Revisiting Safety Along Rte. 82 In The Wake Of A Student's Death, East Marlborough Officials Want Added Measures To Keep Accidents From Happening.

Posted: October 21, 1998

EAST MARLBOROUGH — Township and school officials are searching for ways to incorporate safety measures along a stretch of Route 82 where a middle school student was struck by a car and killed.

``I've asked our transportation people if the sign posting 15 miles per hour in the school zone could be turned on during special events,'' said school board member Anne Michelini. ``That way people would be made more aware to drive slowly.''

Brianne Carter, a student at Charles F. Patton Middle School, was hit while trying to cross Route 82 on Sunday after a soccer match. The recreational fields are next to the middle school and Unionville High School. No charges have been filed in the accident.

Michelini said Rep. Chris Ross (R., Chester) had called the district to ask if the township could put up no-parking signs along Route 82 at the sports fields.

Township Manager Jane Laslo said any proposals for road changes would require a study by the township engineer and recommendation for approval by township officials. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has the final say on most changes, such as signage.

``If there's anybody that can address the safety issues of the road, I think that the township can,'' Laslo said.

Since PennDot gave East Marlborough ownership on Monday of a 5.5-mile stretch of Route 82 from Mill Road to Route 926, which includes the site of Sunday's accident, Laslo said, making safety changes should be easier. PennDot officials agree.

``If they own the road . . . they can get things in motion quicker,'' said Wes Toaso, PennDot's maintenance service engineer.

School board member Jeff Hellrung, who lives in the La Reserve development across the street from the sports fields, said La Reserve residents had long worried about cars parking on Route 82 during game days.

``Cars that are exiting [La Reserve] can't see the traffic very well when cars are parked there,'' he said. ``Plus there's the hazards for people trying to cross the street.''

Laslo said that since 1992, the township has sent letters encouraging parents with children playing matches at the fields to park in school parking lots and not along the road. There are no crosswalks on Route 82 at the fields.

And Laslo said that stretch of road was not suited for pedestrian pathways.

Yesterday, temporary snow fencing was put up to block holes in the shrubbery where people have typically ducked through as a shortcut from the road to the fields.

And across the street, Carter's friends, teachers, and others touched by the tragedy continued to leave flowers and loving notes at the accident site.

They included Debbie Schultz, who lay down a rose to a 13-year-old girl she never knew. ``Our entire community has been touched,'' she said. ``This is a hard time for us.''

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