Improving traffic safety on Route 422 was the main topic of discussion at Cleona’s borough council meeting Monday. The council has been addressing the safety issue since the first of two accidents involving pedestrians in recent months occurred on the busy thoroughfare. Both incidents are still under investigation.
Mayor Larry Minnich said an officer from the Cleona Police Department has parked along Route 422 every day and issued citations, but drivers continue to exceed the speed limit.
Police Chief Jeffrey Farneski said accidents involving two vehicles are a fairly common occurrence along the highway. A car also ran into a house along Route 422 during the past month.
Farneski said drivers traveling west on the 40-mile-per-hour posted speed limit stretch from the Lebanon city limits to Cleona often fail to reduce their speed when they enter the borough unless they stop at a red light at Center Street. Council chairman Jim O’Connor said some vehicles are likely going 50 miles per hour when entering the borough on Route 422.
Councilman Douglas Hartman asked Police Chief Jeffrey Farneski if placing the digital speed read-out sign along Penn Avenue (Route 422) near the intersection of Cypress Street would be effective in reducing traffic speed. Farneski said the line of sight would be limited in certain areas where parking is permitted.
Farneski said it has been suggested that a new street light be placed on a utility pole on the north side of Penn Avenue just east of Garfield Street would add more lighting in that block between Garfield and Cypress and borough manager Kerry Rohland told council Met-Ed would install the light. Solicitor Colleen Gallo said it could take time for Met-Ed to get to the installation.
Hartman and Borough Manager Kerry Rohland said they will continue to consult with the Pennsylvania Local Traffic Assistance Program and Jon Fitzkee of the Lebanon County Planning Department on the traffic safety issue.
The council had planned to review candidates for a vacancy on council, but with three active members missing from the meeting, it lacked a quorum, preventing it from taking action. Gallo said the council has 45 days from when the vacancy was created, January 1, to appoint someone, and if it fails to do so the responsibility to appoint a new council member will be turned over to the borough’s vacancy board. If the vacancy board does not appoint someone in 15 days it will be filled by the Court of Common Pleas.
O’Connor said he has a letter from a borough resident interested in serving on council so Gallo recommended council schedule a special council meeting to take care of the appointment and other matters on the agenda that required action. That meeting will be held on February 12 at 6:30 p.m., if enough members can attend to have a quorum.
Also at the meeting, Chief Farneski reported that Steven DeVore, a newly hired officer of the Cleona Police Department, has begun serving as a school resource officer for the Annville-Cleona High School and certain other schools in the district. Cleona Officer John Maldonado has been serving that role on a short-term basis.
Hartman reported that the committee created to study rezoning in the borough will meet again with the Lebanon Planning Department director, Julie Cheyney on February 19.
“After that meeting we may have a recommendation for a new zoning plan to review with council before presenting it to the public,” Hartman said. Gallo said a public hearing would need to be held before council could adopt the plan.
In other business:
Councilman Patrick Haley said the recreation committee is looking for a part-time maintenance person for the Cleona Community Park and Playground and said Future Farmers of America members from Annville-Cleona High School will be working on projects at the park on March 16. He also reported the committee has scheduled a bus trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show on February 29 and seats are still available to the public on the bus.
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