Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens


March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
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Charlestown Twp. Traffic Forum

 How to submit your views for this page.  (Please read carefully.)
Ganesh Kumar, Charlestown Oaks (05/12/08)
I have seen many accidents happening just before the intersection of Yellow Spring Road and Phoenixville road. The road on Yellow spring road after the community is very steep and curve. The cars are coming at high speed on yellow spring road on the slope towards Phoenixville pike. Today (05/9/2008) also had an accident. Is there any way we can prevent these accidents. In winter this road is highly slippery and dangerous. My suggestion would be to put speed bumpers 1 or 2 on yellow spring road near the community. Thank you
Gene Mitchell, Valley Hill Road (05/01/08)
Traffic on Valley Hill from the Exton direction prevents making a left turn down Rt 401. I used to sit because of a faulty light tripper, but now, its on coming traffic that backs up. I notice cars from both directions running the light after it turns red and there have been numerous near misses resulting in yelling and beeping. There are still fender benders too, and they seem to be related to drivers who can't wait to get through the intersection. This intersection needs some serious help with timing.
Greg Nesspor, Pikeland Road (04/26/08)
Townhip Resident since birth. (50 years)
I have been following with some interest and wry amusement the continual complaining about traffic in Charlestown Townhip.
To figure out what the problem is one only needs to look at a regional map to figure out that Charlestown is on the way to work for thousands of people every day. This is not going to change anytime soon. These motorists, I believe, purchase gas at similar locations as do we residents and as such contribute to the maintenance of STATE roads therefore having just as much right to utilize them as us or anyone else who pays taxes. And use them anytime they choose.......
EVERYONE takes the easiest route when traveling -- it may be unfortunate for some that they live on a road that is heavily traveled.....but those are the breaks. I lived on Rt 29 for the first 47 years of my life before moving to Pikeland Road 3 years ago. There is NO more heavily traveled road in the township than Rt. 29......complaining about a "problem" that is unsolvable short of denying or limiting access to roads (which will NEVER stand up in any court)is a waste of time and effort. I, as will others, got used to it after a bit.
I take exception to the description of Willistown Township as some sort of "traffic nirvana" in comparison to Charlestown -- I have sat in PLENTY of traffic jams in Willistown, and frankly the trash situation there is no better or worse than our own. However, as always, I believe there are many excellent real estate websites offering some fine residential values in Willistown Township for any resident who finds that the situations here in Charlestown become unbearable. Our township does a fine job with our roads and with what limited options are available to them. You simply cannot deny access to public roads nor should we.
Nancy Moffitt, Valley Hill Road (04/24/08)
Thank you Kelly for continuing the debate about the ongoing problems Charlestown residents face with our roads. Most recently, aside from the growing amount trash we must pick out of our yard on Valley Hill Road each day, we have found that it is nearly imposible to turn left onto Route 401 from Valley Hill Road in the morning. There is no turning light and drivers coming from the Exton side of Valley Hill are backed up a mile. They run the red light in their rush to get to work, as do the poor folks trying to turn left as their only chance is when the light turns red. Road rage at this intersection has become quite ugly as people yell at one another, honk and zoom into 401 at the same time from opposing sides of Valley Hill. I fear it will take a major accident to get a turning light installed.
In Willistown Township I see lots of steps to manage traffic issues, even on major state roads. There are blinking speed limit signs installed. There are "No Littering - Scenic Roadway" signs everywhere. Electronic speed signs are posted on Sugartown and Goshen Roads. Obviously the beauty and safety of the roads and the residents is a priority. I would love to see such a commitment in Charlestown.
Kelly O'Brien, Hollow Road (04/18/08)
I have been a resident of Charlestown Twp for over a dozen years now, having lived on Blackberry Lane, and for the past three years, on Hollow Rd. While traffic has been a constant concern, I am becoming increasingly disturbed by the almost epidemic way it has spiraled out of control and the total lack of ways to resolve the problem.
Yesterday, I removed a full grown Canadian goose from Hollow Rd. It's neck and left wing were broken and it had been hit in the center of the lane by someone that was either going too fast, or plainly didn't care to avoid it. It was banded, and its mate watched from the pasture as I moved it from the road into the woods.
Today, I returned from an appointment only to have someone tailgate and then pass me at a fairly high rate of speed at the first opportunity - ironically, it was very close to the spot where I had to remove the goose carcass the day before.
Our beautiful neighborhoods are having the charm sucked out of them by the daily onslaught of trash, roadkill and numerous safety issues that this traffic creates. We need to find some solutions!!!!
Nancy Moffitt, Valley Hill Road (04/06/07)
I agree with Paul Stevens. We live on Valley Hill, and like Bodine, the speeding cars and increased trash have really begun to erode our safety and quality of life. We have tried and tried to offer suggestions to the Supervisors about erecting speed bumps, borrowing electronic speed monitoring devices from neighboring townships to slow racing commuters, and have gotten nothing but excuses why nothing at all can be done. The state police don't and can't make speed enforcement a priority in our township. We residents need to join together and apply some pressure to get some changes made.
Paul Stevens, Bodine Road (03/18/07)
It s good that a lot of people are voicing opinions with respect to the possible closing of the Bodine Road Bridge. But if the township and its residents are to be the determining voice, we all have to separate fact from conjecture. More traffic? Less traffic? Who knows? Your guess is as good as mine. But one set of facts is undeniable: the safety and security of our neighbors is of paramount importance.
FACT: Emergency vehicles will be severely impaired if there is no Bodine Bridge. I took the worst possible scenario for an emergency vehicle by driving from the intersection of Valley Hill Road at Route 401 to any of the houses located just on the north side of the Bodine Road Bridge. This would include Michael Bowell, the new Wilson home, ours, the homes within Rosewood and those within Brooklands. Th e distance from Route 401 to the houses on Bodine Road is .7 miles; it takes 1 minute 35 seconds to get from 401 to those homes. The distance to the far end of Rosewood is 1.2 miles; it takes 2 minutes, 5 seconds. And to the far end of Brooklands, it is 1.6 miles, and takes 2 minutes, 45 seconds.
FACT: Without the bridge, a fire engine or ambulance will have to continue on Route 401 to Seven Oaks, make a hard right, backtrack to Bodine, then make another right to arrive at any of our homes. The comparable distances and times is pretty frightening. Suffice it to say the response times will be increased fourfold. Who among us would like to watch our home burn to the ground while those precious minutes tick away? Who would like to watch a loved one suffer a heart attack waiting those extra minutes for an ambulance to arrive?
Those are indisputable facts. And it is also a fact that the people who bought homes on or near Bodine Road did so, at least in part, because Bodine Road offers easy and direct access not only to emergency vehicles but for a whole raft of other reasons. The point is, each of us bought a home because of the location and the package of services and amenities that came with it. In real estate jargon, it's called "location." It would be quite unjust to take away things we bought, in good faith.
It has been posited by some that rebuilding the Bodine Bridge will encourage more development. The fact is, development will continue as long as there is land to build on. And it really doesn't matter where the land is.
One other important thing, which probably falls into the category of FACT. Mike Walsh and others have been making very valid points that the traffic on Bodine Road has gotten dangerous. The speed limit of 35 (which is probably too fast to begin with) is often exceeded. Since we arrived in 1984 littering, beer bottles and garbage bags have increased substantially.
Our Supervisors claim they can t do anything because the road or roads are PennDot s responsibility. I don t buy it. Townships can be very persuasive and can put substantial pressure on state agencies, when they want to.
If our supervisors can t, maybe we can. Maybe we should take a page from Henry David Thoreau and create our own brand of civil disobedience. Maybe we should form a neighborhood organization that deliberately puts obstacles in the road, closes down one lane, erects temporary speed bumps, maybe even mounts video cameras to tape and report speeding vehicles. If one can cause a summons to be issued to a person who parks illegally in a handicapped zone, why not a speeding ticket?
Now that would be a productive project, don t you think?
Paul Stevens
Jamie Reed, Mcquail Lane (03/18/07)
When the issue of the turnpike bridge first became an issue, our concern was how it would affect our neighbors and other roads in the community. Contrary to popular belief, those that live next to the bridge and next to the turnpike stand to lose the most if Bodine Road is turned into cul de sacs. However, safety is our major concern.
I suggest everyone think about change. No one really likes change but it happens, all the time. The removal of the Bodine Road bridge would be a large change. It would also be perceived as an inconvenience for many. However, it has been decided to widen the turnpike. There will be a large change/inconvenience anyway. If it is decided to replace the bridge, it will take at least six months for the bridge to be rebuilt, if not longer. During that time the people living on or near Bodine Road will establish a new pattern to get to and from home - that's change. We are creatures of habit. We have patterns that we follow. We just have to adjust from time to time.
I've heard that some people believe that their property value may decline if there is no bridge. I have no knowledge of this. Those living in cul-de-sacs off of Bodine Road would have that extra level of exclusivity - no through roads. Cul-de-sacs are notoriously prime spots. They are also considered safer locations for home owners. I suggest that anyone living right on Bodine Road would be happy, even if they haven't chosen to speak up.
The other thing to keep in mind is the safety factor. People speed down Bodine Road at all hours of the day and night. It is dangerous to cross the road to get your mail, or even pull out of your driveway. Widening Bodine road and cutting down trees on the road is not the answer to this problem. If anything drivers would take that as a sign that they can go faster.
Just about all houses have alarm systems these days. Response for a fire or police matter would be almost exactly the same amount of time. When people moved to Charlestown they were moving to the country (or what was the country). They had to realize that there wasn't a police force or a fire department. Help came from surrounding areas. That would not change. They would just approach from a different direction in some instances. As it is now, any fire on or off of Bodine Road has two fire companies respond. Kimberton comes up the hill. East Whiteland comes down the hill.
It appears little consideration is being given to those that live and own property that borders the turnpike. They will be affected the most regardless of what happens. If the bridge is removed those people will have to live with the dirt and construction noise, and possibly lose property. If the bridge is replaced and the turnpike made wider, those few will have to live with the dirt and the noise, and possibly lose property. All the others who voice their opinions will be "inconvenienced" for a temporary period of time - not permanently. There will also be a great deal more "impervious" surface once the turnpike is widened. This creates huge water problems for those of us that border the road.
West Pikeland is probably also weighing in on this change. I believe that if the bridge is eliminated, there will not be a large change in the number of cars on their roads. Bodine Road will not be a through street so the traffic should decline.
In conclusion, I think it only appropriate that the order of "weight" given to this large decision should be: 1st, property owners bordering the turnpike; 2nd, those that live right on Bodine Road; and 3rd, those that live off of Bodine Road.
Yes, the absence of the bridge will require some changes by all the residents. Will the absence of the bridge make the area more rural again? I would say yes. I believe that those that have bought or built houses along or off Bodine Road would have done so anyway even if the bridge hadn't been there. Their "habits" would have been established differently, so they wouldn't be dealing with this "change."
Before the township supervisors make their final decision, I would ask that they consider all sides with an open mind. I would ask that they obtain the studies that the turnpike is willing to supply and pay for. To just dismiss this idea without thoroughly investigating it would be making a biased decision instead of an informed decision. Regardless of what the final decision is the safety of the residents that live along Bodine Road, no matter which side of the bridge should be addressed immediately and corrective measures implemented.
Alix Coleman, Green Lane (03/18/07)
If the bridge is not to be rebuilt then it will make a very big impact on the traffic on Green Lane Road. Green Lane Road is very close and basically parallel to Bodine and like Bodine runs between Foster and Valley Hill. The slip ramp, a huge increase in the population in the area of Eagle, and of course the new development Deerfield when is up and running, and now the closing of the nearest parallel road, Bodine, that normally shares some of the load, all will add up to a really big change in the traffic on our road!
Sadly no one wants to see their country road be transformed to a major thorough fare and there is really very little to be able to stop it. However there are a few things that could be said, that might have some weight. We have three possibly four properties that have made the effort to be in the Agricultural Security District. One of the components of the description of being in the plan is, that farm vehicles and farm tractors have the right of way on the road. Also we have a lot of riders that use the road coming from several properties let alone the riders that have travel through here, riding the Horseshoe Trail which runs right down the road. Also we have a lot of people with horse trailers pulling out of driveways onto the road all the time. That is going to be a lot more dangerous. Several properties have just gone into conservancies and trails are part of that. (At this very moment I will be taking back some of my road frontage to accommodate a trail crossing my property.) All that seems a bit hollow if after all our efforts, our road is so full of traffic that the other things mentioned, must cease.
Jacob Merriwether, Yellow Springs Road (03/17/07)
Many well written and comprehensive comments have been written regarding the pros and (mostly) cons of the Turnpike Commission's request to remove the Bodine Road bridge over the Turnpike. I personally agree with those opposing removal of the bridge, but feel that there is another factor that has not been brought forward.
Back when the slip ramp to the Turnpike in Devault was being discussed, the Turnpike Commission claimed that the presence of the slip ramp would not impact traffic on Charlestown's roads. At that time I expressed the contrary view that the slip ramp in Devault will increase traffic on many of Charlestown roads, especially those that can be used to get to the slip ramp from areas north and west of Devault.
Specifically, there are a number of people, I have no idea how many, who live west of the Township in the general vicinity of Route 113 who travel to Philadelphia, King of Prussia, or points east of King of Prussia on the Turnpike. Those folks have the option, which many take, of actually traveling west (away from their destination) to get on the PA Turnpike at the Downingtown interchange, in order to take the Turnpike east to King of Prussia, the Expressway, or points east on the Turnpike. (My own family used to do this in the day's before Rt. 202 was made a limited access highway.) I predict that a significant portion of the traffic that now gets on the Turnpike in Downingtown to get to King of Prussia and beyond will instead travel to Devault and get on at the new slip ramp. They will add to the congestion on all of the east-west routes, including 401, Yellow Springs and Pikeland Roads, not to mention the added traffic on Valley Hill, Seven Oaks and Hollow Roads to swing over towards Devault.
A similar situation will exist for commuters who now find it best to travel to Route 23 and then east to King of Prussia to get on the Turnpike or the Expressway. Some of those people will find it to their advantage to instead head to Devault and get on the Turnpike via the new slip ramp.
This is a long winded way of saying that we already anticipate an additional level of traffic and congestion (forced on us by the Turnpike Commission) on Rt, 401 and Yellow Springs Roads, which will also tend to increase traffic on Valley Hill, Seven Oaks and Foster Roads, all paths towards Devault. While the slip ramp is a few years away, I believe its impact on our traffic is certain.
The last thing we need is to guarantee further congestion by severing traffic on Bodine Road and forcing even more traffic on Valley Hill and Seven Oaks and connecting roads such as Green Lane.
Shannon Muldoon, Green Lane (03/16/07)
My comments regarding the closing of the Turnpike Bridge on Bodine Road are based on my experiences as a new land owner in Charlestown Twp. My husband John and I recently purchased property on which we run our horse farm, Reinbow's End Farm. Our concern for closing the bridge lies with the safety issue that this will pose as the traffic increases on Green Lane. As our property was put into conservancy, provisions were made for a portion along the edge of the property to be utilized for the Horseshoe Trail.
My concern is that the increase in traffic flow on Green Lane as a result of the bridge closing will pose a hazard to those utilizing the trail on foot, bicycle or horseback.
Additionally, several of our clients choose to hack out on what is left of the countryside and Green Lane is currently the only safe route for riders. I fear the other roads such as Yellow Springs won't be able to maintain an increase in traffic flow with their already winding turns and slopes.
Bob and Terry Lochry, Greenbriar Circle (03/16/07)
We are calling on Charlestown Township to save our bridge! My wife and I, along with numerous area residents who will be most affected by this possible closure, responded to a comment form from the PA Turnpike Commission. These forms were forwarded to our Charlestown Board of Supervisors, Hon. Duane Milne, District Representative, as well as, the Turnpike Commission. The following highlights our greatest concerns. Please note that most concerns deal with the safety of our families and homes
  1. The response time for East Whiteland Emergency Vehicles (Fire and Ambulance) will significantly increase if the bridge is eliminated as verified by a member of the East Whiteland Fire Company.
  2. The fire department is also concerned about the increased turnaround time necessary for refilling their tanker trucks. Our communities have no fire hydrants.
  3. Increase driving time to nearest hospital.
  4. Emergency vehicles, school buses, and all other traffic will be forced to reroute to inferior secondary roads as Seven Oaks Road, Foster Road, Green Lane Road and Yellow Springs Road all of which are already challenging to travel due to winding and hilly terrain and narrow road widths.
  5. There is a safety concern associated with trying to make a left turn on to very busy Route 401 from Seven Oaks Road. Seven Oaks Road will now be the primary route for access to 401 if the bridge is eliminated. Route 401 is our main artery to schools, work, shopping and highways.
  6. The real estate affected with this closure is in a highly taxed area in Charlestown Township. Closure of the bridge could cause a great reduction in property value on the north side of the bridge due to the restricted access and inconvenience it would create for the local residency.
We hope that Mr. Kuhn, and our entire Board of Supervisors, feel as strongly as we do that the bridge that was deemed vital and necessary by the Turnpike Commission 50 years ago is even more critical to our much larger and busier community now. Why then would Charlestown Township even consider for one moment the elimination of this bridge, especially if the bridge improvements are not a financial burden on our township? We are asking our Board of Supervisors to listen to many of its constituents and save our bridge!
Sincerely, Bob and Terry Lochry
David L. Hitz, Rapps Run Drive (03/15/07)
My comments come from the perspective of being one of the original four owners of Rapps Run, the 95 acre site which we owned and developed in 1985. As president of the Rapps Run Hownowners Association, representing 9 lots totaling approximately 68 acres, I have been asked to make it known without equivocation, that we are united in our opposition to the abandonment of the Bodine Road bridge.
Having lived on Rapps Run since this very day 17 years ago , my family has traversed 401, Valley Hill, Foster, Green Lane, Rapps Run Drive, Seven Oaks, and Bodine Road on a daily basis, including both am and pm rush hours.
I am acutely aware of the existing traffic patterns, and know that an elimination of the Bodine bridge would produce consequential issues for police, fire, emergency vehicles;potentially life threatening road conditions on windy, curving, narrow, poorly maintained, steep sloped,
inadequately paved and guard railed roads such as Foster Road and Green Lane. These two roads are already dangerous and hazardous. Markedly increased traffic flow will increase the probability of a fatal accident on these 2 roads. On Green Lane there is a horse farm committed to handicapped children who routinely are walked on horseback down the lane during evening rush hour. This would no longer be possible from a safety perspective.
Traffic accidents, safety,and lifethreating conditions should be the major concern driving the decisions of the 5 Charlestown supervisors when contemplating this issue.
This decision must not be based on convenience, revenue, or the pristine nature of one road which is a necessary traffic artery for the residents of Charlestown and West Pikeland Township. Elimination of traffic traversing Bodine Bridge will produce serious consequences an all the surrounding roads.
Charlestown township is no longer the pastoral sprawling landscape of 1985. Development, thoroughly discouraged by the supervisors of that time, has now become a reality.The safety and the lives of our many families must take precident,and priority over the convenience of a very few members of this community and township.
David L.Hitz M.D. - President, the Rapps Run Homeowners Association
Frank Rundatz, Tinkerhill Road (03/14/07)
Whether the turnpike bridge is closed or not, the area around Bodine Road will not stay as it is today. With time, development and traffic will increase. This will negatively affect travel time and the response time of emergency services whether the bridge exists or not. It's important to point out that the decision before Charlestown is not Remove the Bridge vs. Keep Things The Same Forever.
Having said that, decisions that are made often have unintended consequences or even the opposite effect. As Mike Walsh pointed out, all the things that were meant to make Bodine Rd safer (add yellow lines, widen the road, etc) ironically ended up making it less safe by giving the perception that it was a highway.
Is it possible that re-building the Bodine Rd bridge will actually encourage more development? Not just in Charlestown, but in West Pikeland and the rest of our township neighbors that use Charlestown as a thoroughfare to their final destination. If so, travel could eventually be worse with the bridge than without it.
On another note, I should warn residents that live where they are planning bridge construction that it is not pleasant. Two years ago, I lived on Flint Hill Rd in Upper Merion Township when they replaced the Flint Hill Rd bridge over the turnpike so that it could be widened to 6 lanes. The construction lasted for months and my road was closed down the entire time. Particularly inconvenient was their rule that for safety reasons, removal of the old bridge could only be done from midnight to 6 am in case the bridge falls on the turnpike while they're working on it. For five days per week for three weeks, I listened to constant pile driving and grinding during those hours. Catch up on your sleep now if the turnpike commission has the same nightmarish plans for you they did for me and my neighbors.
Michael Klagholz, Valley Hill Road, 03/09/07
Having lived on Valley Hill road for 20 years, Iv"e had to put up with fire engines, ambulances and huge turnpike maintenance trucks at all hours of the day and night. I say it"s high time to move the turnpike maintenance road over to Bodine and close the bridge on Valley Hill Road!
Rick & Susan Muntz, Rapps Run Drive, 03/09/07
I apologize for a "real time" reply to the issue discussion rather than a prepared, exhaustive opinion. Very simply however, I don"t think we should confuse issues; safety to our citizens must always be paramount. The safety of travel on Bodine road should be supported by all residents and I'd be very suprised if it wasn"t. I'm glad the failed efforts have been brought to the attention of a wider audience; I for one am prepared to help.
All country roads faced with increased volume experience the need for safety improvements. The light on Valley Hill and 401 was years overdue and it only took one close call, which all of us either witnessed or experienced long before the light was put in place, to make that need apparent.
A bridge that has served a purpose for multiple decades is even more critical now. Reducing travel alterantives will only squeeze travel demand to other roads like Green Lane, increase Yellow Springs or as cited previously, create the potential of taking a left off of Seven Oaks which too is quite dangerous. Local country roads require as many alternatives as possible; not a reduction. Safety and enforcement are issues that must be addressed.
Mike Walsh, Bodine Road, 03/07/05
Living Along Bodine Road - A Charlestown Family's Perspective
In connection with the discussion as to whether the bridge over the PA Turnpike on Bodine Road should be expanded or closed, I want Charlestown Township and the Board of Supervisors to understand what it is like to live on what we refer to as the "Bod-Indy 500" speedway or what is more formally known as Bodine Road. I also want Charlestown Township and the Board to consider what can and should be done to slow down traffic on Bodine Road.
My wife and I purchased our lot on the corner of Foster and Bodine back in 2000. Bodine Road was a quiet country road then. There were horses across Bodine from our home on the Myers property. People on horse back were trotting past our property and cutting through our lot to travel along the Pigeon Run Creek to what is now known as the Brooklands. Many people also walked, jogged, and biked along Bodine. Indeed, Boy scouts safely hiked up Foster and Bodine along the Horseshoe Trail. We saw no reason to be concerned with traffic on Bodine Road, as it did not seem much different than any other quiet country road. There seemed to be nothing to encourage anyone other than our neighbors or those that lived close by to travel Bodine Road. It was the perfect, beautiful, peaceful country setting for us to raise our young family. We felt so blessed and lucky to be moving to such a wonderful area that appeared to be tucked away like an oasis protected from suburban sprawl, commercial retail and corporate parks.
There was no traffic signal at Valley Hill and 401 when we purchased our lot in 2000. If one were crossing 401 or turning onto 401 from Valley Hill, you needed to take your time and be careful. Turning onto 401 from Valley Hill was certainly not convenient for those just wishing to quicken their commute. Also, Bodine Road was narrower and there were no yellow striped lines down the road to keep cars on their respective sides at that time. With no yellow striped lines, Bodine Road did not lend itself to traveling at high speeds. There was nothing to make Bodine Road more convenient as compared to just remaining on 401. However, all of this soon changed. Our dream of living on a safe, tranquil country road was short lived.
There were changes made to Bodine Road to purportedly improve the safety of vehicles traveling on Bodine. The changes to Bodine included widening the road, repaving it, and putting yellow lines down the middle of the road. Further, at the end of Bodine the traffic light at Valley Hill and 401 was installed. However, these changes have rendered Bodine Road highly unsafe for those who live along it. For example, as much as the purpose of double yellow lines are to safely keep vehicles on their respective sides of the road, to some, they are seen to signify a highway and therefore encourage travel at greater rates of speed.
After these changes, the word clearly got out that Bodine Road, once a country road, was now a convenient, high-speed cut-through alternative to 401. Commuters from neighboring townships could now avoid the hassle of trying to turn onto 401 from 113 and the annoyance of traveling up 401 in traffic at 35-45mph. These commuters from other townships could now quickly bypass a section of 401 by utilizing Bodine Road. Bodine Road, now widened, newly paved and with yellow double lines, saw commuters traveling at speeds up to 60 mph to reach the intersection of Valley Hill and 401 with its convenient new traffic light. Commuters could then retrace their high speed drive back home without the worry of being caught by police or any other measure to slow down their travel.
Our family is now very cautious when doing things others take for granted, such as getting our mail or putting out the trash. Indeed, there is no feeling like that of a car speeding by you in excess of 50 mph when it is only several feet away from you. I do not feel that we can safely walk along our yard next to Bodine Road with our children or our dogs for fear of being hit by a speeding car. We diligently watch our children when they are waiting for the bus and pray that someone in a hurry does not circumvent the bus as they are crossing the street to board it. Further, several speeding cars have crashed into neighbors' front yards and struck either a telephone pole or a tree. The next time this happens, it might not just be a telephone pole or a tree, but it could be me or one of my children.
We tried to take measures to protect our family from the speeding vehicles on Bodine. We installed post and rail fencing around our property to give the children a barrier from Bodine Road and installed gates to be shut when the children were playing in the front yard. However, a vehicle must have missed a turn and backed up to turn around in our driveway, as they often do, and damaged one of our gates beyond repair and we are now unable to close them. We asked the Township to put in "watch children" signs and the Township nicely complied. However, the signs, which are now covered with graffiti, are ignored. Incredibly, after many letters and discussions with township supervisors and the township roadmaster these "watch children" signs are the only measure that Charlestown Township has been willing and allegedly able (they blame Penndot) to do in order to slow down the traffic on Bodine Road.
We, along with our neighbors, have pleaded with the Township for several years for them to do something about the excessive speeds on Bodine Road, but nothing has been done beyond the "watch children" signs. Indeed, we have written to the Township about this problem, as have our neighbors, as far back as 2004. Our prior correspondence is attached.
We asked the Township to put in a three way stop sign at Foster and Bodine. The Township said this was up to Penndot, as it owns Foster Road. Penndot refused to put in the stop signs because it claimed that Bodine Road did not have a constant flow of traffic impeding those turning on to Bodine from Foster and that it wouldn't install stop signs as a measure to slow down traffic. However, I feel it can be even more dangerous when a single speeding vehicle makes its way down Bodine from West Pikeland while an unsuspecting driver is making a turn onto Bodine, as has happened to those turning onto Bodine from Seven Oaks. However, that does not seem to be taken into consideration.
Also, the fact that there are pedestrians on the Horse Shoe Trail in this area was ignored and seen as insignificant by the Township. The Horse Shoe Trail comes up Foster Road on the side of Green Lane , crosses Foster at Bodine and continues along Bodine into West Pikeland. Cars traveling at excessive speeds along Bodine clearly pose a risk to anyone walking the trail. Individuals following the trail are also at risk as cars turning unimpeded by stop signs could hit them while they are crossing Foster Road. Clearly, if a 3 way stop sign was installed at the intersection of Bodine and Foster, the safety of those walking the Horseshoe Trail would be increased immeasurably.
There also should be a stop sign at Seven Oaks and Bodine Road. There have been two accidents that I have recently witnessed there. West Pikeland police responded to both of those accidents, even though they were considered to be in Charlestown, and vehicles needed to be towed from both accidents. As I previously mentioned, people travel at excessive speeds down the hill from West Pikeland into Charlestown. In addition, I was told there is no place for West Pikeland police to watch for speeders in this area. If there were stop signs at both Seven Oaks and Foster Road it would slow down traffic and make it safer for both pedestrians, who would be following an official trail, and other vehicles.
One must also ask, why is it that there are stop signs throughout Charlestown Township on roads like Bodine? I did learn that there was a similar road situation several years ago in Charlestown regarding speeding and cut-through traffic on Union Hill. The residents along and around Union Hill were able to get stop signs installed at practically every three-way and four-way intersection. There are stop signs at Aldham and Union Hill, Union Hill and Tinkerhill, Union Hill and White Horse, Rees Road and Blackstone Lane and Rees Road and Howell, not to mention other areas. I do not know if Penndot had a say in those areas, but Charlestown Township should do the same for the residents of Bodine Road.
When we were not able to get anywhere with the installation of stop signs on Bodine, we then asked the Township to install some type of slowing device such as speed bumps, humps, raised road areas, etc. However, we were told these type of slowing devices slow down emergency vehicles, make noise, people try to avoid them and turf lawns if they are installed. I would gladly deal with the noise and the risk of my lawn being turfed if it resulted in cars traveling slower on Bodine Road. I know that speed bump slowing devices work to slow down traffic and discourage commuters. They are highly effective just over our border in East Whiteland Township on Sidley Road (across Phoenixville Pike from Charlestown Oaks and the light at Yellow Springs Road). No one in their right mind would try to speed over those hurdles. However, to date, Charlestown has refused to install any such slowing devices.
Neighboring townships have taken action in similar situations to slow down and prevent cut-through from Charlestown residents and others, which makes Charlestown's refusal to act under these circumstances unexplainable. East Whiteland, as I mentioned, has speed bump slowing devices in residential areas on Sidley Road, and it has closed off Flat Road and other roads in residential areas during peak commuting times in the morning and the evening. These roads are very convenient for Charlestown residents who wish to avoid 29 or 401 and cut-through to get to the corporate parks and the borough of Malvern. Clearly, East Whiteland understands the hardships and the safety risks of cut-through traffic for residents living on these roads and has no problem preventing, discouraging or slowing down drivers from other townships on their roads. If other townships are preventing Charlestown residents from using their roads as cut-throughs and slowing drivers down in the name of safety for their residents, why can't Charlestown do the same for the residents of Bodine Road!
Along a similar line, Charlestown, by refusing to address speeding on Bodine Road, is in fact giving preferential treatment to the residents of West Pikeland and other neighboring townships at the expense of Charlestown residents who live along Bodine. From my home on Bodine Road (which is close to the West Pikeland border), I can tell you that in excess of 95% of the cars that I have witnessed traveling at excessive speeds along Bodine are either coming into Charlestown from West Pikeland or leaving Charlestown to go into West Pikeland. My conclusion, an apparently obvious one: many of the speeders are residents of other townships. Charlestown Township should not just concede to being a "cut-through township"; it needs to do what it can to limit cut-through and speeding to ensure the safety of its residents.
It is my understanding that if a new Bodine Bridge over the turnpike is installed it will be much wider and longer and, according to statistics from the Turnpike Commission, the larger new bridge will attract more commuters. I tend to agree with the Turnpike Commission that the traffic on Bodine will increase as we have seen that the other improvements that have been made to Bodine Road have encouraged more cut-through traffic. Therefore, I am extremely concerned about what Bodine Road has become and will become in the coming years. What can Charlestown Township do to make Bodine a safer road? The following:
  1. install speed bump type slowing devices;
  2. reduce the speed limit on Bodine Road to 25 mph for the entire stretch that Bodine runs through Charlestown;
  3. install a three-way stop sign at Bodine and Seven Oaks Road;
  4. ask Penndot to reconsider its decision not to install a three-way stop sign at Bodine and Foster Roads and install one to protect pedestrians utilizing the Horse Shoe Trail;
  5. install a three-way stop sign at Bodine and Greenbriar;
  6. install a three-way stop sign at Bodine and Rosewood;
  7. put signs up restricting non-residential traffic during peak commuting times;
  8. lobby to get a traffic signal installed at Seven Oaks and 401; and
  9. lobby the Pennsylvania State Police to increase its presence to enforce speed restrictions throughout the township.
On this last point, everyone who lives in or around Charlestown is acutely aware that we do not have a township police force, so there is little to no risk in cutting through Charlestown at excessive speeds. For those of you who travel on Route 401 near Seven Oaks, where the speed limit is 35 mph on 401, I am sure you have seen the West Pikeland police frequently station a patrol car on Seven Oaks Road to catch speeders on 401. Why would anyone travel on 401 past Seven Oaks at 35mph when they can go at much higher speeds down Bodine Road as a risk free alternative? If Charlestown is not going to have its own police force, it must take all of the measures it possibly can to thwart cut-through and excessive speeds on its roads in order to protect its residents.
I know that our Supervisors work very hard on behalf of Charlestown Township. However, I cannot help feeling that those of us who live on Bodine Road are "the forgotten" in Charlestown. It is ironic that there have been so many "improvements" made in this area in the name of "safety", when these "improvements" actually encourage cut-through at high speeds on Bodine Road, rendering it highly unsafe. There have been no measures undertaken by the Township in the name of "safety" to discourage cut-through traffic or speeding on Bodine. It is time for Charlestown Township to take the appropriate measures to make Bodine Road safe for me and my family and the other families that live along Bodine. I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the issues raised herein with you at your convenience or at one of the next Board meetings. Thank you.
Mel and Carol Sorensen, Rapps Run Drive 03/05/07 (via Linda Csete)
We just recently became aware of the discussion at the February 5, 2007 meeting of the Charlestown Board of Supervisors concerning the needed refurbishment of the bridge over the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Bodine Road and the alternative proposal from the PA Turnpike Commission to permanently close the bridge. We would like to add our voices to that of Mr. Stevens at the meeting (according to the minutes) and just posted on the Township s Traffic Forum website on March 1, 2007 against closing the bridge on Bodine Road.
It is the responsibility of the PA Turnpike Commission to maintain this bridge and refurbish it periodically as required. While it is understandable that they would look for ways to reduce their overhead as they increase their revenue through expansion of the Turnpike, the increased noise and pollution from the extra traffic must be borne by the residents who live nearby and yet do not have close access to this through-road. Now they are proposing to compound this burden by creating an obstruction to a key artery in and out of Charlestown, with a daily deleterious impact on travel distances, traffic burden on alternate roads, safety and sense of security to these same residents, and others who rely on Bodine Road.
The full impact that this rather drastic proposal could have is immediately evident to most of us who depend on Bodine Road each day, especially those who live on or just off Bodine, including those residents who live on Rosewood, Greenbrier, Rapps Run, Foster, Seven Oaks, Bassett, Evergreen, Valley Hill and Greenlane roads. For some of these residents, the added burden will be increased traffic on their roads. For the majority, there will be more time and travel distance each day to work, school, shopping and a host of amenities and services they rely on. For some, the distance to locations south of Valley Hill on 401 will be increased by over a mile. One can anticipate that the Seven Oaks intersection with 401 will be particularly busy and dangerous, especially as drivers try to turn left on 401, and that there will be a long back-up of traffic on that road during rush-hour. It is also probable that the routes of school buses will be severely affected and our children will spend more time in school buses as they try to navigate around the obstruction or, perhaps, have to walk further to access the buses. Property values could also be adversely affected, since convenience and access have real estate consequences.
Of most concern is the increased response time of several minutes for ambulances, large fire vehicles, police and other emergency services. This will reduce the residents sense of security and safety. It will likely increase the risk to life and property and possibly increase insurance costs. There is also a risk of litigation to the Township if such a change results in any catastrophic injury that can be attributed in part to the obstruction.
We recognize that recent construction in the area has increased the volume and speed of traffic on Bodine Road. But that only underscores that people are relying on this road and that its obstruction will frustrate that need and shift the burden to the other available roads. There are more clever ways to increase the safety of Bodine Road that do not just block it, such as widening the road in places to increase visibility and including more stop signs along its path.
We have sent an email to the Board of Supervisors asking that they take these arguments into consideration and, should they still entertain the possibility of closing the bridge on Bodine, we ask that they notify all residents of their intention, not just those on Bodine Road, so that the full voice of the residents might be heard.
Sincerely, Mel and Carol Sorensen
Christopher P. Zubyk, Bodine Road 03/04/07
Bodine Road Turnpike Bridge
As we are aware, the Bodine Road Turnpike Bridge is at issue with the future expansion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The question is whether to close the bridge because of the multiple bridges in close proximity or to spend $ 1.5 million dollars to rebuild the bridge to accommodate the widening of the Turnpike. Many facts are tossed back and forth with some of them overstated and false. I believe the question at heart is what is best for Charlestown Township, not specific individuals.
Let's first address each concern I have seen to date with a common sense approach. The first of these issues stated is that the ten or twelve houses on the south side will be in favor of it because, "it will effectively turn Bodine Road into a cul de sac, virtually eliminating all traffic on the road, probably increase their real estate values considerably".
If I am not mistaken, the houses on the North end of the Bridge will also "enjoy" the same benefits of turning Bodine Road into a cul de sac, virtually eliminating all traffic on the road, probably increasing their real estate values considerably. Additionally, when you look at the cost to build the bridge and the houses it will "affect", the cost per house comes out to approximately $ 62,500 per house. Is that a wise use of precious and limited funds?
Secondly, let's look at the emergency services and any possible impact. Ideally, we would like to have a firehouse and paramedics on every corner of our township. We also understand possible increases in drive time to calls. There are two alternative ways to reach the same location, either utilizing Seven Oaks Road or Valley Hill Road. Using the Valley Hill "loop" would take you around on Valley Hill to Green Lane onto Foster and back to Bodine up to Bodine and Valley Hill which is 3.4 miles. So, any house up to 1.7 miles on the loop will be better served by going on Valley Hill Road. Additionally the incremental increase in travel time affects houses differently as you get away from the 1.7 mile point. The actual additional time can be debated, but real life terms we are looking at approximately 1.5 miles in the worst case scenario. I am trying to calculate how this will add an additional 8 -10 minutes according to Mr. Alston.
Another concern was;
"..If the ambulance driver did not know that the bridge was closed"
We have new developments being constructed, as we speak, in other parts of our township with many new streets and roads within them including Deerfield. How do the ambulance drivers know where these new roads exist? The same way they will know that the bridge is closed!
Statistics have been stated that simply are not accurate in reference to fires. It is extremely difficult to determine the how quickly fires grow because of an extremely large amount of variables. This is a case of overstating opinion in an attempt to make a point. The first fact, in understanding our area, is that the Northern border of the township is at Seven Oaks Road. Any houses on the North side of that point are handled by the Kimberton Fire Company. It is also understood that any emergency call placed for a house fire will, at least, have the response of both the Kimberton Fire Company ( on the North side of the bridge) and the East Whiteland Fire Company with possible additional help of the Lionville Fire Company. So houses on both sides will have some small impact of service, but clearly not as stated in the meeting.
It was stated that the houses on the North side of the bridge whose numbers are substantially larger and continuing to grow, is not quite true. The available land to build new houses in that specific area is very small if not existent at all. I do not know where the growth is going to take place?
Another point discussed is the;
"huge amount of pressure on Seven Oaks Road not only from increased commuter traffic but also the quality of the road with respect to emergency vehicle traffic."
Let's take a look at this on a few levels with the first being the "emergency vehicle traffic". Can we please not overstate the burden the emergency vehicles will impose on Seven Oaks Road. The frequency in which that will happen just does not render this issue even relevant to address in this discussion. Can we also please remember that the increase of any possible traffic in one area will reduce the flow on another road. Please take that into account when looking at this issue. Additionally, this could have an effect of reducing the amount of traffic cutting through the township using our roads. This will reduce the wear and tear on all township roads as well as possible traffic accidents. Based upon the most recent data, there is a 14 times likelihood of a traffic accident over a house fire and an approximate 13 times likelihood of death due to car accidents over house fires. Reducing traffic through our community will address the most prevalent cause of injury and death and emergency calls.
Another issue brought up is the "turn-around" the turnpike will have to build when they close the bridge. The point states;
" Evidently, they haven't looked at the geographic configuration of the road at that point. Simply put, there is no land to create a turnaround. The ground drops off precipitously, especially on the North side."
For those people that are not familiar with the history of this area when the turnpike was built, or cannot see the way the road was constructed, lets take a look at that. The turnpike added earth and raised Bodine Road on either side to allow the bridge to be constructed. What would be done is that the extra earth used to build up that area would be removed. We would not have to "create a landfill from hell ( and probably have to do an EPA environmental Impact study first) or they will have to build an elevated area with concrete pillars and steel beams - a platform, if you will - to make a turnaround."
What will be accomplished by returning the land to its natural state;
  1. Provide the "room" needed for any possible turn-around.
  2. Return the natural flow of water coming down Bodine Road. The area around this false build-up of land did not take into account the water runoff. I wonder what type of EPA Impact study was preformed at that time to look into this serious issue. The Reed family has received the brunt of this oversight and has had do deal with this issue. The township has tried to fix this problem for many years, spending a tremendous amount of money, with no real solution. That in itself produces a very serious safety issue that can finally be resolved.
Our township is trying to preserve itself with its natural beauty and has even gone to the point of taxing the residents so there would be a fund to purchase the development rights of properties. This is an excellent opportunity to continue that tradition by reducing traffic cutting through the township in way we (the township) can receive possible financial compensation. Understanding the cost to rebuild the bridge is approximately $ 1.5 million dollars. What benefits can we achieve;
  1. Reduce traffic cutting through our township.
  2. Reduce wear and tear on our roads.
  3. Reduce possible traffic accidents
  4. Increase values of ALL properties
  5. If necessary, construct a light at the intersection of Seven Oaks and Route 401. The approximate cost to install the light at Valley Hill and route 401 was $ 150,000.00. The intersection of Seven Oaks and Route 401 is much less complicated and will cost less.
  6. Possibly looking at a "pedestrian bridge" over the turnpike.
Let's take advantage of this clear opportunity to continue the goal of preserving our township. Christopher P. Zubyk, Bodine Road
Paul Stevens, Bodine Road 03/01/07
I attended and listened quite carefully to the presentation made to the Board of Supervisors on Monday, 5 February with respect to their proposal to close permanently the bridge over Bodine Road. As a resident who would be dramatically affected by this, I would like to share my thoughts with you and hope you will take into account the points I make.
Essentially, I have two very serious problems with this proposal, and neither problem can be addressed, alleviated or even reflected by PA Turnpike Traffic Counts.
Please bear in mind that those of us who live on the north side of the turnpike will be affected in ways dramatically different from those who live on the south side. The ten or twelve homeowners who live on the south side will be, I am sure, very much in favor of closing the bridge. This is because it will effectively turn Bodine Road into a cul de sac, virtually eliminate all traffic on the road, probably increase their real estate values considerably, and have no impact whatsoever on their ability to receive emergency services. However, for those of us living north of the turnpike, and whose numbers are substantially larger and are continuing to grow, the situation is quite different.
The first serious problem has to do with emergency vehicles fire engines, ambulances, etc. Right now, if there is a fire anywhere along Bodine Road, Foster, even parts of Seven Oaks Road, a fire engine will come up Route 401, turn onto Valley Hill Road, continue onto Bodine, cross the bridge (if necessary) and get to the fire. If the bridge is closed, and there is a fire anywhere north of the Turnpike, fire engines will come up Route 401 (as they do now), but then they will have to pass Valley Hill Road, continue to Seven Oaks Road, make a hard right turn, then retrace their steps back to Bodine Road, in order to reach any of the homes north of the Turnpike. This, according to Fred Alston, will add 8 to 10 minutes to their response time, because fire engines and apparatus simply cannot move as quickly as passenger cars. If, as Mr. Alston points out, a house fire doubles every 15 seconds, this additional lag in rescue equipment and personnel will allow a fire to increase by 30 to 40 times. How much more of our home will any of us lose because the bridge is closed?
Perhaps more critical, what happens if someone's life is in danger, if someone is trapped inside a burning building, and 8 to 10 extra minutes pass before help arrives? How much more severe will their injuries be? How many could die?
Obviously, the same holds true for ambulances. Imagine what would happen if a person suffered a heart attack, and the ambulance from Paoli Memorial had to travel an extra 8 to 10 minutes before the sick person received any form of emergency medical service.
And what would happen if the ambulance driver did not know that the bridge was closed? What if the ambulance turned onto Valley Hill Road, then continued onto Bodine, then discovered the bridge is gone, and had to retrace his steps? If it only happened once, that would be one time too many.
One other thing: closing the bridge will put a huge amount of pressure on Seven Oaks Road, not only from increased commuter traffic but also the quality of the road with respect to emergency vehicle traffic. I think the road would have to be renovated, resurfaced, perhaps widened. And there would absolutely have to be a traffic light installed where Seven Oaks dead ends into Route 401. The additional daily commuter traffic along with all the shopping traffic going into Exton via Valley Hill Road will make left hand turns suicidal without traffic controls.
The other serious issue has to do with the PA Turnpike's statement that, if they close the bridge, they would widen Bodine Road on both sides of the turnpike to provide for a turn-around. Evidently, they haven't looked at the geographic configuration of the road at that point. Simply put, there is no land to create a turn-around. The ground drops off precipitously, especially on the north side. For them to widen the road will mean that either they have to create the landfill from hell (and probably have to do an EPA Environmental Impact Study first) or they will have to build an elevated area with concrete pillars and steel beams a platform, if you will to make a turn-around. At that point, it would probably be cheaper for them to remake the bridge.
We know the process has just begun, and that you have many things to consider, including the opinions of all those who live in Rosewood, Brooklands, and the many private homes along the road. Frankly, my wife and I would welcome the dramatic reduction in traffic along the road in front of our property; in recent years, Bodine has become a country speedway, and the litter of empty soda bottles and McDonalds bags has increased many fold. But we're not sure those benefits outweigh the risks.
Paul & Pat Stevens
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