The Road Warriortakes a look at Lehigh Valley roads from Morning Call reporter Dan Hartzell. E-mail questions about transportation in the ...

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Horn etiquette: Think twice before 'laying on it'

Horn etiquette: Think twice before 'laying on it'

July 20, 2014

Q: Regarding the use of the automobile horn, there seems to be a trend in our area of people becoming totally disconnected while texting or checking emails when stopped for a red light. Several times recently, I have had to give a 'toot' to the person in front of me who has their head down and is too busy texting to notice that the red light changed to green several seconds ago. I'm not in a big hurry, but invariably, if I don't honk, the texter will wake up in time to scoot through the intersection just before the light changes back to red, leaving me sitting through another cycle of the light. I know that civility went out the driver's side window several miles back, but what do you recommend in this situation? Wait passively for the individual to get moving, wait for a while and give a polite 'beep', or immediately hold down the horn and let them know how I truly feel about their lack of driving etiquette? I fear that if we continue to accept this inconsiderate behavior, it will only become worse. Ventingly yours,

  • Bad break for Bradford Street motorists

    July 17, 2014

    Q: When Bradford Street in Allentown reopened last November after being closed due to the construction of American Parkway Bridge, I was surprised to find that it was one-way. Is this permanent? At one point I thought Bradford was going to be closed permanently (not connecting with Dauphin at all), but not that it would become a one-way street. In a related matter, will the construction of New England Avenue resume in my lifetime?

  • LANTA steering more hybrid buses onto Valley roadways

    July 13, 2014

    Q: I am now retired, but during my Road Warrior days I took the LANTA bus from South Whitehall Township to downtown Allentown. (I also rode my bike for a real warrior experience, but that is for another day.) Since my retirement, LANTA has acquired hybrid buses. The stop-and-go of a bus route would seem to be an ideal application for hybrid technology, and I was wondering how these buses have been working out.

  • Hokendauqua-North Catasauqua Bridge rising over Lehigh River — slowly

    July 10, 2014

    Q: When are they going to complete the reconstruction of the bridge from North Catasauqua to Hokendauqua and open it to traffic? It seems they have been working on it for two years.

  • Green PennDOT service trucks still towing strong

    July 6, 2014

    Q: Driving Route 22 every day from Bethlehem to west Allentown, I have noticed that the PennDOT Highway Service Patrol vehicles have been a welcome addition to aid motorists. However, nowhere on the trucks is a phone number. On numerous occasions I have seen a motorist in need of assistance, and having a very visible number on the trucks to call would be of great benefit.

  • Turnpike widening: What's the ultimate destination?

    July 3, 2014

    Q: The progress on adding extra lanes on the Turnpike's Northeast Extension, I-476, from the mainline Turnpike to Lansdale is just stunning and monumental, but it all ceases just past mile marker 26, and it looks as though the effort will have to begin again from total zero at some point. Do you have any idea what the long-range plan is?

  • Route 22 interchanges are linked by lane

    June 29, 2014

    Q: Usually around 4 p.m. I notice that westbound traffic on Route 22 moves at a snail's pace from Route 512 through MacArthur Road. I think part of the problem is that motorists going from northbound Route 378 to westbound 22 are forced to merge onto the travel lane of 22, even if they plan to exit at Airport Road northbound, a very short distance ahead. If PennDOT, at minimal cost, could extend the ramp lane from 378 to Airport Road as a third lane of 22, it would eliminate the need to merge, which contributes to the slowdown in traffic.

  • PennDOT detours concrete barriers for Basin Street

    June 26, 2014

    Q: There was news last year about a series of safety improvements planned for Basin Street between Union and Auburn streets in Allentown. Is that still going forward, and if so, what is the time frame for that much needed work?

  • Signals planned at Schantz Road and Routes 222 and 863

    June 23, 2014

    Q: According to a recent Morning Call article, temporary traffic lights will be installed on Route 222 where it meets Schantz Road, and where it meets Route 863 just to the east. Why would the lights be temporary? There is no doubt that a safety upgrade is appropriate at this challenging set of intersections. Also, why the sense of urgency now? Schantz Road is closed for the next 12 to 18 months for a bridge replacement, severely restricting traffic. Is there a final design for the configuration of these roads?

  • Unpaved roads create rough rides, many questions

    June 19, 2014

    Q: I would like to know why PennDOT milled and failed to repave Cedar Crest Boulevard at the Tilghman Street intersection and beneath the I-78 bridge last fall. The section under the bridge is decaying rapidly due to winter damage, requiring PennDOT to patch the holes. Absent the wearing surface at Tilghman, Cedar Crest is decaying in both directions. When will these repairs be completed? We seem to be paying for temporary repairs rather than permanent solutions by milling road surfaces such that the base foundations cannot handle the traffic.

  • Mix of median barriers for Route 378

    June 15, 2014

    Q: While traveling along Route 378 in Bethlehem I've been observing the continuing work of upgrading the guard rails along this three-plus-mile stretch of highway. I believe it was previously reported that PennDOT had decided to use the steel-cable form of restraint, yet all I have seen to date is the installation of long stretches of the solid steel barriers. They have gone up around all of the overhead bridge abutments and extend for some distance along the road before coming to an abrupt end. Why would they not continue this barrier in one long continuous length? Through personal experience I feel the solid steel is safer and visually more aesthetic.

  • Interstate route-markers available in two models

    June 12, 2014

    Q: I don't know why I am taking notice to such things, so bear with me on this. I know this changed several years ago, but do you happen to know why newer interstate signs no longer have the state name displayed on them? There are still a few of the old ones around that have 'Pennsylvania' beneath 'Interstate' and above the route number, but gradually they are being replaced. The state name disappeared long ago from the U.S. Route shields, and is now almost completely gone from Interstate signs. Just random thoughts from a road geek!

  • Will Pennsylvania take it to the limit: 70 mph?

    June 8, 2014

    Q: It seems that every other day there is another horrific accident on Interstates 78 or 476 involving tractor-trailers. Of one thing you can be certain: The car always loses. Cars and trucks already are doing 70-75 mph in the posted 65 mph zone. Now the speed limit on some state highways will rise to 70 mph, meaning vehicles will be doing 75-80 mph. It may be fine out West where there are flat stretches for miles and miles. Our area is a whole different ballgame. Is this really a wise idea? I think not.

  • Spillway improvements spring forth on Schantz Road

    June 5, 2014

    Q: Why has there never been a guide rail erected at the hard curve on Schantz Road at the Schantz Spring reservoir to protect the spillway from wayward vehicles? PennDOT rumble-stripped the center line last year, but no guide rail. Also, repeated runoff and flooding are eroding the bank of a steep, unprotected gully. A brick or stone wall once lined the one side of the road, helping prevent runoff, but it was removed years ago and at some point replaced by the guide rail.

  • Big-rig braking systems: Big-time life savers?

    June 2, 2014

    Q: The recent multiple-fatality accident on I-78 near Krumsville appears to have been caused by a tractor-trailer plowing into a line of slow-moving or stopped traffic. Technology consisting of forward-looking radar that determines the rate of closure on the nearest vehicle has been developed for the big-rigs. If the rate of closure is too great, an audible alarm alerts the driver, and if driver takes no action, the brakes automatically are applied. The technology clearly would have prevented this particular accident. I wonder if any high-end automobiles offer it. And shouldn't tractor-trailers be required to use it?

  • Bridge-replacement project: It's been a zoo

    May 29, 2014

    Q: Finally, I see progress with the replacement of Schlicher's Covered Bridge on Game Preserve Road, as the old bridge is being dismantled. I'm hoping the new bridge will be completed by April 1 [2014]. I believe it will be a huge relief for our guests — and for our staff, who no longer will have to explain the detour.

  • Shared center turn lanes: When to enter?

    May 25, 2014

    Q: I've had multiple head-on confrontations with opposing traffic while attempting to enter the Village West Shopping Center from southbound Cedar Crest Boulevard. After crossing Tilghman Street, I head down the hill and get over into the center lane preparing to turn left into the shopping center. After entering the center lane and slowing to find an opening in the heavy northbound traffic, I am confronted by a northbound car fast approaching, already in my center turn lane, trying to get by the long line of cars stacked in the northbound travel lane. Some northbound cars enter the middle lane as they pass the Exxon station way back at West Chew Street. I have seen close calls, and once a northbound vehicle even entered the southbound lane to get around a southbound car in the center lane waiting to turn into Village West. PennDOT should paint slash or hash lines on sections of the turn lane prior to where cars should enter, followed by turning arrows at the recommended entry point.

  • Lehigh Valley Mall marks parking with red lines

    May 22, 2014

    Q: On a recent visit to the Lehigh Valley Mall, I noticed red lines painted around the parking lot. Can you tell me the purpose of the lines?

  • Red-arrow phase added to Route 222 Bypass signal

    May 18, 2014

    Q: Recently a 'Left Turn Signal/Red Arrow' light was added to the intersection of Route 100/222 and Grim Road in Upper Macungie Township. Not a solid-red stop light, but a red arrow. If you come to a complete stop, are you able to turn left on the red arrow? It's especially intimidating with an Upper Macungie police cruiser parked in the concrete island at one or the other end of the intersection. I have seen a few people turn left on the red arrow, but most wait until they have a green arrow.

  • Railroad gates go missing at Allentown crossings

    May 15, 2014

    Q: I cross over the old Lehigh Valley Railroad main line, now being used by RJ Corman as their Allentown line, to get to work. Since April 1, I've noticed that the crossing gates and flashers have been removed at the three crossings I use, leaving the crossbucks behind. Two of the crossings, on Union and Hamilton streets, have heavy vehicle traffic, especially during rush hours. I find this a little unsafe, especially with the way people drive today. Is RJ Corman abandoning the line?

  • Short bridge, lengthy inconvenience on Albert Street, Allentown

    May 11, 2014

    Q: I live on the south side of Allentown. I believe it was a year ago when the bridge on Albert Street after the Chapel Avenue split was closed. I was wondering if there were any plans to reopen the bridge any time soon. Albert Street is a handy shortcut to Susquehanna Street, and allows you to avoid traffic and pedestrian issues at Roosevelt Elementary School at dismissal time.

  • It's a macro task for microwave vehicle detectors

    May 8, 2014

    Q: Have things officially wound down with the safety-improvement project at MacArthur and Mechanicsville roads in Whitehall? If so, has there been any progress on lengthening the short northbound left-turn stacking lane? Also, I thought the entry to the church parking lot would be aligned with Eberhart Road, and that Eberhart would be converted to one-way westbound between the jug-handle and MacArthur; neither of these happened. And what is the function of the square white boxes on the signal mast arms at Mechanicsville and MacArthur?

  • Can police pull you over for passing on a double-yellow line?

    May 4, 2014

    Q: I'll bet you didn't remember that the 10th anniversary of our win in the battle of the double-yellow line is almost here. I've been strongly tempted to begin the battle of late merge versus early merge, but for today, this will have to do: What is the meaning of the sign 'right turn signal'? Does it mean 'no turn on red'? How can it? The latest issue of the state Driver's Manual still says you can turn on red anywhere except where a sign specifically says 'no turn on red'. Does it mean there's going to be a green arrow there? If so, I'll see the arrow even without my glasses. I don't need the sign.

  • Tractor-trailers don't belong on shoulder of I-78

    May 1, 2014

    Q: Every morning when I drive to work, I see anywhere from three to six tractor-trailers parked on the side of the ramp from Cedar Crest Boulevard to Interstate 78 eastbound near Lehigh Valley Hospital. They are loaded with sheds of varying shapes and sizes. Many times, the drivers are walking on the ramp conversing with each other. During the winter months, the trucks were parked on the ramp due to the snow being piled up on the shoulder. I suspect since they are considered wide loads, they are awaiting the clock to hit 9 a.m. so they can enter the highway; however, this is a very dangerous situation. They are a major distraction for those of us trying to merge to the left onto the highway while also having to watch for wandering truck drivers, sheds and tractor-trailers to the right. The truck drivers are putting themselves and others at risk. Is this legal?

  • Ethanol 15 sputtering into gasoline marketplace

    April 27, 2014

    Q: Ethanol 15 (E15), a gasoline blend with up to 15 percent ethanol instead of the previous limit of 10 percent, is starting to make its way into the marketplace. This could be a problem for owners of pre-2001 model-year cars, and definitely will be for anyone who uses lawn mowers, string trimmers, snow blowers or any equipment powered by small gasoline engines. When it comes to the latter, E15 will kill them. E10 has been hard enough on our business and the marine industry.

  • PennDOT pursues durable pothole patches

    April 24, 2014

    Q: I saw a recent TV news report on a new technology that uses infrared heating elements in the course of treating potholes. The manufacturer contends the technique saves money and time, and produces repairs that are more durable. It could be an answer for PennDOT and our local municipalities.

  • Did brutal winter dump more litter?

    April 20, 2014

    Q: The litter along I-78 is absolutely disgusting. As soon as you come over the border from New Jersey into Pennsylvania it's nothing but trash all along the highway. It's bad enough seeing the deer carcasses; at least they decompose. I live along I-78, and some of the litter blows over the wall into my back yard. New Jersey has work-release people cleaning theirs up. Why can't Pennsylvania?

  • 'Suicide fence' for 15th Street Bridge hit a speed-bump

    April 17, 2014

    Q: No one has worked on the new 15th Street Bridge sidewalk since the bridge opened to traffic on Dec. 20. It took forever and a day to build the bridge, yet four months later, no one can walk across it. When will the sidewalk be completed? Soon the major rehabilitation of the Eighth Street Bridge will begin, possibly further limiting pedestrian routes to the south side of town.

  • When will PennDOT put Route 309/Tilghman Street interchange reconstruction in gear?

    April 13, 2014

    Q: Is there any hope that the Route 309 bridge over Tilghman Street will ever be widened or replaced? It's an extremely unsafe entrance/exit combination there, as you know. Folks I know who moved here from other states are aghast that PennDOT would even allow the on-ramp stop signs with a merge zone of zero to exist. In other jurisdictions, such a design would simply be closed off and traffic not allowed for safety reasons.

  • Are brine, cinders effective solutions for road-surface freeze?

    April 10, 2014

    Q: What happens to all of the cinders left on the roads after the winter thaw? In this age of recycling, is there a plan in place to collect them for reuse next season? Would the cost of collection exceed that of purchasing more? There are tons of them left on the roadways due to the winter conditions this year. Collecting and recycling them might offer an entrepreneurial opportunity.

  • Traffic will be a taxing matter if Costco proceeds

    April 6, 2014

    Q: I enjoyed your recent article on the FedEx traffic concerns. As you know, Hamilton Crossings (Costco and other stores) is being reviewed by Lower Macungie Township commissioners, and a vote is due by June 5th, according to Patrick Lester's recent article. The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission reviewed this development last year and advised Lehigh County commissioners that there would be traffic concerns for the Krocks Road/Route 222 Bypass interchange. It's my understanding that a traffic study commissioned by PennDOT also foresees problems along the 222 corridor, with Costco and other development proposals in the pipeline. Please address the traffic issues related to the Costco plan and other development along the Bypass. We are very concerned, considering the tie-ups we have seen at the Krocks interchange.

  • Could FedEx traffic improvements make dangerous bus stop safer?

    April 3, 2014

    Q: I've read that road widening and other traffic improvements related to the proposed FedEx Ground project in Allen Township will cost an estimated $40 million. This makes me wonder if anyone has considered, or cares about, dedicating a piece of land for a bus shelter at the intersection of Cascade Drive and Race Street north of the airport, where people waiting for a bus were killed or injured by a car. I find it troubling that no one publicly proposed doing something to improve the safety of those workers while waiting for a bus. There is still a bus stop sign in place on the airport side at the intersection of Cascade Drive and Race Street, but no shelter or protection for riders.

  • A new Ackermanville Bridge: This year for sure?

    March 30, 2014

    Q: A few years ago, PennDOT bought and demolished the Ackermanville Store in an effort to remove a hazardous curve on Route 191. I have heard that PennDOT now intends to abandon those plans, and instead demolish a house on the downstream side of the bridge, replacing the existing bridge. How many tax dollars were wasted by eminent domain in acquiring the land where the store was, and why was the original plan scrapped?

  • Will road improvements fix FedEx truck traffic?

    March 27, 2014

    Q: I have done the math about FedEx truck traffic on Route 22 and it's obvious the public is getting boondoggled here. All tractor-trailers will use Airport Road and Schoenersville Road. It is mathematically impossible to enter and exit about 2,000 large trucks per day on those two roads without causing total chaos. The on/off ramps will not handle those trucks without backing traffic onto the highway. The way I understand it, a large truck will enter and exit 22 about every 40 seconds, every hour, every day, all in that one area.

  • Traffic signs would clarify priorities at Whitehall Walmart

    March 23, 2014

    Q: When entering the Walmart/Giant shopping center on MacArthur Road in Whitehall and attempting to make a left turn to head toward Burger King, it seems you always take your life in your hands. Traffic exiting the shopping center heading toward MacArthur Road doesn't care that the traffic entering the plaza does not have a stop sign. The new left-hand turn lane heading toward Burger King hasn't helped. Is there a plan to add a simple 'oncoming traffic does not stop' sign to the stop signs at that intersection?

  • Three-way stop signs confuse in Bethlehem

    March 20, 2014

    Q: The intersection of Elizabeth Avenue, Mauch Chunk Road and the entrance to the paint mill in Bethlehem is posted with a three-way stop. I believe this has caused several accidents since its inception. Traffic heading east up the hill on Elizabeth Avenue toward Moravian College has no stop, but westbound traffic coming down the hill has to stop, as do cars on Mauch Chunk Road and the outlet from the paint mill. Mauch Chunk motorists assume it's a four-way stop when they observe westbound vehicles stopping at the intersection. Mauch Chunk drivers, after stopping at the sign, pull out directly in front of westbound cars on Elizabeth, expecting them to stop. This is confusing and dangerous. It should be a two-way stop, with traffic on Elizabeth flowing freely in both directions. Even a four-way stop would be an improvement, by eliminating the confusion created by the unusual condition.

  • Old Saucon will deliver new traffic signal

    March 16, 2014

    Q: The intersection of Route 378 and Colesville Road on the border of Upper Saucon and Lower Saucon townships has been in need of a traffic signal for many years, and traffic generated by the popular Promenade Shops has heightened the situation. Signals were promised several years ago, and I understand Upper Saucon officials gave formal approval a couple of months ago, but still we have seen no action. What can be done to make this safety improvement finally happen?

  • Crossing signs coming for Parkettes pedestrians

    March 13, 2014

    Q: Heads-up to a problem that has great potential for a nasty accident. My 4-year-old granddaughter is a member of Parkettes and attends on Saturday mornings. Clearly people need to heed the crosswalk and the extremely battered and worn sign to stop for pedestrians. Instead, it resembles a speedway on that bend of Martin Luther King Drive. Allentown could reap a ton of revenue if they would put some police there between 9:30 and 11:30 every Saturday morning.

  • Warm reception planned for piece of Cold Springs Bridge

    March 9, 2014

    Q: PennDOT's District 5 website lists the Cold Springs Bridge as a bridge-replacement project. The bridge is located on Second Street over Spring Creek in Whitehall Township. The project status is listed as 'preliminary engineering phase,' with an estimated construction start date of 2014. The concrete arch bridge dates to 1930. The deck is bumpy, because the expansion joints have buckled above the road surface from freeze and thaw cycles this winter. Also the bridge has no drains to drain the water beneath the deck. For about 20 years, the bridge has been limited to one truck at a time, and a 25 mph speed limit is imposed on trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds.

  • DUI level for marijuana stirs pot of controversy

    March 6, 2014

    Q: I've been reading about the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in Colorado and Washington state, and how it's raising questions about DUI enforcement. They're developing testing standards for marijuana levels that cause impairment, similar to the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for drunk driving. Apart from marijuana still being illegal in Pennsylvania, does the state specifically prohibit driving while 'stoned,' and if so, how do police determine that drivers are under the influence? (I moved to Florida, but I still have family there in the frozen north.)

  • 'Blue goose' blows away other snow-clearing devices

    March 2, 2014

    Q: Lower Macungie Township has a neat snow-removal system that was utilized this year for the first time since 2009. It's called the 'blue goose' and uses a snowblower system to remove deep snow from the streets. Township Manager Bruce Fosselman videotaped the device in operation and discussed the system at a recent township commissioners' meeting. Come see how efficiently snow can be removed from municipal streets. Allentown and others could learn a lot about this system.

  • American Parkway: Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge?

    February 27, 2014

    Q: In regard to the new bridge being built over the Lehigh River, it would be nice to name it Pearl Harbor World War II Bridge in honor of the men and women from this area who served our country, or the John "Jack" McHugh Bridge, for the man who did so much as an Allentown teacher, school administrator and Lehigh County commissioner.

  • Missing road signs confuse motorists

    February 23, 2014

    Q: Since moving to South Whitehall, I enter Route 309 off of Tilghman Street, and it seems to me there is a sign missing. Heading west on Tilghman Street just before the 309 interchange, a sign indicates "PA 309 South" with a straight-ahead arrow. But the entrance ramp to the right, immediately after the overpass, is unmarked. I can't imagine an unfamiliar driver making this entrance correctly. Is there no sign placement due to the overpass, or is PennDOT missing the mark?

  • Snow piles up at municipal 'dump' sites

    February 20, 2014

    Q: Fifty years ago when I was a kid, Allentown would dump snow from the Linden Street Bridge into Jordan Creek. I believe this practice was stopped for environmental reasons. These days, when we have winters such as this one, where do Allentown and other cities go with all this snow?

  • Can FedEx deliver a down payment for six lanes on Route 22?

    February 17, 2014

    Q: The proposed addition of a FedEx Ground package-sorting center and two nearby warehouses in Allen Township will add 14,000 cars and trucks to the roads each day. However, the plans filed by FedEx with the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission only address extra traffic on Airport Road, Race Street and Willowbrook Road. Won't nearly all of the additional traffic end up on Route 22? Who is going to pay for the extra delays and business losses, the increased collisions, the higher road maintenance and the necessary expansions of Route 22, which is already stressed — and stressful? The Lehigh Valley Planning Commission should demand improvements to Route 22 before accepting this plan.

  • Will PennDOT pay for pothole damage?

    February 13, 2014

    Q: There was a large pothole on Geryville Pike in Milford Township, near the Route 663 intersection. I was one of 22 motorists that had hit this crater, which claimed two of my tires and one rim. For several days no warning signs were posted and you weren't able to swerve around the pothole because you'd hit an oncoming car. They finally filled it and put a cone out two days later. The township tells me that PennDOT maintains the road. I'm sending PennDOT my bill.

  • Will Allentown mix hockey traffic with Hamilton Street repair?

    February 10, 2014

    Q: Allentown has scheduled the resurfacing of Hamilton Street between 10th and 15th streets, and between Fourth and Sixth streets, including the installation of wheelchair ramps and other safety improvements, for 2015, the year after the hockey arena, hotel and new office buildings are scheduled to open. With thousands of visitors expected downtown to attend hockey games and other arena events, along with many new employees commuting to work, would it not be better to do the work this year to avoid further delays to traffic that could be difficult enough during the first summer season after all this development?

  • Parkland scrapes by with low-tech snow-removal device for buses

    February 6, 2014

    Q: I've seen publicity about a device used by the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Bethlehem to remove snow and ice from the roofs of the company's tractor-trailers to comply with state law, and more importantly, to help protect all motorists. I've suggested that Lower Macungie Township officials consider requiring such devices at the current and future warehouse facilities in our township that store more than five trailers.

  • Whitehall hits the brakes on intersection widening

    February 3, 2014

    Q: Do you have any idea what is going on at Third and Grape streets in Whitehall? First, what seemed to be a perfectly good building was torn down, and then the gas station on the corner across Grape was closed. Maybe they are going to widen the intersection, which would be welcome by many.

  • Bumpy road ahead for Whitehall's Fifth Street Bridge

    January 30, 2014

    Q: When the reconstruction of the Route 22 Fullerton Avenue interchange begins, will the Fullerton Avenue Bridge be kept open during construction? I've heard rumors that traffic will not be maintained on the bridge, and all traffic will be diverted instead to the nearby Fifth Street Bridge. And will the Fullerton interchange access ramps be kept open throughout? Finally, what was decided about the fate of the Fifth Street Bridge — traffic bridge or pedestrian bridge?

  • Are tow trucks out of control?

    January 26, 2014

    Q: Regarding your past columns on towing charges, I once filed an unsuccessful civil case contesting a towing bill, and still wonder why I didn't prevail. Unlike your Kmart stories in which 'parking for customers only' signs were clearly posted, my car was towed from a private lot that had no signs other than 'Parking Lot/Buses Welcome' and 'No Skateboarding.' The towing company admitted in court that the parking lot owner nailed a 'customers only' parking sign to a tree minutes before they towed my car, yet still I was forced to pay $305 — $195 for towing the car 0.3 mile, and $55 each day for 'two days' of storage (read: 4 p.m. to 9 a.m.). Aren't there, or shouldn't there be, regulations on these fees and practices to reasonably protect consumers?

  • Singing the blues over headlight glare

    January 23, 2014

    Q: My question is about the bluish colored headlights, and the fog lights and parking lights that many drivers have on at night. I thought there were laws regulating the number and brightness of the lights on the front of the car. In many cases the drivers just don't care if they blind the oncoming drivers.

  • Third Street Ramp signal needs tweak

    January 19, 2014

    Q: Southbound on Route 378 at the south end of Bethlehem's Hill-to-Hill Bridge, the traffic patterns at afternoon rush have turned up an inefficiency in the traffic-signal function. Southbound traffic backs up on both the straight and left-turn lanes, and for some motorists (like me), either way can get you where you need to go. Which means that after picking a lane to wait in, you play the game of 'did my lane get through the light first?' (Let's ignore the people who go down the shorter lane and then shoehorn into the other one at the last minute.) When using the left-turn lane to go down the new ramp, the green-arrow phase sometimes is good for 12 or 15 cars to get through, other times for only eight or 10 cars. So it can take several cycles to get through the light. Recently when I made it to the front and waited for my green arrow, I noticed that the opposing northbound 378 traffic gets stopped by the adjacent light at East Third Street, leaving a gap we could use to make our left turn and be on our way. So why not add some southbound left-turn green-arrow time at our light when this happens?

  • Gem of a new bridge flanked by ratty roads in Allentown

    January 16, 2014

    Q: I thought prior to the completion of the 15th Street Bridge project that the contractor would be repairing the entire curved stretch of cobbled concrete road on the south end all the way up the intersection at Wyoming Street and the north end leading up Elm Street at the YM/YWCA. These roads are in serious disrepair and it is ridiculous that they were not repaired or replaced while the bridge was under construction.

  • Limeport crossing signs assist pedestrians

    January 12, 2014

    Q: Can you look into the reason Lower Milford Township put in 'yield to pedestrians in crosswalk' signs? The location is Limeport Pike at Blue Church Road. There are three yields, two on Limeport Pike and one on Blue Church Road. I have yet to see people walk there. What is the reason? Limeport is a village.

  • Detour put Bucks traffic light on the road

    January 9, 2014

    Q: Last summer a stop light was erected at the intersection of State Road and Richlandtown Pike in Springfield Township, Bucks County. This has been a dangerous intersection for a number of years, the site of several accidents, including at least one fatality. With the installation of the traffic signal, hopefully drivers in all directions would be more cautious and accidents would diminish. However, I noticed about a month ago that the light has disappeared. The poles, the signals, everything gone! Why? I know it is not an inexpensive operation to install a traffic signal, and to have it just as quickly taken down makes no sense. Not to mention that now a dangerous intersection has returned. Why this waste of taxpayers' dollars and resumption of risk to human life?

  • 'But officer, the speed limit is 70 mph, can't I go 80?'

    January 5, 2014

    Q: As you know, the 10-over-the-speed-limit allowance is an unwritten rule permitted in Pennsylvania and in many other states. Is it likely to continue when the 70 mph law goes into effect?

  • Four-way flashers: For emergencies only?

    January 2, 2014

    Q: When is the correct time to use your four-way flashers? I say you should use them when the following conditions exist: When your speed drops below the posted speed limit; when the roads are icy and/or snow covered, causing you to reduce your speed; when there is heavy rain and/or fog, or when traffic has slowed or stopped unexpectedly. My friend says the only time you should us your four-way flashers is: When you are pulled along side the road or you car has broken down. A dinner is pending on your answer.

  • Pennsylvania gasoline taxes go up Jan. 1

    December 31, 2013

    HARRISBURG — In an east Allentown industrial zone on Quebec Street north of Union Boulevard, 23 tanks rise high into the sky, the pipes that connect them running deep underground.

  • GPS units overtaking road maps

    December 29, 2013

    Q: I have been looking for a New Jersey highway map to replace my Christie Whitman model, which is showing its age. New Jersey has no welcome stations that I know of in our region, but at a rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike recently, the only map of the Garden State was on sale for $4.95, which I purchased. It is printed on a poor quality paper, and has already ripped, among other quality-control problems. Are free Jersey maps for tourists an item of the past, and is Pennsylvania next? I have tried to replace my maps every four years to keep up with road improvements. Now I wonder if I should hoard.

  • Odd traffic light is meant to signal pedestrians

    December 26, 2013

    Q: I'm unsure about the traffic light at the top of the hill going south on South Pike Avenue (Route 145) at Rock Road in Salisbury Township. For southbound Pike traffic waiting at a red light, when northbound traffic gets a left-turn green arrow, the light suspended over the road in front of you stays red for about 10 seconds to account for the green-arrow phase. That's as it should be. However, the signal mounted to the pole to your left turns green without delay. A driver seeing only that light to the left could proceed on green, causing an accident. I don't think the signal to the left is meant for pedestrians, because if so, it should depict the word 'walk.'

  • Is it wise to chase a hit-run driver?

    December 22, 2013

    Q: I was involved in a recent accident at Route 309 and Saucon Valley Road in the dark of early morning. I was heading east through the intersection turning left onto Route 309; the light turned green, and as I started through the intersection, I heard a horn and then the crunch. A tractor-trailer on southbound 309 had bumped the rear of my truck, which was not severely damaged. I continued until I found a safe place to pull over. The tractor-trailer had pulled over with the flashers on, but as I got out to inspect the damage, the rig was starting to creep out onto the highway. I did not get a good look due to the distance and darkness, and did not think chasing the truck was a good idea, as it was headed in the opposite direction. I called 911, the response time of the police was great, and they did a good job gathering what little info I had. However, as I run the scene over in my mind, I continue to question whether I should have attempted a chase.

  • Right-on-red postings: Right or wrong?

    December 19, 2013

    Q: I am perplexed by how the 'right turn on red' prohibition is applied at different intersections. In East Allen Township, Snowdrift Road joins Airport Road at an oblique angle, opposite Hanoverville Road. Drivers on Snowdrift stopped at the light at Airport routinely turn right on red. I think right on red should be prohibited.

  • Does road surface on bridges crumble faster?

    December 15, 2013

    Q: The Hamilton Boulevard bridge over the Turnpike near Minesite Road needs some tender loving care. Previous cracks in the concrete have now turned into holes, and cracks are developing in other sections. It may be time to lock the door before the horses get out. — October 2008

  • 'Don't block intersection' road markings: Good for the Lehigh Valley?

    December 12, 2013

    Q: I know the mess at the intersection of Route 22 and MacArthur Road is only temporary because of the construction, but I see a lot of intersections being blocked there and elsewhere (including in New York City). Recently I was in Ireland, where two things struck me: The speed limits are realistic, i.e., this is the fastest speed you can travel safely on this road, whereas in the U.S. they are silly, so low that everybody ignores them; and in Ireland, busy urban intersections are painted with a grid of yellow lines to indicate 'If you can't pass through, don't enter the cage.' And people obey it. Maybe they would here, too.

  • Bound by law to rest, truckers find few places to park

    December 9, 2013

    Q: Recently I have noticed many trucks pulled over and using the emergency lanes of the Route 222 Bypass for overnight parking, especially northbound between Macungie and Route 100 and on the entrance ramp from Route 100. This was not the intended use of the Bypass, and it's dangerous because trucks can be struck from behind, or they can be hit pulling into traffic. Upper Macungie police would rather catch speeders on the Bypass than enforce this law. No signs on the Bypass or Route 100 prohibit parking on the shoulder.

  • The right answer for left turns on red

    December 5, 2013

    Q: A few years ago, my fiancee received a fine for making an 'illegal' left-hand turn on a red signal. She was westbound on one-way Auburn Street at the intersection of Sixth and Lehigh streets in Allentown. After stopping at the red light and, [after] looking right to make sure there was no conflicting traffic, she turned left onto Lehigh. Since both streets are one-way at that intersection, in my mind that is a legal turn on red, yet she was pulled over and cited for making an illegal turn on red. Any insight on this matter?

  • On-ramp stop signs: Friend or foe?

    December 1, 2013

    Q: Why are stop signs posted at the end of some highway on-ramps? Examples include the ramps from Tilghman Street east to Route 22 east, and from Tilghman west to Route 309 south. These signs seem dangerous and unnecessary. The ramp from Tilghman to 22 is short to begin with, giving the driver little time to gain speed to safely merge, but now I need to bring my car to a complete stop at the merge point. This must be an impossible feat for tractor-trailer drivers. A yield sign would be appropriate. Why are stop signs used here and at some other places in the Valley?

  • Caught on camera: Speeding through work zones

    November 29, 2013

    Q: Friends from North Carolina recently attended their daughter's wedding in our area, and soon after returning from the joyous event, they received a speeding ticket in the mail. It's an electronic ticket for going 68 in a 55 mile zone in Maryland on their way home. The fine is $40. Did you know there was such a process? Is it legal?

  • Route 22 interchange reconstruction designs anticipate possible widening of highway

    November 25, 2013

    Q: Now that the state Legislature has passed a transportation funding bill, what is the likelihood that Route 22 will be widened between Cedar Crest Boulevard and Airport Road in consideration of the planned reconstruction of the Fullerton interchange and replacement of the Lehigh River Bridge, which seems to undergo inspections every other week? Seems that economy-of-scale savings could be realized and duration of construction reduced if a comprehensive approach is taken to improving and adding needed capacity to this ailing road, arguably the Lehigh Valley's economic lifeblood, used by many to get to valuable jobs.

  • Rural roads pose greater safety risk

    November 21, 2013

    Q: I read with interest earlier this year the report on Pennsylvania highway fatalities for 2012. There were a lot of data in addition to the 2 percent increase in total roadway fatalities versus 2011 that might suggest 2012 did not qualify as another year of fatalities 'trending downward.' Most interesting, though, was the disproportionate number of fatalities per crash in Schuylkill County compared to the same ratio in Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe and Northampton counties. Is that all about the roads? Speed limits? A disastrous crash or two? Patrol coverage? Or was the high Schuylkill fatality rate attributable to some other factor?

  • Air bags drive change in proper position of hands on steering wheel

    November 17, 2013

    Q: My son, currently taking a driver's ed class in high school, tells me that recommendations have changed (because of air bags) for where to place hands on the steering wheel, and also how far back to adjust the seat (he maintains as far back as possible). What are the current recommendations, and are they backed up by research?

  • Do LANTA buses tie up traffic more than necessary?

    November 14, 2013

    Q: I'd like to know if city buses have to follow common traffic rules. When buses pull over at a bus stop, do they have to yield to traffic before pulling back into traffic? I know they are doing a public service, but it is sometimes dangerous to other drivers the way they just pull out in front of oncoming traffic.

  • It's OK to pass 'no thru street' sign on Hamilton Street in Allentown

    November 10, 2013

    Q: When traveling west on Reading Road in west Allentown, after crossing Ott Street, Reading Road runs into Hamilton Street near the VA Clinic. However, you can't access Hamilton that way, because Reading Road becomes one-way eastbound at the 30th Street intersection. In addition, a 'no thru street' sign is posted for westbound Reading traffic at College Drive, so that traffic headed to Hamilton should be turning right onto College to Hamilton. The majority of cars go past the 'no thru street' sign, turn right into the bank's parking lot, and get onto Hamilton from there at the traffic signal. I'm under the impression this is an illegal maneuver, but some of my neighbors say it's not. Does the sign have legal repercussions, or is it simply there to alert motorists to the impending dead end at 30th Street?

  • A case of mixed signals

    November 7, 2013

    Q: While driving to work the morning of Sept. 27, I came across an unfamiliar situation. I approached an intersection with traffic signals posted with temporary stop signs in all four directions, I assume left over from a power outage. When my direction got the green light, the first car went through, but the next car stopped at the stop sign. Every car ahead of me followed suit, stopping despite the green light, backing up traffic. When our light was red, cross-street traffic went through continuously, per normal traffic laws. It was the same condition at the next intersection, where my idea was to continue through on the green light, but a cross-street motorist thought it was his turn, assuming we were alternating like at a four-way stop sign. He got mad when I continued, forcing me to swerve out of his way. Which takes precedence, the light or the stop sign?

  • Unwanted passenger: Roadway litter

    November 3, 2013

    Q: Regarding your column a few years ago on the trashing of the Lehigh Valley, I started traveling Route 22 to visit the area weekly in the early '70s, and never noticed a significant amount of trash. As a permanent Valley resident, I'm now appalled by the amount of trash on our highways. My husband and I take time to clean up a beautiful country road near our home that is always being littered with beer and soda cans and bottles, cigarette boxes and fast-food containers. The amount of trash on our roads seems to correlate with the fact that we have many more convenience stores in our area — not the fault of the store owners, just an observation.

  • LED billboards: As distracting as cell phones?

    October 31, 2013

    Q: Now that everyone has joined the chorus on distracted driving due to texting, tweeting, eating, cell phones, etc., someone should consider electronic signs and billboards. Thanks to the inaction of many local governments, the busiest section of Route 22 now looks like the Las Vegas Strip. The sole purpose of these electronic signs is to distract, which is why ad agencies pay so much for them. PennDOT has joined in with distracting messages on its big, across-the-road signs on the interstates. Intended for emergencies and traffic problems, these signs now say 'Drive sober ....' or another inane slogan that a bureaucrat thinks might be of benefit to somebody. This safety issue could affect every driver.

  • Road work, accident scenes: Who has the authority to direct traffic?

    October 27, 2013

    Q: Please address the way drivers need to act when coming upon fire police directing traffic at accident, fire or other emergency scenes. We are yelled at, threatened, treated to obscene gestures. Drivers go around barricades because we are interfering with their routines. We are volunteers, but it gets very frustrating. Pennsylvania law dictates that people must obey fire police on scene.

  • Taking the slow lane to E-ZPass

    October 24, 2013

    Q: I travel the Turnpike on a regular basis. I thought one of the ideas for E-ZPass was to eliminate some of the traffic backups at Turnpike toll booths. Guess I am incorrect, because why would they still have 5 mph speed limits posted at the E-ZPass lanes?

  • Odd Route 309 intersection raises question on left turns

    October 20, 2013

    Q: I often turn left from Camp Meeting Road onto Route 309 southbound in Center Valley. To my right is a concrete barrier dividing the northbound and southbound lanes. To my left, the wide, grassy median begins. Should opposing vehicles, both turning left, turn in front of each other? Or should they go straight past each other, and only then turn left? The question is complicated in situations involving multiple vehicles lined up to go straight or turn left. Vehicles turning left from Lanark Road to 309 north might think that the answer is to turn in front of opposing traffic, but in my direction, the answer seems to be the opposite. Yet to avoid a collision, both vehicles must choose the same answer!

  • PennDOT using motorists as political pawns?

    October 17, 2013

    Q: PennDOT recently placed signs on southbound Route 100/29 approaching St. Peters Road, warning of a bridge with a 31-ton weight limit ahead and posting the detour on St. Peters. As a result, numerous tractor-trailers take the dangerous detour route on this narrow, winding and hilly residential road, as well as other, similar 'back roads'. This traffic is constant, all day and all night long. I feel we are all being used as political pawns by PennDOT. They're trying to make all our lives miserable with these trucks to help secure the bridge-repair money they want from the Legislature. I don't think that's right, regardless of where you stand on the overall funding question.

  • Would four-way stop benefit Upper Macungie intersection?

    October 13, 2013

    Q: I am writing about a dangerous intersection with poor visibility to see traffic coming from the left and right. In Upper Macungie Township, at the intersection of Hilltop Road and Haasadahl Road, there are stop signs for the traffic coming up and down the steep hillside east and west of the intersection. As one approaches the intersection coming off Route 100 going east and reaches the stop sign, it is extremely difficult to see the traffic coming down the hill from the right, as well as those coming down from the north on Haasadahl Road (due to a bridge and the change in elevation). Why can't they put stop signs on Haasadahl Road as well, to avoid accidents at this dangerous intersection?

  • Red arrows show their (signal) faces in Lehigh Valley

    October 10, 2013

    Q: I used the new ramp from Route 22 east to MacArthur Road north recently, and noticed something a bit peculiar at the end of the ramp. There are two left-turn only lanes controlled by a set of traffic lights, but the lights have a red left-turn arrow instead of the usual solid red light. I have seen the red arrow in other states, but I believe this is the first time I have seen it in Pennsylvania. Has PennDOT come around to doing this the way other states do, or were the lights installed by and out-of-state contractor?

  • Do speed limits apply to highway access ramps?

    October 7, 2013

    Q: While I know the yellow 'advisory' speed signs are not regulatory signs, what is the legal speed on off-ramps for drivers, such as for motorists traveling eastbound on Route 22 and taking the Airport Road south exit ramp?

  • Health risks for police using radar guns?

    October 3, 2013

    Q: Your recent column on local police being prohibited from using radar for speed monitoring was interesting and brought another aspect of that subject to mind. Years ago an area woman established a scholarship fund for children of state police in memory of her husband, a trooper who had died at a very young age. She died a few years ago. She had told me her husband died of cancer caused, the doctors believed, by his use of a radar gun in his work as a state trooper, and that similar cancers had been reported elsewhere in the country among officers who used radar. Obviously, I'm not a doctor. Perhaps in the past two decades the link has been disproved. But this concern could help explain why use of radar guns is not more widespread.

  • 'Fill Hill' not stopping American Parkway bridge

    September 29, 2013

    Q: Just talked with two field engineers working on the American Parkway Bridge. The huge mound of fill between Front Street and the new overpass they're building to the east has to be removed. They estimate a delay of six months. The 'fill hill' has a lot of remnants of historic structures from the area, pediments of columns and portions of columns. Fascinating, and something I'm not going to climb.

  • Do motorists have to stop for white school vans?

    September 26, 2013

    Q: When a white van with "school students' written on the rear is unloading students, what are the rules for passing? Is that an official school bus?

  • MacArthur Road traffic signals seem to be headed in the wrong direction

    September 22, 2013

    Q: I never noticed it before, but I'm sure this has been in place for years. Traveling north on MacArthur Road approaching the Lehigh Valley Mall entrance, there are three traffic lights facing motorists. One of those signals is positioned over the southbound lanes on the other side of the median barrier. Why is it necessary to have a light over the opposing lanes? This seems to be in the same category as the third brake light, or people leaving their outside lamps on during the day: a waste of energy, and with the traffic lights, a waste of material and maintenance. The two signals positioned properly over the northbound lanes are plenty visible without the need for a third light facing the wrong direction.

  • Concrete island at new Whitehall intersection cuts turn lane short

    September 19, 2013

    Q: Why in the new construction did they make the concrete island so long on northbound MacArthur Road approaching Mechanicsville Road? If it were smaller, more cars could stage farther back in the left-turn lane for Mechanicsville and not be blocking the straight-through lanes. I have already seen a few instances of cars putting the left tires on the island to get around waiting cars so they could get in line and make it through the left-turn green arrow before it goes red. I think this is actually worse in this direction than prior to construction.

  • Shankweiler Road drainage drop-off to be addressed

    September 15, 2013

    Q: PennDOT repaved Shankweiler Road between Route 309 and Cedar Crest Boulevard in mid-August. On Shankweiler just west of Cedar Crest, there is a deep ditch adjacent to the south side of the road. This drop-off, without any guardrail, is extremely unsafe. Each day I watch as eastbound motorists drive dangerously close to it. It worries me that this is an accident waiting to happen. Can PennDOT install just a short section of guardrail there to improve safety?

  • Close enough: Students near Fourth and Emmaus intersection

    September 12, 2013

    Q: With the new CVS going up on the northeast corner of South Fourth Street and Emmaus Avenue in Allentown, it appears they're trying to improve the intersection, and they may not be doing quite enough. The need to add a fairly long right-turn lane on northbound Fourth, also widen the east side of the intersection. This would allow the trucks and buses turning right from Fourth to eastbound Emmaus Avenue to negotiate the turn without holding up the straight-through traffic behind them. Often during rush periods, buses and trucks have difficulty making that right-hand turn, causing a longer backup on Fourth Street. Are there any plans for additional widening or improvements after CVS relocates across the street?

  • PennDOT paving job goes begging on Route 309

    September 8, 2013

    Q: The exit ramp from Route 309 north to Tilghman Street west has been ground up for quite some time now. Is there any schedule of when this exit ramp will finally be resurfaced and finished? It is a rather bumpy exit.

  • Objects hanging out on rear-view mirrors obstruct motorists' vision

    September 5, 2013

    Q: I'm not sure if you've ever commented on this topic, but when my mother's handicapped placard arrived, it clearly stated that it was not to be displayed while driving. I'm not sure how people are able to see around this large visual block, but I would appreciate a gentle reminder in your column if you feel it is worthy.

  • PennDOT grass-mowing destroyed roadside reflectors

    September 1, 2013

    Q: Recently PennDOT mowed along South Fifth Street and Brunner Road in Upper Milford Township. Afterward I walked along my Fifth Street frontage and could not believe what an operator did to my property. He shredded several recently installed white reflectors and ripped the surrounding vegetation down to dirt, and along Brunner he bent other reflectors and banged into a road sign and bent it. Then he proceeded to shred vegetation in front of my home for no apparent reason, making a mess that I have to clean up. This machine doesn't so much cut or mow as it does rip and tear and shred. This is quite effective for vegetation removal where needed, but devastating where not needed. I understand the need for trimming to keep sight lines clear at intersections, but this was nowhere close, and dozens of reflectors were destroyed or damaged. If I did my job this way, I would not have it for long.

  • Trees on Allentown's Hanover Avenue median pose safety risk

    August 29, 2013

    Q: Something I've been wondering about regarding the pedestrian-safety improvements installed on Hanover Avenue in Allentown last year: If this was all about safety, why were trees planted in the median strip? The trees are still pretty small, but they're growing, and as they get bigger they could block motorists' view of pedestrians trying to cross at the crosswalks. If they're meant to be decorative, maybe some kind of shrubs or bushes would be better.

  • County should tow away 'no outlet' sign

    August 25, 2013

    Q: Earlier this year, in discussing road signs at a construction zone on Broadway in South Whitehall Township, you wrote about ' … the four motorists I saw go straight across Broadway into the soccer complex at Cedar Creek Parkway West … making U-turns after seeing the 'no outlet ahead' sign … ' I was surprised you didn't mention that the 'no outlet ahead' sign is false. You certainly can continue driving on the road in the park, and it brings you out to Cedarbrook Road and West Walnut Street. What are the rules for false or misleading road signs?

  • Radar restricted to state police only in Pennsylvania

    August 22, 2013

    Q: A few months ago, at a public meeting with state Rep. Bob Freeman in Hellertown, borough police Chief Robert Shupp requested that Freeman propose legislation to allow local police to use radar for speed enforcement in Pennsylvania. Freeman and others have supported bills to allow this to happen, but there seems to be no real progress in the Legislature. I believe radar in the hands of municipal police would be a money-saving, and more importantly, a life-saving safety improvement.

  • Bethlehem left-turn ban is questioned

    August 18, 2013

    Q: Motorists blocked from what should be direct travel routes tend to innovate, and sometimes safety goes out the window. That's the result of the concrete island on Eaton Avenue west of Eighth Avenue in Bethlehem, scene of creative but unsafe driver behavior. Motorists exiting the St. Luke's parking lot, wanting to turn left (west), are confronted by the island. Some turn left anyway, proceeding in the eastbound lane, cutting off traffic there, until they get past the island, then try to merge into the correct westbound lane. A saw a nose-to-nose encounter there before the wrong-way driver sheepishly backed up to get out of the way. Similarly, when westbound Eaton motorists wanting to turn left into St. Luke's are blocked by the island, they pass it and pull a fast U-turn, nearly causing accidents, so focused are they on getting to that property. Why was this island put in?

  • Legalize 'rolling stops' for bicycles

    August 15, 2013

    Q: In Idaho, cyclists are allowed to treat stop signs like yield signs, and stop lights like stop signs. I thought this sounded like a bad idea until I read more about it and watched an explanatory video. This law does not give bicyclists the right to 'blow through' intersections, and they still must yield to cars and pedestrians. But it does allow them to use discretion at intersections where there is no impediment to proceeding without coming to a complete stop. The law reflects how most of us actually ride. I think it would improve cycling's image if so many of us were not observed breaking the law at many intersections.

  • Author covers all the roads in 'Traffic'

    August 12, 2013

    Q: I'm writing not to ask a question, but to recommend a book I'm sure you'll enjoy, and would recommend to your readers. The book is 'Traffic: Why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us,' by Tom Vanderbilt. This eye-opening, fascinating investigation looks at driving from the human-nature point of view — the perceptions, assumptions and dynamics of individual drivers. Vanderbilt explores many aspects of driving, from eye contact and social interaction to the psychology of late merging to etiquette and oddities to what the future of driving will look like. I recommend this book to anyone who is applying for a driver's license, spends a lot of time commuting or stuck in traffic, is a traffic engineer or planner, and especially to Road Warrior columnists and readers!

  • Motorists ignore left-turn bans

    August 8, 2013

    Q: What happened to the 'no left turn' sign at the Lehigh Street entrance/exit of the Wawa across from Queen City Airport? There was a sign prohibiting motorists exiting the Wawa from making a left onto the very busy Lehigh Street. Since then I have watched many close calls as exiting cars make the turn directly into the path of northbound Lehigh Street traffic. This seems to be a real safety hazard for all concerned. Although not quite as convenient, it is much safer to go out the back entrance onto Downyflake Lane and south to the traffic light at Lehigh Street if you need to turn left.

  • Signs aim to limit herbicide spraying

    August 4, 2013

    Q: I understand that vegetation is nasty at this time of year. However, going west on Greenleaf Street in Allentown, there's a maple tree on the right that blocks the view of the stop sign at 23rd Street. The tree needs to be trimmed.

  • At night, repairs underway to stabilize slabs on I-78

    August 1, 2013

    Q: Attending the great plays and musicals at DeSales University sometimes puts us on Route 78 around 11 p.m. Recently on those trips we've run into long construction delays. What are they doing? I have never seen road work like this. They cut out a small, square section of the road surface, and by the next day it is covered again. The only guess I have is that they are installing a de-icing system. Can you explain this very usual work?

  • Top layer of asphalt subject to rippling

    July 28, 2013

    Q: My wife is convinced that the west end of Schadt Avenue at Mauch Chunk Road in Whitehall, where Schadt Avenue goes down a moderate grade to the traffic light, contains deliberate high ripples that act as speed bumps. I think it's just slippage of the asphalt in the hot months because of the grade, but she says periodically the ripples get higher even in cooler seasons. I do agree that unless one knows about them and moves to the right to avoid the worst bumps, going down that hill can be a jarring experience. Whether deliberate or not, those ripples certainly slow traffic (or destroy suspensions).

  • Turnpike interchange on track for 2014 opening

    July 25, 2013

    Q: Do you know anything about the status of the new Turnpike entrance/exit at Route 903 in Penn Forest Township? They have been talking about this for over 20 years, and actually put the beginnings of a new bridge crossing over the Turnpike on Route 903 a couple of years ago. Nothing has happened, however, in the meantime. Looks like a lot of money has been spent with nothing to show for it.



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