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Fatality Spurs Talk of Warminster Road Upgrades

Local residents have asked the Hatboro Borough Council to make improvements to Warminster Road following last month's pedestrian death.

A month after a 75-year-old Upper Moreland pedestrian was killed while walkingin Hatboro, her family and a neighbor have forged a campaign to have Warminster Road made safer.

Hatboro resident Scott Wenger, an interventional radiation specialist for Cooper Hospital in Camden, shared with the Hatboro Borough Council how in November he tried to save the life of Upper Moreland resident Dorothy Lodge, who had been struck by a car practically outside of his Lycoming Avenue home in November.

"I never want to see out in front of my home what I saw that night," Wenger, a father of four and medical professional of 20 years, said Monday night. "I was scared."

Wenger, along with Lodge's daughters, Joan Schemmer and Dot Stanley, said they would like to see measures put in place to slow traffic speeding by on the road, which has a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour. 

Hatboro Police Chief James Gardner said police regularly do speed enforcement on the roadway, which is jointly owned by Hatboro and Upper Moreland Township. Gardner would not comment on whether speed was a factor in Lodge's death.

The addition of sidewalks on both sides of the street would certainly step up safety, Gardner said.

"We certainly don't want pedestrians walking on the street," Gardner said. 

Lodge's daughter's said the vivacious Red Hatter, avid gardener and employee of Sunrise Assisted Living was hit by a vehicle as she crossed the street. The driver, a 60-year-old Upper Moreland man, has not been charged.

Lodge's death, coupled with a hit and run days before at the 7-Eleven in Hatboro, made for a "difficult month," according to Wenger.

Wenger, who reached out to State Rep. Tom Murt (R-152) for support before being redirected back to the municipalities that own the road, said speeding has been an issue on Warminster Road at least since he moved there from New Jersey seven years ago. 

In January 2011, a 25-year-old Horsham man was killed in a hit and run crash on South Warminster Road in Hatboro

Wenger said he'd like to see one or two more traffic lights, speed bumps, a flashing warning sign and stepped up speed enforcement measures. Ideally, Wenger said he'd like cooperation among Hatboro and Upper Moreland in finding a solution.

"This isn't a Christmas list by any stretch," Wenger said. "These things aren't $15 or $20 fixes."

Hatboro Council President John Zygmont said the issue would be discussed during the borough's next public safety committee meeting.

Gardner suggested Wenger reach out to Murt and Senator Stewart Greenleaf for help moving a state law to fruition that would permit radar for speed enforcement.

"It is purely a matter of public safety," Gardner told Patch, adding that opponents of radar often contend it's simply a revenue generator.

Ultimately, Gardner said no amount of enforcement can take the place of drivers traveling safely.

"They need to slow down," Gardner said. "People need to be responsible."

R. DeLuca December 21, 2012 at 01:08 PM
Can we address speeding on the Mill Road end of Warminster Road as well? Children walk up & down Mill Road going to & from school bus stops.
John Preite December 21, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I would agree that sometimes folks are going over the sped liit but both police departments are usualy enforcing that area very well. I would say the fact of no sidewalk is the biggest factor. As far as crossing the street--well that just takes common sense and crossing when and where it is permitted. these roads are well overdue for an update however not like that hack job intersection at Warminster and Byberry where the opposite side is coming head on at you. I don'y who ok'd that one? I honestly believe that woman would have been safe if there was sidewalks to walk on. It is however a shame that it takes this for anyone to realize what needs to be improved,
marie turner December 21, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Putting speed bumps on Warminster rd. is a stupid idea. I agree with John Preite, sidewalks would be beneficial and the Byberry, Warminster Rds intersection is a huge design flaw from the word go. Whoever came up with that should be ashamed. I live on Davisville Rd. Warminster Rd. is a cakewalk compared to my rd.
bob butterworth January 01, 2013 at 06:25 PM
The person who tried to save Mrs.Lodge's life was Mrs.Taia Curran of Hatboro. Mrs.Curran who witnessed the accident with her husband first began CPR while Mr.Curran called 911! In order to slow traffic down on Warminster Rd, install a stopsign in at the corner of Tanner and Warminster Rds. Also putting in sidewalks would be an excellent idea.

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