LONG-TIME Wilkes-Barre City residents probably recall the rocky road taken in building what is now the James F. Conahan Intermodal Transportation Center. Here's hoping the Luzerne County Transportation Authority can prevent past from becoming prologue.
A recap for the forgetful or unknowing: Then-Mayor Tom McGroarty's apparent failure to tend to details left the transportation center barely begun, marked by the legendary "hole in the ground," source of many jokes and icon for unfulfilled promises.
After McGroarty's departure, that hole – originally intended to be the downtown movie theater – became the inception of the current transportation hub, a modern parking lot and bus terminal.
Skip to September 2011, when a bus backing up at the center hit Edward Rehill, 86, as he walked behind what he likely thought was a parked vehicle. Rehill died of his injuries.
Rehill's death raised many questions about the safety of the Intermodal Center design, though anyone who has walked past the main entrance on South Washington Street surely had questions before that. Vehicle exit and entrance ramps are wide and confusing and utterly uninviting to pedestrians traversing the sidewalk.
The Transportation Authority board decided this week to pay for a study "to suggest enhancements for the operations of" the center.
This certainly seems like a wise – albeit belated – move in the aftermath of September's tragedy. Here's hoping it leads to whatever changes are needed to prevent a recurrence.
And if the study finds substantial safety flaws in the center's design, the follow-up is as obvious as it is necessary.
Figure out how such an expensive facility could have been designed and built without more attention to user safety.
Vehicle exit and entrance ramps are wide and
confusing and utterly uninviting to pedestrians traversing the sidewalk.