If you ask people around Western Pennsylvania what comes to mind when they think about Cranberry, you’ll get a lot of answers – great parks, great shopping, great jobs, nice homes and so on. But what you’ll hear from almost everyone is something related to traffic.
It’s an evergreen topic – one we spend a lot of time and effort addressing. For example, the juncture of Rt. 19 with 228 and Freedom Road is now the busiest intersection in all of Western Pennsylvania, and there are others in the Township which aren’t that far behind. No question about it: there’s a huge volume of traffic that moves through our community, and we do our best to make it flow as efficiently as possible. At the same time, though, we love having people come here because traffic signifies a bustling, thriving economy. Just think about communities with no cars on their roads; they’re ghost towns.
Still, our surge of traffic is nothing new; we saw it coming more than 25 years ago with the advent of I-279 North. That was when our Board of Supervisors implemented Impact Fees on new developments to help finance local road improvements. We also formed partnerships with local businesses and with other units of government to secure the funds for intersection improvements like turning lanes, traffic signals, roundabouts and signage.
Our Board’s direction has been clear: Cranberry needs to be proactive in traffic management and safety. In addition to maintaining an aggressive program of capital investment in our roadway infrastructure, we track incidents on local roads to see where re-engineering a roadway segment, or a speed awareness campaign, or additional maintenance, or more vigorous enforcement could make a difference. And they do. The collective impact of all these measures has been positive, and that’s been validated by the Western Pennsylvania AAA which, for the eighth consecutive year, awarded us their Platinum Safety Award – the Association’s highest – for traffic safety.
But we’re not just hanging up their plaque and resting on our laurels. The effort to improve traffic flow and safety is ongoing. Starting in January, PennDOT stopped mailing license plate validation stickers to vehicle owners. In its place, the state is helping to finance the installation of patrol car-mounted license plate reading cameras, linked to a database, that can immediately determine whether a vehicle’s registration is current. It can also help to quickly identify stolen vehicles, an unpleasant issue that Cranberry recently received some help in dealing with.
There’s a state fund that was created some years ago to finance police officers detailed to vehicle theft investigation. That officer is usually attached to a County District Attorney’s office. But when a vacancy was created earlier this year in Butler County, the money became available to fund a replacement. Cranberry saw the opportunity to add that specialty to its force and was awarded a grant to finance that position.
As a result, Cranberry now has an experienced officer on staff, specializing in auto theft, helping to advance our efforts on various aspects of law enforcement and traffic safety. So we’d like to thank our state partners for supporting our efforts to make Cranberry both a model of traffic safety and a model of efficient traffic flow.
What all this means is that when you see our police vehicles traveling around the Township looking like Google cars bristling with cameras, they’re all about keeping our community secure, keeping traffic moving efficiently, and assuring the safe passage of people and products along our bustling corridors.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Cranberry’s traffic safety. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org