City Howl Help Desk: Aramingo Avenue: What's happening with its street signs?

Several major intersections along Aramingo Avenue are missing street signs due to a long-overdue road project.
Several major intersections along Aramingo Avenue are missing street signs due to a long-overdue road project.
Posted: May 04, 2011

THE PROBLEM: It's easy to get lost on Aramingo Avenue - at certain intersections, there are no street signs.

This is just one of several bones D. Michael Blackie would like to pick with PennDOT about its ongoing reconstruction project on the broad and well-traveled boulevard.

A handful of intersections between Lehigh Avenue and Westmoreland Street have been missing street-name and directional signs for a while now, the Port Richmond resident said. When the road was repaved and traffic signals were replaced, the signage that had been hanging from the signal arms was removed.

Why not put new signs up as soon as a section is finished? "In the meantime, you're lost," Blackie said.

Blackie's also not wild about the new curb cuts along this stretch of Aramingo. He's watched water pool around several of them in recent weeks.

When Blackie contacted state Rep. John Taylor's office about his concerns, he was told that the contract for the PennDOT project hadn't been completed, meaning there's still work to be done, including putting up signage and fixing curb cuts.

Not satisfied with this answer, he emailed Help Desk.

IT'S NOT OVER 'TIL IT'S OVER: PennDOT tries to get at least 10 years out of a road, but Aramingo was last paved in 1987, with some additional work done in 1989, PennDOT spokesman Charles Metzger told Help Desk.

The reconstruction of Aramingo, an $11.2 million project, is "long overdue," he said.

But Blackie isn't the only Port Richmond resident to call Taylor's office with concerns about the work.

"We've heard from other folks about the signage," said staffer Paul Kaiser, who communicates with PennDOT about project updates and believes that new signs were set to go up at the end of April or beginning of May.

As far as the curb cuts go, "some are too high, some are too low," he said, adding that the head engineer "was going to take another look at them."

The Aramingo project is "not complete in any way, shape or form," Kaiser said. "We've told folks to be patient."

PennDOT's response: When Help Desk caught up with PennDOT last week, we were told that overhead street signs were starting to go up on new traffic-signal mast arms on Thursday (the project includes replacing traffic signals at 31 intersections).

Sure enough, when we took a drive down Aramingo Avenue over the weekend, quite a few intersections had street-name and directional signs hanging from new arms.

But several major intersections along the commercial corridor - at Castor Avenue, at Ontario Street and at Venango - were missing street-name signs altogether.

We asked Metzger about the remaining missing signs. He confirmed that the signs were missing because of additional work done at these three intersections. PennDOT should replace them by the end of this week.

As for the curb cuts, they were actually installed before the larger project began, Metzger said - "They needed to be in by a certain date because of [SugarHouse casino]."

Once the repaving was completed, the cuts had to be tweaked to make sure that slopes met new standards and that water was draining properly, among other concerns. At least one ramp has to be replaced, although the contractors are about 80 percent done with the asphalt readjustment.

But they "still have work to do. That is continuing," Metzger said.

WHAT DO THE NEIGHBORS THINK? Local businesses have welcomed the project, said Randy Hofer, director of marketing for the Aramingo Business Association.

The traffic signals "are working nicely," said Hofer, who hopes the new left-turn lane at Castor Avenue will reduce the number of accidents in that "notorious area."

The project has been less of a headache than the businesses feared, he said.

Still, the Aramingo rehab is far from over. The project, which involved removing the original cobblestones and rebuilding the road base between Lehigh and Westmoreland and removing traffic medians to create left-turn lanes, won't be completed until November.

Have a concern about city services. Let us know at www.thecityhowl.com, email howl@phillynews.com or call 215-854-5855.

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