Residents discuss safety near Somerton Station

Edison Avenue near the train station doesn’t have a curb or sidewalk, making it treacherous for pedestrians.

The Somerton Civic Association meets on the second Tuesday of the month at the Walker Lodge, 1290 Southampton Road. TIMES FILE PHOTO

For a year and a half, Tim Worstall has been fighting for safety improvements to Edison Avenue near Somerton Station.

Worstall, who uses a cane, said he risks his life every time he walks to catch the train from his nearby condominium. The street has no sidewalk or curb, and he is often left dodging traffic.

He shared his concerns with neighbors at the Jan. 14 Somerton Civic Association meeting. SCA President Chris Bordelon said the civic has raised the issue with city officials twice in recent years.

“Why hasn’t anything been done about this?” Worstall said, adding he’s contacted just about every elected official and city department about the street.

The road is winding, and cars park along “the brim,” which is what Worstall calls the edge of the street, waiting to meet commuters getting off at the Regional Rail stop.

Bob Stewart, of state Sen. John Sabatina Jr.’s office, said he met with Worstall and SEPTA representatives on Edison Avenue in the summer, but not much has been done. 

There’s very little space for pedestrians, which is what makes the area so dangerous. 

“Someone is going to get killed there,” Stewart said. 

There’s little Sabatina’s office can do because it’s not a state issue, he added.

Worstall has been in contact with 10th District Councilman Brian O’Neill’s office. However, he believes they are “impeding progress” to benefit people who drive to the station.

O’Neill told the Times he understands the problem and would like to make the area safer. 

“There’s not a whole lot that can be done because of the physical limitations,” he said. “There’s no room to put a walkway.”

O’Neill said they were able to get some delineator posts installed, though they only cover a small part of the curve. He plans to involve some experts from the mayor’s office to see if there’s any creative solutions.

“It’s just a real difficult thing,” O’Neill said. “I don’t mind taking another shot at it.”

Will Fraser, transportation outreach coordinator for the Clean Air Council, said there are a number of potential fixes for that part of Edison Avenue, which turns into Station Road.

The city could build a sidewalk or curb, or put up more posts, said Fraser, who attended the Jan. 14 meeting and has been working with Worstall. Anything to create a clearly designated area for people to walk would help, he said.

Worstall hopes there will be a meaningful update at the SCA’s February meeting. 

Other notes

A developer hoping to build homes on a 1-acre wooded lot at 11934 Stevens Road has appealed a zoning decision to the Court of Common Pleas, Bordelon told residents.

The Zoning Board of Adjustment on Dec. 4 denied a variance for the project, which has been opposed on three separate occasions by SCA members. Court records indicate a hearing has yet to be scheduled for the case.

Residents voted unanimously to support a permit for a homeowner who wants to build a sunroom on top of an existing outdoor patio at 11614 Banes St.

Following a vote last month, SCA distributed $500 gift cards to six neighborhood schools to defray classroom expenses for teachers. At the Jan. 14 meeting, the Walker Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows donated $1,000 to the effort, and an anonymous donor contributed $200.

The Somerton Civic Association’s next meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 11, at the Walker Lodge, 1290 Southampton Road. ••

Jack Tomczuk can be reached at jtomczuk@newspapermediagroup.com.