Oakmont police and Riverview School District officials said new turning restrictions along Hulton Road by the high school are making a positive impact on traffic.
“It’s been much better,” police Chief Michael Ford said Tuesday. “The school is happy with all enforcement efforts.”
Westbound motorists on Hulton Road who are headed toward Hulton Bridge now are prohibited from turning left onto Third Street from 7 to 9 a.m. and 2 to 4 p.m.
Those times coincide with existing restrictions that allow motorists on Third Street to make right turns only onto Hulton Road. The signs do not state that the restrictions are just for weekdays, meaning officers can enforce them any day during the times posted.
The new restriction allows borough police to set up a barrier on Third Street during student arrival and dismissal times.
“The no left turn in addition to a physical road ‘do not enter’ barrier has been working much better for Riverview Jr./Sr. High School drop off and pick up,” district Safety Director Bob Rizzo said. “Many people see the physical barrier, which makes people think the road is closed. In general, things have been much better as the bakery settles in.”
Motorists have ignored the right-turn-only restrictions for some time. Traffic problems were exacerbated with the Feb. 5 opening of the new Oakmont Bakery location at the intersection, even though the business has more than 100 parking spaces and two lots.
“The intersection at Hulton and Third Street has always been difficult because of the amount of traffic on Hulton Road,” bakery owner Marc Serrao said via email. “PennDOT and Oakmont are working to make the intersection safe, and we are 100 percent behind that. We have posted 13 additional signs on our property, as advised by Chief Ford to help customers navigate through.
“We encourage customers to use Sweet Street (between Third Street and Allegheny Avenue) to enter our parking lot. When exiting, our parking lot signs direct our guests to access the bridge via Allegheny Avenue. We will continue to work at making our parking situation as quick, efficient and, most importantly, safe as possible.”
Borough officials submitted a letter to PennDOT the day after the new Oakmont Bakery opened requesting the no-left-turn restriction. The state sent traffic engineers to the area and conducted a traffic study in response.
“The results of the study showed that the restriction was warranted and approved,” PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said via email. “We agreed to install the ‘no left turn’ signs as soon as they were received and our operations permitted.”
The signs were installed earlier this month. Those who ignore the posted restrictions and try to drive around the barrier will be subject to traffic citations for failure to obey traffic-control devices, an estimated $170 fine.
Ford said he plans to review how many tickets were issued at the intersection within the next few weeks as part of the department’s monthly report.
He has a two-word message to motorists in the area: “Pay attention.”