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Human Interest - Bristol Township

Penn DOT: New Falls Road To Have Sidewalks Installed beginning this Spring

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Updated 11:30 pm Monday 

It’s been called one of Bucks Counties most dangerous roadways for pedestrians.

New Falls Road between Durham Road and Bristol Oxford Valley Road in Bristol and Middletown townships will be getting sidewalks installed Penn DOT announced Monday with work beginning this spring.

Improvements under this project include sidewalk construction alongside this nearly one-mile-long section of road.

Additionally the safety improvement plan includes the installation of crosswalk pavement markings to delineate pedestrian routes along the corridor; installation of pedestrian signal equipment in conjunction with the addition of ADA curb ramps to further improve pedestrian safety; and the addition of protected left-turn traffic signals to improve motorist safety, Penn DOT said in a press release today.

The issue of getting sidewalks installed along the roadway became a point for a Bristol Township based advocacy group beginning in 2012.

Credit: S.A.F.E

This reporter covered the story and the advocacy group that was launched as part if an effort to make the roadway safer for pedestrians beginning in 2012 for Patch.com  after John “JJ” Rearick was struck and killed in July of that year.

Sharon Rearick founded the grass roots group Sidewalks Are For Everyone which advocated for work to be, such as sidewalks constructed, done on New Falls Rd since the tragic accident that took her son “JJ”‘s  life.

“I’m so excited” Rearick said last Monday night by phone.

Its been a very emotional day and it doesn’t bring JJ back but something needed to be done” she said. 

Levittown Now.com  covered the continuing effort as the story moved with this reporter in 2013 and 14, with Amanda Burg picking up coverage also for the website. 

The effort kept Rearick busy and focused for years to come as she and her group held fundraisers and advocated for improved safety measures to be implemented at township meetings also. 

Senior Manager for Penn DOT at District Six Ashwin Patel said the local news coverage and advocacy helped bring the project to fruition.

“Thank God” he said, after going through some of the local challenges the project faced before becoming realized.

“Yes this took quite some time”  he said.

Penn DOT had to contend with “numerous right of way acquisitions”  and the fact that this is a unique work project, he said,  because it involves a roadway stretching through multiple localities we’re now in position for the work to be completed.

“This was years in the making,” Patel added.

Case in point, Penn DOT held a public meeting explaining the hurdles yet to overcome in 2018, covered by LevittownNow.com 

The project will not require a vehicular detour, but motorists should anticipate periodic lane closures with flaggers. A pedestrian detour will be posted during construction, officials from Penn DOT said.

Marino Corporation of Skippack, Montgomery County, is the general contractor on the $1.4 million project, which is financed with 100 percent federal funds. Work on the project is expected to finish in spring 2024.

State Senator Tommy Tomlinson, with State Representatives Frank Farry and Tina Davis were also instrumental, along with Middletown and Bristol Township officials, with getting the project off the drawing board and onto the roadway a state official said.

In the end for Rearick, her work has come to fruition

She agreed the long process tested her will at times, but said  she truly believed the efforts on the part of Penn DOT, state and local officials would pay off.

“You know” she said  “I sent my first e-mail to local officials on August 24, 2012.”

Now almost 10 years to the day there will be  “Sidewalks For Everyone” in Bristol and Middletown Township on New Falls Road to safely walk on.

Sharon Rearick
Credit: Sidewalks Are For Everyone

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Human Interest - Bensalem Township

New LBTQ+ Advocacy Group Fairness Pennsylvania Launches

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Fairness Pennsylvania (FPA), the first full-time statewide LGBTQ+ civil rights program in several years kicked off on Monday, June 3 with Pennsylvania organizers, advocates, and legislators  at the state Capitol.

“We are ready to hit the ground running,” said Sarah Hammond, Fairness PA’s State Director, in a press release. “There are so many engaged activists and strong voices working right now in communities across the state. Our first priority is to identify ways that a new, statewide organization can assist these dedicated activists to move the needle here in Harrisburg and around the state.”

Hammond said. “…FPA is dedicated to promoting equality and fostering nondiscrimination principles in PA so that our LGBTQ+ community can be open, honest, and safe at home, at work, and in our communities across the state.”

In a statement, Governor Josh Shapiro said, “The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was founded on the ideals of tolerance and understanding and I’m proud to stand alongside Fairness PA as they work to promote those values and build a better, stronger Commonwealth for all.”

Credit: Submitted

“No matter what you look like, where you come from, who you love, or who you pray to, you deserve equal protection under the law in Pennsylvania….” said Shapiro. “It’s long past time we put partisanship aside and pass a nondiscrimination law that protects LGBTQ Pennsylvanians,” continued the press release.

Hammond said that an immediate priority for Fairness PA would be passage of the Fairness Act, which would ban discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations in the state, according to the press release. The Fairness Act passed in the state House in April 2023 but has yet to be considered in the state Senate. Shapiro earlier this year called on on the General Assembly to finally come together and pass the Fairness Act.

Fairness Pennsylvania can be found online at fairnesspenn.org or @FairnessPA on social media.

For more information, please visit Fairness PA or contact Pete Shelly at pshelly@clearpointpa.com.

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Township

Randall Ave Bridge Restoration Project to Begin Next Week

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The long awaited and much anticipated work to the Randall Avenue Bridge in Bristol Township will begin in earnest next week, township manager Randee J. Mazur said Thursday.

We have an executed agreement with Haines and Kibblehouse based in Chalfont H & K) in the amount of  $1,085,260.00. The project was originally planned to start June 21st and was pushed back a week by Amtrak to now begin Friday, June 28th,” she said.

Mobilization for the work began earlier today, with  setting up the construction laydown areas. They plan to use a portion of Pitt Avenue that is closed and will set up temporary chain link fence with a lock to secure all materials and equipment, officials said.

The Project Schedule is as follows:

6/28/24 to 7/1/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 3 with nighttime outage on Track 2

7/12/24 to 7/15/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 2 with nighttime outage on Track 3

7/26/24 to 7/29/24 – 55 Hour Outage on Track 1 with nighttime outage on Track 2

The bridge work, with no delays to the schedule, should be completed by the end of July, Mazur said.

Randal Ave Bridge Closed
Credit: Lower Bucks Source

“Gilmore and Associates is finalizing the abutment project bid and details, should be completed early July and then we will solicit bids for this work.”

If the abutments are ready for work, then with contract awarded, this work could start as early as July or August and is estimated to take three months. The abutments are what is required for the 3.5-ton limit and there is discussion with the work being done that it may be able to be increased once completed. The township manager said, our police department was advised we will need truck enforcement for the bridge to enforce whatever weight limit there is while we continue to work on design and funding for a full bridge replacement.

The 169-foot span bridge in the Edgely section of the township has been closed since February of 2023 after chunks of the bridge fell onto the ground and onto the Amtrak and SEPTA rail lines below. For the 16 months township officials have worked feverishly reviewing solutions, applying for grants, speaking, and meeting with  civil construction companies and leveraging county, state, and federal officials seeking help and support.

A community meeting held by the township in January involving officials from state, federal, and Amtrak offices seems to have put the project in motion. For almost a year there was little to no movement on what exactly should be done, due in part to Amtrak’s specific guidelines and requirements, one official, who asked not be identified said.

The project has gone back to using hi rail equipment for some of the work. H&K has their hi rail inspection scheduled for June 26th. H&K is planning to mobilize today and start setting up the construction laydown areas today and tomorrow (6/20 & 6/21). They plan to use a portion of Pitt Avenue that is closed and will set up a temporary chain link fence with a lock to secure all materials/equipment, Mazur said.

 

 

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Cops, Courts & Fire -Bristol Township

Bristol Woman Charged for Pulling Fire Alarm, Shutting Power at Village Lodge Motel

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A Bristol woman with a long history of mental health issues and convictions walked into a local motel grabbed a fire extinguisher, discharged its contents and subsequently pulled its fire alarm leading to her arrest early Thursday morning.

According to police, Chrystal Brewington, 33 walked into the Villager Lodge Motel located on the 5300 block of Bristol Pike at just after 4 a.m., Thursday, June 20. She grabbed the fire extinguisher from the wall and discharged its contents in the parking lot. A motel employee implored her to leave the premises immediately. Brewington, not following directions,  returned to the hotel lobby and pulled the fire alarm which led to police and the Third District Fire Company being dispatched to the motel.

Brewington was told to leave again by the establishment’s overnight clerk.

She walked  outside, returning moments later, headed for the breaker panel and shut off the electricity in the motel, the criminal complaint alleges.

Police noted the senselessness of Brewington’s actions since there was no actual fire at the motel.

A second motel employee told police Brewington damaged the alarm system with needed repairs costing $700.00.

She was charged with three misdemeanor offenses- false alarm, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief, She was jailed with bond set at 10 percent of $20,000 and tentatively scheduled for preliminary hearing on July 3.

Prior to this incident Brewington was involved in an incident at the Rodeway Hotel in which Alfred Camp allegedly stabbed her in the leg. 

His preliminary hearing was scheduled for today, however case information has yet to be updated online.

 

 

 

 

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