Catty’s Second Street dilemma:
At Catasauqua Borough Council’s May 2 meeting, Deborah Penn took to the podium to address council on proposed changes to the traffic flow on Second Street.
“I feel I have no voice in this agreement,” she said. “When council members are running for election, they can stop by my house, but no one talks to me when changes this important are happening.”
Penn presented her list of complaints. She said removing parking options will not only lower property values but may render a home unsellable.
“You are putting us in a situation where we may need to abandon the investment we made in our homes,” she said. “The burdens placed on us would be too harsh. When we walk away, how will that affect the tax base that is paying for all the changes?”
PennDOT’s latest plan to relieve congestion on Race Street includes installing traffic lights at its intersections with Lehigh, Front and Second streets. Second Street would be converted to two-way traffic, up the hill to its intersection with Union Street and Howertown Road.
“During icy weather, we watch cars slide down the hill,” Penn said. “Can you imagine what is going to happen when cars need to go up the hill?”
She also described a scenario where oil and merchandise deliveries are impossible, friends and family will find it difficult to visit, and homeowners will need to haul groceries from distant parking spaces.
“Traffic backs up on Second Street now,” she said. “During the three busiest times of the day, the exhaust fumes are unbearable. How is another light going to lessen the traffic jam?”
Penn claimed there are 99 homes for sale in the borough. Other data shows around 25. Penn suggested that the number of homes available is indicative of residents trying to get out of the borough before all the changes are made.
“PennDOT runs Race Street, but the rest of the borough is on you,” she said.
After the meeting, Councilwoman Christine Weaver told The Press the borough has a traffic committee looking into viable alternatives for residents on Front and Second streets.
“Nothing is set,” she said. “We know changes are coming, and we are working to address the transition.”
She said it is not an easy process.
“We don’t get many residents at the meetings to join in the discussion,” she said.
The borough established a traffic committee about a year ago. Now that the direction and a general plan are established, the committee is meeting more frequently to work on the details.
The next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. March 12 at the municipal building.
“Everyone with concerns is invited to attend,” Weaver said. “It is best we get the details out now, so we can address how these problems can be resolved.”
When the changes were proposed, council President Vincent Smith promised there would be acceptable parking for all residents.
In other action at the meeting, borough Manager Eugene Goldfeder reported the borough has received a $50,000 grant from the Trexler Trust for work at the George Taylor House. The grant will cover ongoing repairs needed for proper maintenance.
In a related action, the Revolution Church on the corner of Race and Lehigh streets asked the borough for permission to use the George Taylor House parking area during its church services. A spokesman for the church indicated he did not think there would be a conflict between church services and events at the George Taylor House.
The matter was referred to committee for a recommendation.