Residents like paved street, not speeders

BURGETTSTOWN, Pa. – Residents of Dinsmore Avenue like the fact the borough recently paved their street. What they don’t like is that the smoother the street, the faster motorists drive.

Along a two-block stretch of the borough street, there are 22 school-age children whose families live there. Their parents and neighbors are concerned the speeding motorists with children walking and bicycling along the street are a recipe for disaster.

Motorists entering the borough from the Francis Mine area of Smith Township – where the speed limit is 35 miles per hour – aren’t slowing down to the marked 25 mph within the borough. When the road was rougher, they usually did slow down to protect their vehicles. But with the new asphalt there are no natural speed bumps, according to residents.

“They always came through there a little too fast for me,” said Dinsmore resident Vinnie Zielinski. “But since it’s gotten repaved it’s gotten worse. We appreciate the new road but they’ve got to slow down.”

About a dozen neighbors on the street took their concerns to borough council where Council President Jim Reedy said they would take steps to curb the speeders, including new signs, road markers and targeted police patrol.

“We can do a million different things, but whether they’ll work is another question,” said Reedy. “We can put a patrol car up there and they’ll slow down but when they leave, they pick it back up again.”

Misty Berdine is another Dinsmore resident who spoke to council. She is confined to a wheelchair but goes about her day like any of her neighbors. She rolls out to her car, drives to pick up her children from school, gets groceries and hauls the kids to Scouts and ball games.

But her mother, Darlene Vacsulka, is concerned the speeding vehicles along the street won’t see Berdine and might hit her as she maneuvers in and out of her car parked along the street.

“She sits low in her wheelchair to begin with,” said Vacsulka. “I worry about her all the time.”

Berdine asked council about putting a handicapped parking sign in front of her house and council briefly discussed it, referring a review of the matter to the borough solicitor.

“People tell me all the time to not pave their street because the cars will go too fast,” said Council member Sammi Wank. “When there are holes they slow down. It isn’t right that they have to think that way.”

At the urging of Council member Phoebe Suica, the board passed a resolution in support of pending state legislation that would allow municipalities to have the same speed control devices – namely radar – as Pennsylvania State Police.

Reedy said new signs would be ordered for Dinsmore Avenue immediately. But in the meantime, residents will have to remain vigilant and keep their children close.

“I’ve seen enough cats hit by cars on our street already,” said Zielinski. “I sure don’t want to see them hit a kid.”

In other borough council business:

Resident Sean Sanders of Short Street said sections of his street are “caving in” due to heavy truck traffic from the recent paving of Route 18. Some of the road millings were hauled past his house and dumped at the end of the street. Reedy said he would look into it.

“It’s an old town with old streets with not a lot of base,” he said. “When they start to go they go quickly.”

Council approved the purchase of reflective tape to create a crosswalk between the borough Main Street parking lot and Citizens Bank.

More than 150 people have signed up for the community picnic at Idlewild Park.

Council is discussing the purchase of a tailgate salt spreader for next winter.