East Falls Now Article: All the Speed We Don’t Need

Henry Avenue! Poor Henry.  We disparage his name on many, many days and not because it is anything ‘he’ has done but due to those who traverse the street so named and do so at irresponsible rates of speed while making questionable decisions by driving aggressively through a residential neighborhood. It is, after all, Henry Avenue and not Henry Highway. 

Actually, Mayor Alexander Henry would probably be surprised at how often his name is invoked and especially related to the matter of speeding. In the time he was mayor, from 1867 to 1888, speeding cars was not one of the problems with which he had to contend. 

In this article, I am writing to advise the community that I have submitted an amendment to HB606, a bill regarding the use of radar by local law enforcement. My amendment will expand the Roosevelt Boulevard pilot project to include speed cameras on Henry Avenue. I had submitted this same amendment to the original pilot legislation in 2018 and the amendment was removed in the Senate, with no explanation. 

My plan this time is to ensure that we have an organized community effort to advocate for this amendment and to enlist as much support as possible.  

The Roosevelt Boulevard pilot project is up and running. Roosevelt Boulevard is a 12-mile, 12-lane arterial where speeding and fatalities due to speeding occur. It is my belief, since this is a pilot project to help determine the benefit of speed cameras on other roads, that Henry Avenue, a 4-lane arterial through residential neighborhoods, is a more typical example of the type of roads we find in the commonwealth. 

As of this writing, I have garnered the support of the prime sponsor of HB606, Rep. Greg Rothman, and the support of the majority and minority chairs of the House Transportation Committee, Rep. Tim Hennessey, and Rep. Mike Carroll, respectively. 

I will be contacting the Senate majority and minority Transportation Committee Chairs, Senators Wayne Langerholc and John Sabatina, respectively, to seek their support as well.  

The opportunity to amend legislation that may be called for a vote and is the same section of law is infrequent regarding this topic. The fact that it is a radar bill for use by local law enforcement is a bonus. If the bill becomes law, we can encourage our local law enforcement to focus on Henry Avenue and those drivers who blatantly disregard the posted speed limits. Currently only state police can use radar.  

I know that there may be some opponents to speed cameras. Some citizens believe that this is nothing more than a revenue generating opportunity. In fact, this is a tool to help our local police protect our community. 

As always, I am interested in your thoughts on this matter.  Please email me at RepDeLissio@pahouse.net or call my office at 215-482-8726.