By Elizabeth Perry
Stowe resident, Melissa Hatherley, doesn’t let her kids take the bus for fear they’d get hit crossing Benwood Avenue.
The mother of four decided to do something about it and circulated a petition to get speed humps permanently installed on the street.
She was able to gather 164 digital signatures and 17 more on paper by talking about the issue on Facebook and going door to door before bringing her concerns to the Stowe Township board of commissioners.
“A neighbor said, ‘I’ve lived here for 30 years, they’ll never do it,’” Hatherley said.
That neighbor was wrong. Commissioners voted to install the permanent speed humps on Nov. 9.
Newlywed Hatherley said after the excitement of planning her wedding, she needed a new project and the fact that the speeders on Benwood were causing her consternation.
“There’s multiple times where me and my kids almost got hit,” Hatherley said.
In September she began researching PennDOT rules on traffic calming and decided to propose speed humps as a solution.
“I just reached out to everyone and got their input and kept pushing it forward,” Hatherley said.
She spoke with commissioners Cheryl McDermott, Dave Rugh, Darrell Chesnutt and Public Works Director Dan Burkhardt, whom she knew previously.
“I was working with her on that,” McDermott said.
McDermott, a hair stylist as well as commissioner, said one of her customers is Hatherly’s neighbor, and that person’s car was hit three times on the street.
Speed bumps and speed humps are a bit of a cause for McDermott, who once wrote an editorial on the topic for Gazette 2.0. Speed bumps waste a lot of time and resources for the township, in McDermott’s estimation, because they need to be picked up in the wintertime in order to keep from damaging snow plows.
“Humps don’t do damage, they’re permanent and they do the job, they go curb to curb,” McDermott said.
Now that the board has agreed to the measure, the next step is to determine if they’ll bid the project out or have it done in-house.
“We’ve got to make sure if we do this in-house if we’re liable for anything,” McDermott said.
McDermott hoped to have the project on board before winter. Hatherley is pleased her efforts have yielded results.
“I encourage more people to attend [municipal] meetings. I was shocked about how much they understood and listened. Go and speak up and be a voice for your community,” Hatherley said.