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Baldwin intersection 'accident waiting to happen'

| Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Randy Jarosz | For The South Hills Record
The intersection of Streets Run Road and Prospect Road in Baldwin Borough.
The intersection of Streets Run Road and Prospect Road in Baldwin Borough.
The intersection of Streets Run Road and Prospect Road in Baldwin Borough.

The white lines already have begun to fade at the Streets Run and Prospect roads intersection, and Baldwin Borough officials say that it is likely not from normal wear and tear.

Instead, they say, people are using the extra road space — added during a Pennsylvania Department of Transportation bridge construction project in 2010, meant to give trucks additional turning space — as a turning lane, where drivers often cut off those following the rules.

“All PennDOT has done, as we all know here, is paint white lines on that road to show that that's restricted,” council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk told his colleagues at their agenda-setting meeting on July 9. “The white lines don't stop people. I think that's just an accident waiting to happen.”

Baldwin Borough officials planned to send a letter to PennDOT leaders this week asking for a review of traffic patterns at the intersection.

“We want to see if they can come up with anything that's safer,” borough Manager John Barrett said.

No accidents at the intersection have been reported to Baldwin Borough police since the bridge construction project, Chief Michael Scott said. Baldwin police receive frequent complaints about the setup of the intersection and reports of “near misses,” the chief said.

“They widened it, but if you can't use it, it doesn't make much sense,” Scott said.

Baldwin police patrol the area, but the topography makes any police vehicle obvious to passersby, officials said.

“It's difficult because if you're sitting down there, nobody does it,” Scott said.

Several residents a month contact the Baldwin manager seeking changes at the intersection.

“I get emails and phone calls from people basically screaming that it's unsafe,” Barrett said.

Any changes at the intersection would need to be made by PennDOT, because it is a state route, Barrett said.

However, Baldwin officials do have recommendations for PennDOT.

“Make that lane a right turn lane,” Stelmasczyk said. “I know they're saying that people coming down Prospect will have trouble making that left. But they've always had trouble making that left. I just think that with this situation, widening that bridge, I think it's going to end up causing an accident.”

Another idea is to add raised stripping in the area, Barrett said.

Stephanie Hacke is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-388-5818 or shacke@tribweb.com.

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