Committee eyes street directions for Cranberry Alley

PUNXSUTAWNEY — A question as to whether Cranberry Alley should be changed to a one-way street was one of the items discussed at Tuesday’s Public Safety committee meeting.

Committee Chairman Mike Porada revisited the discussion of the issue from last month regarding speeding on Cranberry Alley behind the Chamber of Commerce office following a complaint from Penn Arms, whose building borders the alley.

Porada said he investigated the complaint that people speed through the alley, and the problem with dumpsters that protrude into the alley because the buildings were constructed right up to the alley line.

Police Chief Tom Fedigan said officers have been patrolling the alley to deter speeding. The only complaint police have received was for a dumpster intruding into the alley following garbage pickup, he said.

Council President Susan Glessner asked if the alley could be made one-way. Porada said he believed Cranberry Alley was one-way at one time, traveling west.

Mayor James Wehrle said it was one-way alley, and a business requested that it be changed to two-way traffic.

Porada asked the committee to table the issue until it can be determined as to whether the alley should be one-way or two-way.

Also Tuesday:

• The federal government is offering training in June
regarding Marcellus Shale gas well drilling and its impact on local law enforcement.

Fedigan said deep gas well drilling will be here soon and is likely to stay for a long time, which is why the government is offering training to better deal with the types of vehicles that will be traveling through Punxsy.

The training covers a wide variety of topics, including the enforcement of the laws that govern these types of trucks that haul the water and equipment, Fedigan said.

He said he plans to send one officer who already has training on enforcement of the laws that deal with big trucks.

• The committee discussed a request from Rob McCoy, director of the Punxsutawney Area Community Center, to reopen an alley adjacent to the former junior-high cafeteria, which is now the fitness center.

Borough Manager Ben White said McCoy asked if the borough would reopen the alley for only emergency purposes.

The community center does not want it opened to regular traffic, White said, adding that currently, the alley is listed as vacated. He said if police want to enforce laws on that alley, it would have to be ordained again.

One of the issues is that borough police officers, while patrolling North Jefferson Street, are unable to get to the other side if they witness an incident there.

The alley was vacated on request of the Punxsutawney Area School District when the former junior-high school was open at that location. The reason it was vacated was due to the fact that students had to cross that alley to get to the playground.

• White said he investigated possibly permitting two-way traffic on School Alley, which runs alongside Ragley’s True Value Hardware, into a one-way street.

White said after examination, he didn’t believe it was wide enough for two-way traffic, and there was no ordained width for it.

• Porada said there was a request to place a handicap parking space in the first space alongside the First English Lutheran Church.
The committee was going to see if the parking space was ordained as a handicap-accessible space.