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Sycamore Street Is Popular, But Is It Safe?

Sycamore Street Is Popular, But Is It Safe? | Newtown News of Interest |

[As reported online by the Bucks Courier Times, January 5, 2022.]


Scott Spitznas and a friend had just left the Green Parrot late Dec. 22 after a holiday get-together with another buddy. The men walked across North Sycamore Street to catch an Uber ride.


They used the brick crosswalk. Spitznas didn't make it across. The beloved husband and father of two from New Jersey didn't have a chance, said Bob Lutz, owner-operator of the Green Parrot restaurant and pub.  He died of "massive injuries" at the scene.


"He was doing all the right things," Lutz said. 


But, Sycamore Street is just too dangerous, say those who live nearby and work along the stretch.


Spitznas, 56, of Medford Lakes, was the fifth pedestrian to be hit by a motor vehicle on Sycamore Street in a little more than two and a half years, said Newtown Supervisor John Mack. Exactly two months prior to this accident, another man was critically injured on the street, he noted.


Mack called for more safety measures on Sycamore in November and has a petition drive going now for improvements at the dangerous intersection at North Sycamore and Silo Drive. Mack said he will give it to the other township supervisors for their consideration, noting that more than 550 of the signatures have come from people living in Newtown and neighboring communities …


"I think there needs to be more lights because it's dark at night. There are plenty of people walking dogs or going to dinner," said Raime Monahan, a manager at the upscale Anthropologie store on North Sycamore.


"Maybe a blinking light like I've seen in other intersections. I think it's an alert to drivers. People are busy with phones. They need a little reminder to pay attention," said Randi Pasko, an associate at Anthropologie.


At the Bike Works store next door, co-owner Dan Turner said their safety concerns usually focus on bicycle riders but he too thought more lighting on the street would help keep pedestrians safe.


Gabriel Matta,  long-time owner of Newtown Pizza across the street from the Green Parrot, offered his advice: "I think they need more likely a traffic light. People cannot cross." He also would like to see the speed limit reduced to 25 miles per hour. 


Matta said Sycamore is a street filled with pedestrians, including many who don't use the bricked crosswalks.  At night, he said "you cannot see when it's not well lit...You need more lights, stronger bulbs." 


Lutz said the Green Parrot plans to hold a drive to collect $7,500 to help the police with the cost of some safety measures and he plans to reach out to Visit Bucks County, the county's tourist bureau to see if a grant could be applied for that would help with some of the costs as well.


He said it doesn't do any of the many restaurants, bars and retail businesses coming to Newtown good if people have to fear getting to or from their establishments.


Mack said he would like to see a Joint Newtown Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Committee formed so that the township and borough could work together on all the Newtown issues involved.


But the immediate concern is making Sycamore Street, which is located in the township but skirts the borough, safer. 


"There's a lot of suggestions. The best plan is yet to be determined," Mack said. 


As he sat in one of the booths of his pizza shop looking out at the intersection where the accident occurred, Matta reflected on its cost. "If you hit someone or were hit, both families are destroyed," he said.  

johnmacknewtown's insight:

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  • “Pedestrian Struck and Killed on North Sycamore Street in Newtown Township While Catching an Uber”;
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These Scoops are excerpts from articles published in local newspapers and other sources that may be of interest to Newtown area residents. Please click on the "From" link to access the full original article. Any opinions and "insights" appended to these article summaries are solely those of John Mack and do not represent the opinions of any other person or entity.
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