In June, 2006, Radnor Township approved a new classroom building and dormitory for Eastern University's St. Davids campus. Part of that approval was that the university agreed to fund the creation of a sidewalk from a pedestrian path to the school on Chamounix Road to the St. Davids train station.
A reader recently wrote into to ask Radnor Scoop why has no work begun given the fact that the sidewalk was approved and Eastern has agreed to pay for it.
So, what's the scoop?
The Board of Commissioners have authorized only the design of the project at this point, said Steve Norcini, director of public works. After the design is completed Norcini will request that the board authorize them to receive bids for the sidewalk installation.
He said he estimates that the design will be complete by the end of April. Gilmore & Associates engineers are doing the design work.
This small stretch of sidewalk has caused a big uproar over the years.
In 2010, Radnor Township’s Board of Commissioners voted to take a step forward on the project, which caused a debate among residents that touched on safety, aesthetics and concerns about an apparently growing university.
The commissioner of the land where the sidewalks will be placed is Kevin Higgins.
"I have been opposed to this project from the beginning and voted against it," Higgins said last week.
"First and foremost, the project to which this sidewalk was attached was not even close to where the sidewalk is being installed and it is not being installed on Eastern's property. It is being installed on residents' private property who had nothing to do with the Eastern dorm project. These private property owners don't want the sidewalk and purchased their property without it. Now the government is coming in a placing a burden on the property owners for maintenance and will likely be devaluing their property due to the removal of some large trees and not compensating them for this decrease in value."
"Look around at the installed sidewalks. We don't enforce our maintenance requirements," Higgins continues. "The idea that there is a safety issue is specious argument. The data does not support that and, in fact, the incident where a pedestrian was sideswiped was further up the road near the narrowing by the bridge. If a sidewalk is needed it is needed all the way to the park not just on this stretch. Even if one were to accept the argument that it is an accident waiting to happen, then under that logic we should be putting up cement barriers to prevent cars from leaving the road and coming up on walkways or driving into cafes."
"This sidewalk was 'sold' as free. It is not free and never was free and anybody who believed that was naïve and misled," Higgins concludes.