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Speed on boulevard alarming

The fatal hit-run accident in Logan Township on April 29 must remain a wake-up call regarding the need for tougher enforcement in the highway corridor consisting of Plank Road, Pleasant Valley Boulevard and Valley View Boulevard.

The speeding problem within the corridor is — and has been — well known.

However, that long-held knowledge has been unsuccessful in producing the kind of beefed-up enforcement steps that might even have prevented what occurred on the night in question.

That night, on Pleasant Valley Boulevard in the area of the Pleasant Valley Shopping Center, the life of a 65-year-old pedestrian was snuffed out by the driver who fled the accident scene.

Procrastination must not be tolerated regarding the decision-making needed to make the busy route markedly safer. Even now a safer route is possible without a burdensome outlay of funds.

Anyone who has spent more than a few minutes observing the route’s traffic flow is well aware of the safety problems dogging the roadway. It is no secret that the corridor’s biggest problem is speeding.

A more visible police presence is the biggest immediate need. Additionally, an appropriate reduction in the corridor’s speed limit would be an additional asset.

Readers of this editorial should not construe such observations as criticisms of police. Law enforcement manpower is not unlimited. The officers whose duty it is to patrol the Plank-Pleasant Valley-Valley View corridor are responsible for much more area than the corridor entails.

However, a godsend for the corridor would be the availability of state police radar or other electronic speed-monitoring devices not stationed at the same locations every time they are present.

Not knowing where such devices might be operating — and when –could be an important factor in keeping drivers honest in terms of the speed limit. That uncertainty also could reduce the amount of dangerous aggressive driving done at speeds well above the posted limit.

The corridor need not become a 24-hour speed trap, but less tolerance toward irresponsible driving is necessary.

The sight of more vehicles being stopped and more speeding tickets being written would, in short order, deliver the right message to those who routinely and not-so-routinely travel the corridor.

Lives will be saved, injuries will be reduced and fewer vehicles will be relegated to junk or long stints in some body shop.

Hopefully, the resurfacing project getting underway in the corridor area will “relax” at least temporarily some of the speeding and other dangerous driving habits observed often in that travel zone.

It is true that speeding and other dangerous driving practices could return once an improved road surface is in place, but the project and restrictions tied to it should give police and municipal officials time to devise a better traffic enforcement strategy for the corridor.

A final thought:

All considered, it borders on the incredible that there haven’t been many more fatal accidents in the corridor area that, pre-Interstate 99, was the main north-south route through Altoona.

However, it must be kept in mind that, without the steps necessary, that could quickly change.

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