Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Bridge Too Far

If you have ever traveled by train into Downingtown the station you will come into is right in our little neck of the woods in Johnsontown.  The largest of the parking lots for this venue is within what is sadly called Johnsontown Park.  For the longest time this "park" was more or less empty open space nearest the homes on Viaduct (and yes, nefarious deeds were done in the darkened areas near the Brandywine) and fields that were used for soccer during the season on the eastern side.    A few years ago a small "playground" was built and the Lions constructed a pavilion, but still the park is not used as much as it could be if the borough would put more time and money into it like they have done with other parks in the area which actually have less of a population of people around them.

Now we are being told that a bridge will be built from Boot Road and 322 into Johnsontown right through the park.  Why you might ask?  Well when one asks any local official you will hear just about the same thing, "it will be good for the borough."  Oh really? And what about the citizens of Johnsontown?  How will it impact our quality of life?  Were we even asked or considered?  Not so much.  Doing some investigation I found that the reason that the bridge has been proposed is because that area  is what is called a KOZ which means a Keystone Opportunity Zone.  These areas have generated very little state and local tax revenue and if developed are expected to attract spin off taxable activity.  If you take a good look at a map of Johnsontown you will see there is actually NO ROOM for this!
Not only is there no room for this kind of construction it will make traffic patterns a nightmare and inconvenience and generally make life a living hell for those who reside on Viaduct.  If you have ever come around this part of the neighborhood once a train has arrived at 5, 6, or 7 pm you would know from where I speak.  Trying to get into Johnsontown or out of it becomes a test in patience.  The small tunnel that exits onto Business Route 30 only travels one way at a time and becomes extremely congested at quiting time.  Viaduct Rd would also have to be widened if the proposal that has been floating around the rumor mill is true and this would mean that home owners would lose portions if not all of the front area of their property.  How would you like the road you live on to be right outside your front door?

I say if you want this area to start generating taxes, help the residents clean up the area, give our community group the funds needed to begin some projects that we would like to accomplish but can't without more substantial money than we can generate on our own.  Make the people and children of Johnsontown a priority rather than seeing us as a liability to be pushed around at your whim.  I say this will be a BRIDGE TOO FAR!


  1. shame that i see more and more things being proposed as "good for the community" when in fact upon closer examination and being presented with all the facts ... things are not what they appear.

  2. Very true "Anonymous". Not very often are those in the community being effected asked what their thoughts are and they would seem to be the ones with their fingers on the pulse of the area.

  3. Had I known about the meeting, I would've attended, but even elected officials are left out of the loop -- one in particular. Perhaps it is because I live on the east side, or perhaps it's because I'm fighting (very hard) to save Kardon Park.

    In the 1993 Open Space and Recreation Plan, Johnsontown Park was described as a 45-acre park. It is now, according to the Borough website, a 13.9 acre park. What in the world happened there?!

    Definitely come to Council meeetings. There's always a time for "citizens to be heard", so be heard! Offer your ideas and alternatives. Vent your frustrations with decisions that are being made. Council NEEDS your input and a good swift kick in the pants every now and again, or they will continue to operate in a vacuum.

    Feel free to email me. I WILL listen and help. That's what I'm here for -- to help the citizens "for the good of the Borough", not give the citizens the shaft "for the good of the Borough".

    Ann Feldman

  4. Thank you Ann for responding. I appreciate it. I do believe that you will start to see some faces at the Council Meetings from our neighborhood.