Whitehall-Coplay Press

Monday, February 24, 2020
Press photo by Paul FoxKevin Sell and Alexander Reinik are sworn in to the Whitehall Township Police Department at the Jan. 13 board of commissioners meeting. Press photo by Paul FoxKevin Sell and Alexander Reinik are sworn in to the Whitehall Township Police Department at the Jan. 13 board of commissioners meeting.

Stretch of Front Street called ‘a runway’

Wednesday, January 15, 2020 by PAUL FOX Special to The Press in Local News

Neighbors ask township board for stop sign at Center St. intersection

The Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners held its second meeting of the new decade Jan. 13.

Several residents of North Front Street came before the board to request the installation of a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Front and Center streets.

This particular stretch of Front Street currently has no stop signs and a 35 mph speed limit, which they report drivers continually ignore. That combination has been incredibly destructive over the past 10 years as the neighborhood has been terrorized by motor vehicle accidents, they said.

One resident described an accident from last November where one car caught fire, another was pushed into a neighbor’s yard and a third was completely demolished. Another similar accident followed the very next month.

Over the past 10 years, one resident of North Front Street has had four pickup trucks totaled by drivers speeding past his home, it was reported.

The board asked Whitehall Township Chief of Police Michael Marks for his take on accidents in the area. He described it as “a runway” and said such a long stretch of unregulated road certainly calls for a traffic study.

The commissioners appeared stunned they had not been made aware of this issue sooner.

This was the first time any residents had come before the board to find a solution. Board President Philip Ginder thanked them for doing so now so it can be addressed. Mayor Michael Harakal Jr. apologized for not being aware of the problem earlier.

Also at the meeting, two new officers were sworn in to the Whitehall Township Police Department — Alexander Reinik and Kevin Sell.

Families of both officers were in attendance. In a speech before the swearing in, Marks said those families could now depend on the police department for support, in good times and bad.

Newly elected Commissioners Charles Fisher and Randy Atiyeh made their first- ever closing statements at the end of the meeting.

Fisher described it as an “honor, pleasure and a privilege to serve in his first meeting.” He expressed his great respect for his fellow commissioners.

Atiyeh echoed those sentiments and said he looks forward to making Whitehall a better place.

“We’ve replaced two good people with two very good people,” Harakal said of the new commissioners.

The next Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners meeting will be 7 p.m. Feb. 3.