Concerns about heavy truck traffic have prompted a meeting with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials, Gettysburg Borough Council learned during its Monday meeting.
Communications concerning the “truck issue” resulted in a letter from state Secretary of Transportation Leslie Richards’ office, Borough Manager Charles Gable said.
The letter invited the borough to schedule a meeting with representatives of PennDOT District 8, which is set to take place Aug. 5, Gable said.
“We understand the importance of this issue to the residents, business owners, and municipalities,” reads the letter dated May 22.
The meeting is to include District Executive Mike Keiser and District Traffic Engineer Jason Bewley, who “will be able to illustrate the changes needed to traffic signage within the borough and are willing to discuss ideas for next-step options.”
Borough Police Chief Robert Glenny, Adams County planning officials, and council President Susan Naugle are also expected to attend, Gable said.
“I’m not convinced PennDOT truly understands the negative impacts on the community,” Gable said Wednesday.
He said he hopes the meeting will be a first step toward convincing PennDOT to look beyond the data upon which it routinely bases decisions. Such data is usually limited to “reportable” crashes that involve injuries or significant vehicle damage, he said.
Signs imposing dimensional limits on trucks passing through Gettysburg were removed, Gable told council last month.
Borough and county planning officials have been in communication with PennDOT since Bewley issued a letter April 10. It cited a preliminary determination that “truck restrictions should be lifted” and existing regulatory signage “needs changed.” Bewley’s letter cited 2018 state legislation that brought Pennsylvania in line with the federal truck-width standard, which rose from 96 to 102 inches.
The borough’s responses to Bewley’s letter included a May 9 letter arguing there is no legal requirement that restrictions be changed. The borough’s letter, also sent to state and federal officials, argues Gettysburg’s streets are not adequate to allow trucks to turn without leaving their lanes, and cites 28 crashes involving tractor-trailers in the last four years plus damage to curbs and traffic signals.
Bewley replied to the borough’s letter May 13, saying “existing truck restriction signs may be removed shortly, pending available resources and work schedules.”
During May 13’s council meeting, member Patricia Lawson pointed to more than 300 signatures at that time on an online petition titled “Haul-No! Gettysburg” at change.org, and many other signatures gathered door-to-door.
Other responses have included a May 16 letter by the American Battlefield Trust, which read “increased truck traffic in Gettysburg has the potential to place additional stress on the town’s historic buildings and infrastructure, increase noise and emissions to the detriment of resident life and the visitor experience, and place pedestrians at increased risk.”
In other business Monday:
• Borough Secretary Sara Stull received a round of applause when Gable announced she would be recognized for 30 years of public service during the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs’ annual conference at Hershey this week.
• During the meeting’s public comment period, resident Mike Shestok called for increased enforcement to prevent parked buses from leaking vehicular fluids or gray water into the storm drainage, using multiple parking spaces, and idling in place longer than permitted and thereby increasing noise problems. Better signs are needed to inform bus drivers where they may park, he said.
• Acting on a recommendation from the borough’s Historic Architectural Review Board, the council approved replacement of deteriorated slate shingles with similarly configured “rubber slate” shingles on the “pencil steeple” turret of the Gettysburg Presbyterian Church, 208 Baltimore St.
• The council approved advertisement of an ordinance updating borough rules to incorporate the 2015 edition of the International Property Maintenance Code, rather than the 2009 edition. Enactment is expected next month.
• Members approved appointments to two borough bodies: Kenneth Kime to the Code Enforcement Appeals Board through March 15, 2024; and Wesley Heyser, who also serves on the council, to the Civil Service Commission through May 2025.