CAMP HILL, Pa. (WHTM) – A big concern for opponents of a proposed Chick-fil-A in Camp Hill is student safety as kids walk by the site which is now under construction at 32nd and Chestnut Streets.
In addition to traffic and quality of life concerns, residents have argued for months that student and overall pedestrian safety will be threatened if the new restaurant is built as the Chestnut Street corridor, they say, is a popular safe path to school for the all-walking district.
“Just the fact that they haven’t come up with a plan indicates to me that it’s not a priority for them,” said Melissa Schoettle, a candidate for Camp Hill Borough Council.
At Tuesday’s planning commission meeting, Consolidated Properties, which is developing the project, said they’d work with the borough and district to address pedestrian concerns but stopped short of giving any more details.
Schoettle wants to know why.
“Particularly since the residents have been loud and vocal since November about this issue,” she said.
The intersection of 32nd Street (aka Route 11/15, the Camp Hill Bypass) and Chestnut is often congested, even at non-peak hours of the day.
But just how busy is it with student walkers, going to and from a Camp Hill school?
PennDOT, citing a Camp Hill police source, said Wednesday that less than 10 students, on average, cross that intersection daily for school. What’s more, there is a crossing guard at both the intersection in question, as well as at the intersection directly north at 32nd and Market streets.
“Those who have small children are driving their kids to school, so it is not a high volume of students that are coming across at this intersection,” PennDOT spokeswoman Fritzi Schreffler said.
Some residents have suggested a PennDOT Hazardous Walking Study be requested by the district to see how that corridor can be made safer.
But Schreffler says that’s not what the study is for.
“Depending on the results of the survey, it doesn’t come out and say ‘this is a bad spot, kids shouldn’t walk here,’ it’s actually used to see if they [the district] qualify for funding for bussing.”
Camp Hill School District is the only all-walking district in the entire state, which has 501 school districts.
Even Auditor General Eugene DePasquale’s office got involved in July, asking district leaders why they haven’t requested the PennDOT study.
Schreffler believes there is confusion about what the study could potentially provide and clarifies having it done won’t fix any concerns opponents of the restaurant might have.
“It’s not PennDOT coming out and doing this, this is incumbent upon the school district to fill out the survey, it needs to be signed by a transportation coordinator which of course they do not have.”
ABC27 reached out to the district to ask if there are any contingency plans in place for when school starts Monday and students have to walk by the active construction site. Our emails were not returned.
A source close to Camp Hill leaders said borough leaders are set to meet with district leaders sometime on Friday, three days before classes begin.
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