BREAKING: hit and run driver sought for knox covered bridge in valley forge park

ys1

A friend of mine posted this photo above a little while ago on her Facebook page! YES! Unbelievably it happened again! Some IDIOT hit ANOTHER one of our beautiful Chester County Covered Bridges! If you recall, a truck driver with a giant tractor trailer destroyed the Rapps Dam Bridge in East Pikeland in 2014. The damages were estimated in media reports at $500000, and a repair contract wasn’t awarded until this past April.

So this beautiful bridge known as the Knox Covered Bridge is in Valley Forge Park. I have taken it’s photo easily dozens of times and walked the bridge. It’s beautiful. It is 252 on one side along the creek and Yellow Springs Road on the other.

Here is one photo I have of it that I took (I think this one is circa 2008):

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So someone according to my friend and others (including two television stations) did a hit and run on this beautiful bridge!

YS2

What kind of jerk does this???

As per PennDOT this bridge (The Knox Covered Bridge) is now structurally unsound and closed as of today. No estimates on repairs.  This is in Tredyffrin Township Police Department’s jurisdiction, here is hoping they and Tredyffrin Township in general are as diligent and thorough as East Pikeland was with Rapp’s Dam and bringing that truck driver to justice.

This bridge, the Knox Covered Bridge was just recently part of an award of monies for repairs:

Three county covered bridges to be rehabilitated

By Candice Monhollan, cmonhollan@ 21st-centurymedia.com, @CMonhollanDLN on Twitter (Pete Bannan photos)

People will be able to take a drive through history once again after PennDOT rehabilitates three covered bridges in Chester County.

PennDOT awarded a $3.2 million contract to Eastern Highway Specialists, Inc., who will set to work on the Rapps Dam covered bridge in East Pikeland, the Speakman covered bridge and West Marlborough and the Knox covered bridge in Valley Forge National Historic Park in Tredyffrin Township.

“The ideas to rehabilitate the bridges came from a variety of sources — from the county, from PennDOT, from the historic preservation community and from legislators, such as myself,” said Sen. Andy Dinniman. “PennDOT is trying to rehabilitate as many bridges on the funds that we have approved. The historic covered bridges are still being used..

Good thing that money is there, right?

Unbelievable.  If anyone out there knows anything or saw anything, please please please call Tredyffrin Police or Valley Forge Park or PennDOT. It is hard to see who is taking tips as early media reports indicate that Tredyffrin Police are sort of referring this along right now.  This apparently happened this afternoon around 2 pm but there is nothing on the Tredyffrin Police Department Website yet.

I found an email on that site that is  police@tredyffrin.org and this other information:

Tredyffrin Township Police Department

Anthony Giaimo, Superintendent of Police
Taro Landis, Lieutenant – Administrative Division
Joseph Glatts, Lieutenant – Operations Division
Organizational Chart [PDF]

Contact the Police Department
Tredyffrin Township Police Department
1100 DuPortail Road
Berwyn, PA 19312-1079

Business Number: 610-644-3221
Dispatch Number: 610-647-1440
Emergency Number: 911
Fax Number: 610-644-5394
Email Address

Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8 am to 4:30 pm

alert

Please…if you know anything, or you say saw a damaged vehicle driving away from this direction this afternoon, PLEASE call police. This bridge is part of our heritage and our history and a lot of people still use this bridge daily. Accidents happen, but a hit and run like this is not right.  The bridge is painted white so a vehicle could have all sorts of white paint on it and hopefully Tredyffrin will do their bit and see if any automobile paint is on the damage. yes, yes I know a little Nancy Drew meets CSI but this is such an awesome bridge!

Here is the media I have discovered thus far on this:

Car Strikes Covered Bridge In Tredyffin

The bridge, located in Valley Forge National Historical Park, has suffered structural damage and is closed indefinitely.

Authorities are seeking a driver who reportedly struck a covered bridge in Tredyffin Township Monday afternoon.

Knox Bridge, located where Yellow Springs Road crosses Valley Creek in Valley Forge National Historical Park, was hit by an unknown vehicle at approximately 2:30 p.m. According to Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) spokesman Gene Blaum, the only information currently known about the vehicle is that it was ”large.”

The bridge remains closed indefinitely pending a PennDOT investigation….

Later, in a PennDOT statement, Blaum reported that ”nearly an entire stone-masonry wing wall adjacent to the bridge” had been damaged along with a 20-foot-long section of its timber siding….

Originally built in 1865, the Knox Bridge has rehabilitated twice, in 1996 and again in 2006.

Asked for comment, a representative for the Tredyffin Police Department referred all questions to Valley Forge National Historical Park, where an official in turn said any new information would come from PennDOT

 

CBS3:   Covered Bridge In Valley Forge National Historical Park Closed Due To Damage 

6ABC Action News (has video) TRAFFIC Covered bridge struck in Chester Co.; driver sought

 

the case for open space

See this photo above? The one I am opening this post with? Gorgeous view and vista, right? That is what conserved and protected open space looks like.  That is part of the 571 gloriously preserved acres on Stroud Preserve, which we all have to visit thanks to the Natural Lands Trust. This is one reason why I am so in awe of this non-profit.  They are amazing.

Now look at the next photo. Also taken by me from the air a couple of years ago and notice the difference:

 
Next is another shot- both of these were taken over Chester County . 

  
Recently we attended a party out near or in West Vincent. We got turned around on the way and ended up in a development I never knew existed.  I think it may have been off Fellowship Road, I am not sure, because it was one of those times where you just get all turned around. 

Anyway, we ended up in this development that had rather large houses so crammed together you felt as if you were in one of the houses and stuck your arm out the window that you could basically touch the neighbor’s house.  Don’t misunderstand me, it was a pretty, well-kept neighborhood but it looked so incredibly phony, almost like a movie set. Or a life sized model. And it was also very odd because it was a neighborhood no one was outside. Not even to walk a dog. It was eerie.

Every day we hear about more and more developments happening. Just this weekend somebody posted the following photo taken  in West Vincent:

  
If I have the location correct it is on Birchrun Road and has passed through a couple of developers’ hands? Like Hankin and now Pulte maybe?  Anyway soon this will be a crop of plastic houses. And it seems like Chester County keeps sprouting  more and more crops of densely placed plastic houses.

You would think that Chester County would have learned from the mistakes of Montgomery and Delaware Counties.

Just look at what once was Foxcatcher Farm or the DuPont estate in Newtown Square at Goshen and 252? How is any of that attractive? And look at the beautiful natural habitat that was literally bulldozed under. I said before I’m a realist, I didn’t expect when an estate like that was broken up it would remain pristine and intact, especially given the history and events of recent years.  However, it still shocks me that none of the land was truly conserved. In my opinion, the only land that has not been built upon is land they couldn’t build upon easily.

   

The two photos you’re looking at above I took this spring. Giant manor sized  houses so close together .  And they are going up lickety-split in all of  their Tyvec glory.

I think it’s horrible. I think it’s horrible especially since I have seen what nonprofits like the Natural Lands Trust are able to accomplish and achieve in land preservation. But did Newtown Township ever wanted to preserve any of it given the projects that have almost but not quite happened on the former  Arco/Ellis school site in recent years? 

However there are many opinions when to comes to development. Recently my blog posts about Foxcatcher, which are in some cases years old, were brought up again on a  Facebook page about Newtown Square.

   

Ok so this Nathan above  is entitled to his opinion even if he is somewhat ignorant in his approach.  I never called Newtown Supervisors  “commissioners” are we will start with that. And if he wants to go pointing fingers, there are several villains in these plays.  At the top of my list are  local municipal elected officials, state elected officials, and developers.

We’ll start with the local elected officials. These are the people that have temporary elected stewardship over our communities. I think they have an obligation to represent us all equally and not just select factions or special interests. But the reality of politics even on the most local level is that is whom they cater to exactly.  Are we talking about real or theoretical payola  here? Doesn’t matter because at the end of the day they get sold a bill of goods and they know better than the rest of us. When you challenge a local municipality on development most of the time they will throw up their hands and say “Wecan’t do anything. All our codes are based on the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code.”

Then there are the state elected officials. These are the guys whose  campaigns are supported by not only local elected officials but people with big check books  like developers. Our politicians on the state level could reform and update the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code but they don’t want to deal with it.
 They also don’t want to deal with the building and development lobbyists. And it’s those lobbying groups that killed a very interesting bill that was proposed in Pennsylvania a few years ago.

This was known as HB904 in the seission of 2007:

AN ACT 1 Amending the act of July 31, 1968 (P.L.805, No.247), entitled, 2 as amended, “An act to empower cities of the second class A, 3 and third class, boroughs, incorporated towns, townships of 4 the first and second classes including those within a county 5 of the second class and counties of the second through eighth 6 classes, individually or jointly, to plan their development 7 and to govern the same by zoning, subdivision and land 8 development ordinances, planned residential development and 9 other ordinances, by official maps, by the reservation of 10 certain land for future public purpose and by the acquisition 11 of such land; to promote the conservation of energy through 12 the use of planning practices and to promote the effective 13 utilization of renewable energy sources; providing for the 14 establishment of planning commissions, planning departments, 15 planning committees and zoning hearing boards, authorizing 16 them to charge fees, make inspections and hold public 17 hearings; providing for mediation; providing for transferable 18 development rights; providing for appropriations, appeals to 19 courts and penalties for violations; and repealing acts and 20 parts of acts,” adding provisions to authorize temporary 21 development moratorium. 22 The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 23 hereby enacts as follows: 24 Section 1. The act of July 31, 1968 (P.L.805, No.247), known 25 as the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code, reenacted and  1 amended December 21, 1988 (P.L.1329, No.170), is amended b.

This act stayed around a couple of years until it was just made to disappear. it was last referenced in a 2009 article:

Philadelphia Inquirer: A home-building ban in an economic crisis? By Diane Mastrull

Amid an economic disaster that has brought the home-building industry to its knees, a Pennsylvania lawmaker intends to resume his push for building moratoriums.
A building ban? When federal-stimulus proponents long for a resumption of the construction cacophony of hammers and electric saws?
The moratorium advocate, State Rep. Robert Freeman (D., Northampton), insists he’s not hard-hearted when it comes to builders.
“It’s important for us to stimulate our economy, so I’d be glad to get the home builders back to work,” Freeman said in a recent interview.
He just wants to ensure that when the orders for new houses start pouring in again, communities have a way to temporarily stop the bulldozers if they do not have adequate growth plans and ordinances in place.
“It gives the opportunity for those folks who have been feeling the pressure from development to take a breather,” Freeman said of moratoriums.
Municipalities currently have the right to reject a development proposal if it does not meet local land-use requirements. But they cannot simply declare that no building can occur if in fact there is room to accommodate it. Freeman wants to give them the temporary right to do so – but only if a town determines that it is overwhelmed by development and that its growth plans, ordinances, and zoning are inadequate to address that crush.

That bill was a great idea. It would’ve allowed communities to hit the pause button for a brief amount of time.

As individuals and residents  in these communities facing wanton development our culpability partially lies in the fact that we keep electing these people to public office. And once these people are in elected office, not many are willing to hold their feet to the proverbial fire are they?

I also do not feel it is as simple as saying people should just put up the money to buy all the open space. 

Ordinary people don’t often have the means to match what developers will pay so they can put up hundreds if not thousands of houses.  Even on small building sites, often regular people cannot match what developers will offer to buy a house as a tear down because the lot or neighborhood is desirable for them to build on . I saw that happen a few years ago when someone was trying to buy a house and they ended up bidding against a developer. They just walked away from it. They couldn’t compete.

But as for people like this Nathan, I am not going to just zip my lip as so eloquently stated. We need to speak out about these monster developments in order to preserve our very way of life. It’s not just open space, it’s more complicated than that. It’s what makes us want to live in a specific area in the first place. We are trying to preserve our communities. Our sense of place.

People who are extraordinarily pro-development for whatever reason will immediately label people like myself as being completely “anti-development”. But that isn’t it .

What we are looking for is yes, preservation and land conservation, but also moderation.  And when is the last time in recent years that you have seen moderation in any kind of development?  The ironic thing is that shortsighted on the part of the developers. If they exercised moderation once in a while they would get a lot farther with their plans.

But it is as if development is revving up to warp speed once again.  It makes me wonder if that is why people in Chester County can’t save their oak tree – seriously, it’s in the Daily Local:

Chester Springs family works to save 270-year-old oak tree 

By Virginia Lindak, For 21st-Century Media

Chester Springs resident Jim Helm has spent the last several weeks trying to save a historical estimated 270-year-old oak tree on his property from being destroyed by utility companies. The tree, which stands on the border of his property, extends into power lines which run along the road, making it vulnerable for unwarranted trimming and cutting by Verizon and PECO…Recently the Helms discovered Verizon crews cutting off branches of the oak tree and halted engineers as best they could, as the police were called in to regulate the situation and ordered the Helms back to their house. West Vincent Township officials have told the Helms they want to help save the tree but progress has been slow. 
Helm noted that between the trimming conducted by Verizon and West Vincent Township, 25 percent of the tree’s canopy is now gone….Perhaps a larger question continues to loom; as modern development continues to grow at a rapid rate in Chester County, who will advocate on behalf of the few, rare old trees left and save them from being cut down?

We need open space. We also need just basic land and community preservation. Every plastic McMansion, “Carriage House” and townhouse development that comes along further detracts from what makes where we live special. It lines the pockets of developers and creates a sea of plastic houses that are ridiculously close together.  Also, what do we as communities really get out of these developments except traffic jams and a change in our overall ecological profile?

From one end of Pennsylvania to the other we need land development reforms. We desperately need to re-define what suburbs and exurbs are. Having the ability for our communities to have temporary moratoriums on development is not a bad thing, either. And in order to get these things we have to put better people in elected office from the most local level through to the Governor’s mansion. 

We also need to better support land conservation groups. If we don’t, open-space will merely become an antiquated term with no practical or real applicability.

Thanks for stopping by.

oh phoenixville? spellcheck much?

fireworks

I was hunting around for fireworks schedules for July 4th and stumbled upon the Phoenixville Borough website.  I am providing an EXACT screen shot of the page as of right now (5:49 pm 6/29/15) because I know without a doubt they will correct it at some point because it is such a d’oh moment….for an “official” government website.

Holy Spellcheck

Ummm dear Borough Manager E. Jean Krack? When your website and administrative wizards are not doing basic spellcheck and has been sitting like this for quite a while… well….unfortunately your inner former Coatesville City Manager self is showing…..again….Jeez ….and so NO ONE thinks I played photo shop with this, here is a time current screen shot without the highlights:

spellcheck 2

cyclists need to actually share the road…and obey the laws

 

When people in favor of bicycle lanes get up in public meetings to demand more room on the road, it is scenes like this one above which make me somewhat unsympathetic to their cause.  See, unfortunately the ignorance photographed above this morning in Paoli happens far too often.

This photo came with the following comment:

So, it’s not often that I get on my “soapbox”, but these people are grown men, not boys, and they ride ….and take over the whole road. Not only did they ride in the middle of the road while chatting with each other, but when we got to the red light at Lancaster Ave in Paoli they looked both ways and went through the RED light.

Is it okay to break the law because you are on a bike? I’m happy to share the road with bicyclists, but it would be nice if they would respect the law and the people who have to share the road with them!

Amen. 

To this I add the problems with dealing with these cyclists on the trails out here in Chester County. They often zoom by on a trail with little regard or care for small children with their parents on bicycles or people who are just walking, let alone walking their dogs. 

And these cyclists also often show complete disregard for crossing the road safely when the trails break over busy roads. Three of my favorite examples are where the trail breaks over Ship Road, Phoenixville Pike, and Bacton Hill Road. We all are supposed to slow down for them, but they can just disregard stop signs, traffic lights , and other rules of the road….with great regularity. And if you honk at them they glare at you and can actually be quite nasty.

On the roads, a lot of these inconsiderate cyclists give good cyclists a bad name. Not only do they completely block the road or just entire lanes of traffic, but they are also NOT keeping up with the flow of traffic while they do so, and can be quite aggressive. I have a couple friends who are runners who have actually been run into by cyclists  on the roads then the cyclists yelled at these people basically for having the nerve to be out jogging. And the cyclists are actually running into people because they’re not paying attention

Have you ever been on the road that actually has bike lanes only cyclists ahead of you aren’t using them at all? Why are we putting our taxpayer dollars into these “road improvements” so we can “share the road” when they don’t know the first meaning of what it is to share the road?

When you’re driving and you come across cyclists like the ones photographed above, or the ones who also travel in packs and zigzag in and out of traffic, it is nerve-racking.  If you as a motorist hit someone on a bicycle you know it’s going to be bad, and the problem is it’s someone grossly UNfair because they created the dangerous situation in the first place.

I know a lot of cyclists are going to read this post and be really angry. But the thing is this: they need get the point across to their fellow cyclists that they are sharing the road and trails with other people and  vehicles and that they need to obey the same rules of the road as the rest of us.

easy summer entertaining

  Entertaining in the summer is so easy and fun! Fresh fruit and vegetables and flowers are so readily available and it is easy to be casual.

I am not for the paper plates and plastic cup casual, though. I like to make things look nice for my guests.

Last night was one of those nights. We got together with some of our favorite friends from high school and we don’t get together as often as we should and I wanted it to be special. 

  I did my table in my vintage finds that were season appropriate- Fiestaware and a cool Vera tablecloth.

I served summer food with my culinary twists. Started with a real gooey traditional French Brie with fresh strawberries on the side as well as crackers. Melon wrapped in prosciutto but not just cantelope, a lucious canary melon too.  And a super fresh caprese salad with my own garden basil. 

  For dinner, sweet cornbread muffins with dill, chili powder, and cinnamon. Chuck roast I had marinated for two days and roasted (they were supposed to be for the grill but Mother Nature changed the weather up). The roast was tender and flavorful!  

  We finished with a seasonal greens salad topped with sliced thin rings of lolipop scallions, Mert’s Nuts (the salad crumbles), goat cheese crumbles and a simple mustard vinegarette. Dessert was a triple berry trifle with three layers of pudding (lemon, coconut, white chocolate) and cookies my friend brought from Isgros.

  And on a whim along with some lovely French Rosés I served prosecco. The food was fresh and simple and the table seasonally festive. I did it buffet style so my guests could mingle and eat what they chose while catching up.

   

 Best of all it was just one of those fun evenings where it all felt like it was only five minutes long! Good friends, good food, good conversation and fun! 

Thanks for stopping by!