With road work continuing throughout the Borough of Northampton, namely the Route 329 Bridge over the Lehigh River, Northampton Borough council members discussed several traffic safety concerns during their October 5 meeting.

Resident Jeff Kreps, of 21st Street, said drivers are cutting through Station Alley to avoid Route 329 traffic. In one rush hour period, over 30 cars went through the alley’s stop sign, he counted.

Kreps said he put up temporary construction speed bumps to keep cars from speeding in the area where many neighborhood children play. While they worked, Kreps said he removed them after discussing with borough police. 

“I’m worried about people getting hit,” he explained. 

It was requested that an officer observe the area.

“I know the [police] chief has been busy working on that,” said Councilman Kenneth Hall, who lives near the area. 

He said the bridge work and UGI road closures have exacerbated the issue. 

“Everybody gets flustered, and then you’re driving down one way streets.”

Other councilmembers echoed concerns over traffic borough-wide.

“I’ve been experiencing the same flythroughs on 10th Street,” said Councilman Ronald Glassic. However, he added that an increased police presence has stopped a majority of the speeders. 

“I was amazed…they know there is a presence…people don’t want to get pulled over. I want to commend the chief.”

Councilwoman Bonnie Almond has also noticed increased dangers due to the excess traffic in the area of Route 329. Not only are cars speeding, she said, but using turning lanes to cut in front of waiting traffic. She added that standstill traffic is also blocking intersections. She hoped bringing police awareness to the issue would help alleviate some of the bad behavior. 

In other news, Councilwoman Judy Haldeman asked for council support for a holiday decorating contest for borough businesses. Perhaps the winner, she said, could light the borough Christmas tree.

“See if we can have some fun with making Main Street look very festive,” she said.

Council supported her idea to help bring more awareness to borough businesses. Mayor Tony Pristash also voiced support for the effort.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea,” he said. He has been decorating his store window for over two decades. “It’s just a great feeling to see how people respond to it. More color in this town is all the better.”

A judging committee will be established. 

Finally, it was announced that the borough will be launching an online program called “Hometown Hero of the Day” on social media in 2024, recognizing the 400-plus hometown heroes whose photos hang on the borough’s lamppost banners. There will be no cost to the borough for this effort, which will be spearheaded by junior council member Mason Smokenack and the high school volunteer club. These posts will then be worked into a website. 

With the annual Jack Frost Parade on Thursday, October 19 at 7 p.m., the next council meeting will be Wednesday, October 18.


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