This week, Lancaster Watchdog looks into a rail trail crossing frustrating some drivers in Warwick Township and reviews a couple of properties with unfavorable sights in Lancaster Township.
In December, improvements to the Cocalico Creek bridge allowed the more than 7-mile Warwick to Ephrata Rail Trail to run uninterrupted from Lititz to Ephrata.
While the trail is constant, some high-speed roads intersect with the crossing and has caused confusion among pedestrians and drivers.
One reader expressed frustrations over motorists slowing down on roads approaching the trail due to flashing lights and pedestrian signage the reader called “vague.”
The reader added he and others “have almost been involved in numerous major accidents at the Newport Road crossing from other drivers slamming on their brakes” near such intersections.
Another reader said the signage “creates a hazard (in which drivers) can’t slow down fast enough.”
So what’s the rule of thumb?
Motorists have the right of way on high-speed roads, according to one official at the Warwick Regional Recreation Commission.
The rule applies to roads with speed limits at or exceeding 45 mph, and warnings are placed on trail guides, on signs at relevant intersections and on the recreation commission website.
“Unlike pedestrian crosswalks in urban areas, vehicles have the right-of-way at trail crossings and are not required to stop for you,” one warning on the Warwick Township website states. “Be safe! Wait to cross roadways until there is no traffic and you can do so safely.”
Readers reached out to Watchdog about a vacant lot in Lancaster Township littered with dozens of tires.
Township zoning officer and assistant manager Tom Daniels said the owner of the 905 S. Queen St. property has ignored several violation notices.
He added he told a concerned resident that if the property isn’t cleaned up, the township will do so and lien the property for the maintenance cost.
Update on partially built building
Staying in Lancaster Township, a partially built building in the 800 block of Hershey Avenue, on a corner with Fairview Avenue, could be coming down.
Watchdog recently visited the property, previously reported at an erroneous location, to follow up on a reader’s complaint.
Daniels said white slabs that make up the partially built building have stood for so long that a tree has started growing within the structure.
“There is no specific regulation that calls for a building or structure like that to come down unless it poses a hazard to public safety,” Daniels told Watchdog in an email.
“Ugly doesn’t rise to that level,” he added.
However, an adjoining property owner has purchased the lot, according to Daniels, with plans of demolishing the structure.
Notice any problems?
Email the Lancaster Watchdog at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to LancasterOnline.com/watchdog and tell us about it. You can also send mail to Lancaster Watchdog at P.O. Box 1328, Lancaster, PA 17608-1328.