There has been much discussion lately regarding the setbacks of Villanova University's new development on Lancaster Avenue, and how much room may be needed in the future for additional lanes and traffic islands.
Increases in population and traffic are the inevitabilities of life on the Main Line, as evidenced by images like this that show the now-busy Route 30 as it was a century ago. Besides the lack of paving, we can see here that the Avenue was not much wider than one of Wayne's residential neighborhood roads. The churches and what are now storefronts originally had beautifully maintained lawns, and the avenue was lined with trees and hedges.
Buildings such as the Central Baptist Church, pictured here on the left, were set back enough so that the widening of the Avenue did not impact the structure, despite the loss of its front yard. This then-and-now comparison serves as a reminder that what is "set back" from the roadway a good distance today, may not be tomorrow.
- Greg Prichard, Radnor Historical Society
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