South College and Walnut Street Intersection

A recent study by Carlisle Borough revealed that 10 times more crashes were recorded at the intersection of South College and Walnut streets in the borough than at other intersections on College Street.

Michael Bupp, The Sentinel

A dangerous intersection on South College Street in Carlisle will soon see safety-related improvements.

In May, Alan Duxbury, who lives near the intersection, asked Carlisle Borough Council to conduct a traffic study to determine if stop signs could be added to South College Street at the intersection with Walnut Street.

The request came after he had witnessed a crash at the intersection in which a vehicle pulling out from Walnut Street was hit by an SUV traveling on South College Street, causing the car to spin. There had been a similar crash two weeks prior at the same intersection.

Councilwoman Robin Guido said she had also seen dangerous driving at the intersection, having seen drivers run through the Walnut Street stop sign on six or seven occasions.

Councilwoman Deb Fulham-Winston said it is often difficult to turn at the intersection due to how busy College Street is and how fast the traffic travels.

“Living on that corner, we can tell you a lot of people do well over 25 miles per hour,” Duxbury said.

A study presented to the borough council at its workshop meeting Sept. 6 showed that the intersection did not meet the criteria set by PennDOT for state routes, of which College Street is one.

Public works director Mark Malarich said the purpose of a stop sign is not to control speed, but to establish the right of way. In this case, South College Street is clearly a busier street than Walnut Street, seeing 700 percent more traffic.

Study results

The study confirmed that speeding is an issue through the intersection with the average speed clocked at 38 mph in a 25-mph zone.

The study also looked at crashes at the intersection, and found that 10 times more crashes were recorded at that intersection than at other intersections on College Street.

“Some type of action is worthwhile to improve safety,” Malarich said.

One recommendation was to improve sight distance from the intersection, which is inadequate even at the posted speed, by changing the no-parking zone. That solution would require an ordinance. Sight distance could also be improved by trimming back or removing trees at the intersection.

Malarich said the council could also consider traffic calming techniques to catch the attention of the drivers to make them slow down. These measures could include painting the street to make it appear more narrow and adding signs that warn drivers to slow down. If those don’t work, the borough could install bump-outs at the intersection.

The council directed borough staff to start with the lower level measures that cost the least and require less paperwork with PennDOT with the intention of progressing to other measures, if necessary.

Email Tammie at tgitt@cumberlink.com. Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.

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