Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stop, Look, Listen

Last Sunday, someone other than the Easter Bunny visited one of our neighbors. That's right, there was no Easter Egg Hunt for the Boyd family.

Instead there was another visit from a reckless driver who landed in their yard after running a red light, causing another accident on Lincoln Drive. I was sitting in our sunroom on Easter Sunday afternoon when I heard the loud crash. Based upon the noise & the sirens that followed, I knew it had to be pretty bad. My daughter, PhillyAngel, & I took a walk down the block to see what had happened this time.

The same neighbors who had a car land in their sunroom last year, see Lift-off on Lincoln Drive, were the unlucky recipients of another accident on their property. As the Inky reported, Renewed effort to slow Lincoln Dr. speeders, one of the homeowners, Sharon Boyd, was in her yard when an accident happened as she watched:

Boyd saw a blue car traveling east on Hortter Street sail through the red light and slam into a tan sedan heading north on Lincoln Drive.

She felt Peaches' heart quicken, and her own, as the two cars spun toward the house.

Boyd shouted for her husband, Larry, and her son Kevin to run.

The blue car knocked over a fire hydrant and took out some irises and shrubs on the side of the house. The tan one ripped the curb, then slammed into a utility pole in front of the house.

Yet again, there was a scene of screaming and crying passengers, swirling police lights, ambulances, and tow trucks, and broken glass on Lincoln Drive. In just the last two weeks, there have been six crashes on the drive - all in the residential area north of Johnson Street, with no fatalities.

Another neighbor, Policie Commissioner Ramsey, also reacted to the Easter hop:

Since Ramsey became commissioner last year, he has grumbled publicly about speeders on Lincoln Drive, which winds through Fairmount Park into the city's northwest neighborhoods.

After learning about the latest accident outside the Boyds' home, Ramsey said: "People just drive too doggone fast. Even when surfaces are wet they do not slow down. They slide into your lawn, your porch, anything because they lose control of their car."

To slow down drivers entering Lincoln Drive from Kelly Drive, a traffic-unit patrol car has been stationed for more than a year at the side of the road, a police spokesman said.

Unfortunately, Lincoln Drive is out of control. Even though we live nearby, I avoid it if at all possible. There are an average of 3 accidents a week. As the Inky noted, there were 6 accidents in the last 2 weeks, all in the 1 mile residential stretch past Johnson Street. Those who live along the Drive, including Ramsey, have had to take the initiative to protect their homes:

Several residents along the drive have posted "Keep Kids Alive Drive 25" signs on their lawns and placed large boulders around their properties to thwart wayward cars.

Ramsey said that about five months ago a car crashed into one of his boulders. "Again, somebody driving way too fast. Ruined their car . . . their undercarriage, anyway."

Part of the problem is that it is unclear who is responsible for the problem. A neighborhood group was formed to address the issue, once they figure out who to talk to:

"It's not clear who's supposed to address it: the city or the state," [Committee member Kittura] Dior said, noting that the drive is a state highway. "Everyone seemed to have an interest, but it wasn't a focused interest."

In fact, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation owns and does major reconstruction of the drive, mayoral spokesman Luke Butler said. The Streets Department is responsible for regular maintenance, and Fairmount Park crews plow part of the road.

Rep. Chaka Fattah (D., Pa.) said he believed Lincoln Drive was a city highway but said: "In either instance . . . we're going to work with the community to make sure they get the resources they need to get it done. The city has tried a number of things over the years as far as staging entry on the drive, but further up is still a problem."

OK, this much is true, that the road is a big problem. Now what? Any chance we could maybe fix it??


Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 said...

Thanks for noting reference to our Keep Kids Alive Drive 25 campaign. Readers can access information about our non-profit orgnaization at

In safety,
Tom Everson

Anonymous said...

We urge neighbors, city and state representatives to seriously examine TRAFFIC CALMING solutions which have reduced accidents in the US and Europe for decades.

We have met with other neighborhood groups around Philadelphia, who have independently come to the same conclusions - One group in particular shares our issues - the East Falls Traffic Committee. Henry Avenue has many times more accidents than Lincoln Drive.

Both have experienced an increase in traffic, not respective of the residential nature of these streets, due to suburban expansion.

The Northwest Traffic Calming Committee.