— Officials from a prominent local contracting company say something needs to be done about the traffic headaches in Honesdale Borough.
"It's pretty critical," said Eric Linde, president of Linde Construction, Inc., during Monday night's meeting of the Honesdale Borough council.
For anyone who drives in Honesdale, the issues are very obvious. Near-misses are a daily happening on Church and Main streets. The crosswalks are an issue as is the general flow of traffic.
The problems started almost five years ago when those streets were changed to one-way by PennDOT.
"PennDOT hadn't turned another town to one-way for 30 years," Linde told members of the council.
Linde said the biggest problem is the lack of pavement markings.
"Pavement markings in particular have deteriorated over this period of time and are in sore need of repainting and replacement," Linde wrote in a letter which was given to council members.
Linde said he thinks what was misunderstood in the entire conversion is the fact once PennDOT made the changes, the responsibility for painting the majority of the markings lies with the borough.
"The lines are obliterated at this point," said Linde.
Linde said his company has copies of the original traffic control plans approved by PennDOT when the changes were made.
"We are offering to sit down with council and your engineer," said Linde.
Linde said he spoke extensively with public works director Rich Doney about the situation.
"We really need to look at getting this painting done," said Linde. "We can't let the traffic markings go another year."
Linde gave specific recommendations to the council on what his company believes needs to be done to get the problems solved.
• All paint applied should have glass beads for reflection and night vision.
• Crosswalks should be cross-hatched with rail tracks or an alternate. Oncoming traffic cannot see a 4-inch strip.
• Solid yellow line through Main Street intersections will control illegal turns from right lane to side streets. Will keep side street traffic entering into proper lane.
• Church Street center line needs to be adjusted as it does not have the lanes equally divided. The distance between the curb and the parking places needs to be equally divided.
• Dashed yellow lines at the intersections of Church and the cross streets to again control lane shifting and proper entrance from side streets.
• Park and main center lines, turning lines and offsets need to be renewed to control traffic flow.
• All side streets need yellow center line at intersection, as well as stop bars and arrow.
Page 2 of 4 - • Fourth, Main, Church and Terrace need renewing even though CVS will re-do them.
Linde said he believes the council should consult with an outside firm which has the proper equipment and see if they can find the money in the budget to get the work done in the very near future.
Also in his letter, Linde said it is "apparent" there is a timing problem with the lights on Fourth Street. He said the timing of those lights is "critical" to the overall flow of traffic in the borough.
He told council members that though the borough owns the traffic lights, it is the responsibility of PennDOT to make sure the timing is right. He has spoken with the district engineers in Dumore and thinks if they came to Honesdale and made adjustments to the timing, it would "correct traffic flow with very little effort."
He also said another major issue has to do with the railroad crossing on Fourth Street.
"I believe the negative effect this railroad crossing has on the overall flow of traffic is underestimated," wrote Linde.
He did say it was his understanding that borough officials had made contact with the Public Utilities Commission about finding a solution to the situation.
Council president F.J. Monaghan thanked Linde for making the presentation and then asked councilman Bob Jennings, head of the safety committee, to make arrangements to have a meeting with Linde to further discuss the matter and possibly find a solution.
Another matter brought up Monday night was a request from organizers of the Country Farmers Market to allow a winery to sell wine at their twice-weekly markets.
Donna Wood from Wood Winery, located just across the Wayne County line in Lackawanna County, told members she has done all of the necessary paperwork to sell wine during the markets.
She has received permits from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which does allow sale of wines at farmers markets, and has the proper insurance.
Jay Dale, one of the market organizers, said they are looking to expand what they offer and felt this would be a good fit for the local market.
The markets are held Wednesdays and Saturdays in August at the Fred R. Million Pavilion which is owned by the borough.
Councilman Mike Slish made a motion to allow the sale of wine at the markets pending approval by the borough solicitor.
When the vote was taken, Slish, Scott Smith and Monaghan voted for the motion while Jennings, Juanita Pisano and Harry DeVrieze voted no.
With a 3-3 tie because councilman Jim Brennan is serving a 45-day jail sentence for DUI, that left the tie-breaking vote up to Mayor Ed Langendoerfer. The mayor voted yes and the motion was approved.
Page 3 of 4 - Minding your speed
Also discussed was an offer from the Greater Honesdale Partnership to contribute $3,200 toward the purchase of a speed minder for the borough. The council would allocate up to $1,000 for the rest of the cost.
Jennings, who said he is in favor the equipment, asked GHP officials who would be responsible for the unit.
"I would hope the borough could take care of it," said Jeff Hiller, president of the GHP.
Hiller called it "important" and said not only does the unit remind drivers of speed limits, it also collects data to help police know the peak hours which they might want to patrol to catch speeders.
"I think it is valuable information we can use," said Slish.
In the end, the council, on a motion by Jennings, voted 6-0 to purchase the unit.
Another matter discussed at the meeting was the possible reconstruction of the playground at Central Park.
Last month, members of the Leaps and Bounds Committee made a presentation to the council. That group has been working for years with the local school district in trying to construct a handicapped friendly playground.
However, that effort fell through but they are still wanting to construct such a facility.
Since last month's meeting, Slish said he has met with the group twice and wants to move forward with a plan.
Slish said he will draw up plans as an overlay with the existing playground at the park and make a presentation to the council.
He also met with a representative of the playground company and said there are many good ideas coming forward.
"So far, the plans are looking very nice," said Slish.
He also told members of the council he believes the project should move forward as quickly as possible.
"This group is going to build this park either in our Central Park or in Hawley," said Slish, who added he would like to see it constructed in Honesdale.
In other matters:
• Finance committee chairman Scott Smith said an audit of the liquid fuels fund for 2010 and 2011 was conducted by the state and there were two negative findings.
One of those is the use of $15,000 in emergency snow removal which was not verified. The other was for pothole patching in which the state says the borough did not get bids.
Smith said the borough has 60 days to respond and rebut the issues and "we will be working on that."
Page 4 of 4 - • Slish announced the opening of the pool would be on Monday, June 17. (It was originally going to be June 15, however, that is graduation day at Honesdale High School.)
Slish also said that 11 returning lifeguards will be hired with other applicants being considered. Pool rates will remain the same as last year.
• A motion was made to appoint Smith as the deputy right to know officer when secretary Judy Pultanis is on vacation or otherwise unavailable.
"When Judy is away, Scott has agreed to do this," said Monaghan.
At first, the motion made by Slish did not get a second and it appeared to die for a lack of a second.
However, Pisano then asked a few questions and seconded the motion.
When the vote was taken, it passed 3-2.
Voting against the motion were Jennings and DeVrieze.
Pisano, Slish and Monaghan voted yes with Smith abstaining.
• The mayor requested a $500 donation for the upcoming Memorial Day parade, which is up $100 from last year.
Smith said the borough "cannot make a donation" until they "receive accounting for the money."
"Was that done last year?" asked the mayor.
Smith said he wasn't sure.
The motion to give $500 passed 6-0.