Group aims to make a Cumberland County road safer

CAMP HILL, Pa. - Residents in this Cumberland County community are working together to try to make a busy road safer for pedestrians and other drivers.

The 11/15 bypass, also known as Cumberland Boulevard, has more than 69,000 cars driving on it daily, according to PennDOT data cited by the Cumberland Boulevard Improvement Task Force, but group members fear many of those drivers either do not know the speed limit, or worse, do not care.

"I'm looking out over right now four lanes going, [and] they're going over 35 [miles per hour]," said Sherry Bowman, one of the group's co-founders. "It looks like a highway. I have friends who don't live in Camp Hill and I've asked them about it and they said, 'What do you mean it's 35? It looks like a highway. I don't go 35.' They're treating it like it's 50 miles an hour."

The tipping point for the group came last December, when Diana Davidson, 66, was killed by a vehicle as she was walking her dogs along the bypass. The task force learned that 13 people had died as a result of accidents on the bypass in the last 20 years.

"Zero is too many, and I never ever ever want to hear of another person dying out here," said Brett Miller, one of the group's co-founders and a resident near the bypass. "It's unacceptable, and PennDOT has a program towards zero deaths, which I really wish we could get some help with out here."

The group is pushing PennDOT and Camp Hill Borough officials for several improvements to be made along the bypass, including additional landscaping and better sidewalks along the road, to make it look less like a highway and more like a road with a 35 mph speed limit.

"That's a limit," Miller said. "It's not a suggested speed. It's the limit, but what we have noticed from observing it for the past several months is nobody drives 35."

It also wants a school zone designation along the bypass as well as improvements to make the neighborhood more walkable for children who cross the bypass to go to Eisenhower Elementary School, which is at the corner of the bypass and 21st Street. It's an issue, especially for those who live north and west of the bypass, Bowman said.

"We feel like it's a cohesive borough, but at the same time we feel like this is something that's affecting our daily quality of life that we should address as a borough together," she said.

Click here for more information on the group, which is holding a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Camp Hill borough offices.