2 Muncy streetscape projects will improve intersections
MUNCY – An update on the Muncy streetscape project was given by Borough Manager, Bill Ramsey at the Muncy Professional Business Association meeting held on September 4. Two major projects are in place to improve the intersection on Main and Water Streets and the intersection on Water and Washington Streets near the OIP.
Just that very afternoon Ramsey said he witnessed a major holdup of traffic for up to an hour by two oversized trucks trying to cross over the intersection of Main and Water Streets in Muncy. They were each fined $500. Even as he spoke turning trucks could be seen in the background through the window of Orlando’s Deli where the meeting was held.
Ramsey went on to explain that the Muncy Borough police are in force and certified by PennDot to do on site inspections.
A joint project with the borough and PennDot will begin this March to improve the safety and conditions of the intersections. The monies are coming from federal funds through Act 13 and “this part is minuscule” according to Ramsey. “It is based on our population and distance of boundaries to the nearest well pads. The formula is flawed,” he said, “because the trucks have to go through Muncy to get to the well pads, meanwhile destroying our infrastructure.” Muncy will only receive $27,000 with $500,000 being the cap.
Meanwhile the County is supplementing with funds toward the project. The Water and Washington Streets will include a high pedestrian crosswalk, new curbing and siding (a block in each direction) and a main foot path made of stamped asphalt that will look like brick to the elementary and high school buildings. This project will cost $306,000.
Traffic lights will also be replaced. “They are still hanging by wires,” pointed out Ramsey. “They are no longer allowed. They are maxed out in weight and no signage can be added.” The borough applied for funding through a grant for automated enforcement asking for $267,000. The money is specifically used for red lights and poles which need to be installed in order to become a high visibility intersection with turning restrictions. “We have 42 percent of our own funding and this will help,” said Ramsey referring to the grant.
Some ask if this will only encourage more truck traffic coming into town, and Ramsey reported that according to PennDot they will come here anyway. There is an Industrial Park that exists here. “We counted trucks, recorded directions, and pedestrian crossings for an analysis,” continued Ramsey. “Peak hours scored a D. Once an hour at least some truck blocked all four lanes. So we have a lot of documentation on that.” The “smart lights” will calculate pedestrian time. However, pedestrians usually park on the same side of the street they want to be on, and so there’s not much foot traffic anymore at the intersection. The lights are also equipped with radar sensors that can read and review traffic flow.
To accommodate the large light poles, the Myers Auto building will be demolished and an appropriate green space is in the design phase for the space. Maybe an historical marker denoting the old log structure that once stood there could be placed. Ramsey added, “this building has been for sale forever. It’s hazardous and is causing a blight situation in the middle of town.” It was built in the 1790s for stage coach routes and the intersection hasn’t changed much since.
This project will cost $667,000 and is contingent on getting the grant as there’s little borough funds available for either project.
The Muncy Borough has not seen one one major project downtown since 1985. “Now we have two,” concluded Ramsey. They are hoping for notification on the grant by fall. The Borough is using Act 13 funds to purchase the Myers Auto building on the north corner of Main and Water Streets from Rennel Rodarmel. The inspection for the construction is already in place.