Route 41 hits a political roadblock

posted Thu, Dec 17, 2009

The Daily Local

These comments are in response to the article, "Input needed on Route 41 improvements," (DLN, Dec. 11). The information provided from PennDOT at the recent public meeting on this project apparently provided only a couple of minor, new fragments of news. A Phase I Preliminary Alternatives Analysis prepared for PennDOT by KCI Technologies and dated May 1999, noted that this highway "is considered a rural route" and "safety, infrastructure and capacity are the needs identified" throughout this project area (KCI analysis, Page A1).

The 1999 KCI report also noted "that more accidents occur in the segments within the study corridor than within the state, as a whole, for similar roadways" (KCI analysis, Page A5). Apparently, according to PennDOT, Route 41 is now considered an urban highway, has twice as many fatal crashes as other roads in the same category, and funding for this project may still not be available even in 2015.

Route 41 is a symbol of so much that is wrong with our government right now. I believe that this highway remains a constant problem due to an incredible lack of leadership and energy on the part of our elected officials from Pennsylvania on the state and federal levels. I feel that responsibility for the death and destruction experienced on this road rests squarely upon them and PennDOT.

Tens of millions of taxpayer dollars have been spent on this project in the last 10 to 15 years and we basically have the same unsafe conditions that have been the story of this route for around 60 years. Safety and Mobility Initiative (SAMI) programs and studies and meetings have all added up to nothing.

Our politicians seem skilled only at the politics of divisiveness and maintaining the status quo through a wasteful appearance of effort. From health care and insurance reform to safe roads and state budgets to the conduct of the war on terrorism, we seem to be at the mercy of so many politicians who have little or no interest in serving their constituents by improving the human condition.

Getting Route 41 fixed, among other things, may require changes in leadership more than anything else. And, though the environment is a concern for us all, Route 41 remaining an unsafe road has done nothing to stem the development that continues to spread in southern Chester County. In this area, zoning and the economy have more of an effect on controlling sprawl than roadways.

For those of us who call this region home, we need to insist that Route 41 be the roadway that our area needs and respectfully decide how to accomplish that now in order to address this clear and present danger.

Jim DiLuzio

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