• Mount Pocono Boro*

Mayor Nixes Safety Commission

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

About a dozen members of the Mount Pocono Association attended the June 3 Borough Council Meeting to voice displeasure about dangers pedestrians face in Mount Pocono.

Downtown business owner Jodi Bodhal challenged Council members to try to walk or cross the Borough streets, business owner Master Kim showed videos of attempts by families to cross the downtown streets, and long-time downtown business owner Vince April recited a twenty-plus year history of Council-hosted sessions to talk about safety concerns, which never produced substantive long-term solutions.

In response, Council president Claudette Williams proposed Council-hosted sessions to talk about safety concerns, and said that the business association should take the lead in investigating solutions. She recited statistics of dozens of accidents so far this year caused by speeding and unsafe conditions as proof that she was aware of the problem.

Council member Tom Ford proposed the permanent Sidewalk and Safety Commission he had been asking the council president to place on the agenda since January, after another pedestrian was hit and killed on a Borough road with no pedestrian safety measures. Since then, the Council has not discussed or passed any safety measures. Ford proposed a permanent Safety Commission consisting of residents, business owners, and a Planning Commission member. The proposed Commission would be tasked with evaluating the areas of the Borough most in need, investigating available safety measures, planning implementation, and researching creative means of acquiring funds for the needed improvements. Their suggestions would be subject to Borough Council acceptance.

Pointing out that the Council was already two hours in to a meeting with over 30 items on the agenda, and that they had not yet covered even half of them, Ford said the Commission, which would not cost the Borough anything to implement, would have only one agenda item -- safety. Council member Aida Montanez agreed with the president that special attention to safety issues on a Borough-wide, systematic basis, by a dedicated Saftey Commission joining together all elements of the community, was not needed. Instead, she favored a Council-hosted session. The Sidewalk and Safety Commission was supported by council members Francis O'Boyle, Matt Hensel, and Tom Ford, with Williams, Montanez, and Stacy Stewart-Keeler rejecting it. A tied council vote left it to the interim mayor to break the tie. He voted no, killing a permanent Mount Pocono Borough Sidewalk & Safety Commission.

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