicles an hour, Chief Michael Foltz told the Board of Commissioners in a report issued during its meeting last Monday (Oct. 1, 2012). Their average speed, it said: 36 miles an hour.
State guidelines, however, forbid the use of stop signs for speed control, and the department has recorded only one accident at the intersection since 2009. Considering both, Foltz concluded, asking the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to authorize a three-way stop there is unwarranted.
That was the same conclusion reached three years earlier when Foltz’s predecessor, former Chief Michael Shade, was asked to look at the same intersection. In both cases, the requests were prompted by one or more complaints from area residents.
Property owners in the vicinity have long worried over the increasing amount of traffic at the intersection, as motorists from as far away as Boyertown travel east over Pruss Hill and then turn south on Rupert to more quickly reach U.S. Route 422 at its Sanatoga interchange. Traffic levels could rise even higher if proposed housing communities already approved farther west on Pruss Hill are developed in coming years.
Currently, a single stop sign forces northbound traffic on Rupert to stop at its hill-crest intersection with Pruss Hill. Traffic on Pruss Hill is not required to stop, and home owners complain that eastbound vehicles occasionally turn south onto Rupert without slowing, and create a hazard. The report did not address that concern.
The department did determine, however, that the ability of motorists on Rupert to see traffic coming west on Pruss Hill is limited.
From a vehicle on Rupert at the hill crest, drivers can see traffic coming toward them from the east from 281 feet away, according to the report; the state-required distance is 270 or more feet. The ability to see traffic coming from the west, however, is reduced to only 189 feet; “too short,” it said.
The sight line could be sufficiently improved by removing shrubbery at the corner and trimming a nearby tree, the report indicated. The owner of the property where the shrub and tree are located reportedly is willing to work with township Public Works employees to solve that problem.
In addition, Foltz said, the school district has already relocated a bus stop the department considered too close to the intersection to be safe.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Oct. 1 meeting):