Oakmont loves, hates trial traffic restrictions on Cedar Way
Oakmont residents have mixed emotions about Cedar Way being made one-way in a test program to ease traffic along the alley that runs behind businesses downtown.
Prior the change on Sept. 1, motorists had been using Cedar Way to get around traffic snarls on the borough's main thoroughfares. Now, they can only go north on it from Ann Street to Pennsylvania Avenue and from College to Delaware avenues.
“This is not a matter of convenience, or how long you have to sit at a light,” said Borough Manager Lisa Cooper Jensen. “This is a matter of safety, since kids use the alley to walk, skateboard and ride bikes on.”
Jensen said her office received 18 complaints since the change and has heard from a handful of people who welcomed it.
“We got letters, emails, telephone calls saying people were not happy with Cedar Way being one way,” Jensen said.
She summarized the comments by saying people believed there never was a problem to begin with and that traffic now was worse than before the change.
Resident Sal Colella, who lives near the Cedar Way and Delaware Avenue intersection, however, said those comments were off the mark.
“The average speed in the alley way between Aug. 1 and Aug. 30 was 38.7 mph,” he told council at a recent meeting. “After you folks put the one-way in, that dropped to 13 mph.”
He also noted that drivers seemed less aggressive and were paying more attention to pedestrians on Cedar Way.
“I think these are really good things,” said Colella.
Beyond those who loved or hated the change was a group that never got the news about the three-month experiment to make the alley one way.
Resident Justin Lokay said he had been monitoring traffic at Cedar Way and Pennsylvania Avenue and saw people ignoring one-way signs and speeding while driving the wrong way.
“There are many people disobeying,” he said.
Police Chief Michael Ford said his officers have been giving out warnings to drivers going the wrong way on the alley. Ford added that the change has slowed the volume of traffic along Cedar Way, but reserved further comment until after the trial period.
Council plans to evaluate the trial run in late November or early December to determine whether it will remain or if other adjustments are needed.
Tim Lazor, of Lazor Yost Marketing and Design along Cedar Way, is hoping the change is made permanent.
“The cut-through traffic is no joke, and making Cedar Way one-way was absolutely the right decision,” Lazor said in a recent letter to council.