Friday, January 11, 2008

Alert for School Lane Hills Homeowners

If you have ever wondered why School Lane Hills (SLH) has remained a much sought after suburban neighborhood despite its close proximity to urban areas, you may have recognized this is in large part due to the lack of through traffic.

SLH is bordered by Marietta Avenue and buffered by the Conestoga Creek, the athletic fields of Franklin and Marshall College and, in part, by the Lancaster Country Day School. Because of the natural barriers, almost all traffic is local.

Since all the vehicular traffic is local, pedestrians are both safe and comfortable walking in the streets, so sidewalks have not been necessary. Even today, SLH is an example of "best practice" for neighborhood design.

All this is subject to radical change when Franklin & Marshall College moves ahead with plans to develop their current athletic fields into alumni/alumnae housing and other uses. (F & M is creating athletic fields closer to its campus.) Part of those plans is the extension of Wilson Drive and another street to link SLH with the Harrisburg Pike.

At F & M's prompting, the middle lane of the Harrisburg Pike is currently being replaced with medial islands, partly to slow down and discourage traffic volume. In addition, connections through SLH of the now heavily traveled Harrisburg Pike with the Marietta Pike will divert traffic from the F & M campus.

Now is the time for SLH residents to work with their neighbors and to tell PennDOT, Lancaster and Hempfield Townships, the Lancaster County Planning Board, and F & M College that they don't want School Lane Hills to be turned into a typical urban grid. If they wait until you read about it in the monopoly newspapers, it likely will be too late.