FrOG Supports Council Compromise
What follows is the letter that we sent to Media Borough Council and local news organizations. We later learned that Broomalls Lake Country Club is filing a Petition for Contempt against Media Borough alleging violation of the Stipulation Agreement.
After more than one year of researching, advocating, educating, and organizing for the removal of Broomall’s Lake dam and establishment of a pedestrian and bicycle only greenway (with access for emergency automotive vehicles), the Friends of Glen Providence Park is supporting the recent compromise decisions on the Third Street project made by Media Borough Council.
When the proposed design for the Third Street project was first made public in June, 2011, it became clear that the new, significantly larger dam would not replace what was there, but would cover with earthfill over 1/2 acre of valley in Glen Providence Park, destroying significant wetlands and requiring the removal of more than 70 trees in over one acre of the park. Aiming to preserve the peaceful, recreational atmosphere that had developed on the closed segment of Third Street since its closure 16 years ago, and determined to protect the beautiful, natural habitat at the north end of the park, Friends of Glen Providence Park was founded and began its work to preserve and protect Delaware County’s oldest park- through citizen science, historical research, volunteer work days, nature walks, and advocating for better options for the Third Street project.
Despite our earnest efforts, on May 17, 2012, the Council voted 5-2 to reconstruct the dam and re-establish a roadway open to automotive vehicular traffic over the top of the dam. Then, on September 20, 2012, Council voted 4-3 to instruct PennDOT and the project engineers to design a 28-foot-wide passageway on the crown of the dam that would include a one-way traffic lane for automobiles entering Media from Upper Providence and an equal area for non-automotive traffic that could accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
The thoroughfare will include a buffer between the automotive vehicular and non-automotive vehicular lanes, as well as required shoulders on each side. Emergency automotive vehicles will be granted authority to cross the automotive roadway in both directions. A landscape architect will be engaged.
We want to be clear that our organization continues to believe that removing the dam and establishing a pedestrian-bicycle only greenway, with access for emergency automotive vehicles, is the best solution for Glen Providence Park, park users, and for the community as a whole. We also believe that the weight of community opinion leans in our direction, as demonstrated by the report on public opinion issued by the Council’s own Citizen Advisory Committee on the Third Street Project.
Even so, we recognize that Council’s votes reflect a compromise solution that complies with the legal stipulation entered into with Broomall’s Lake Country Club and Delaware County, reduces by roughly 3,600 square feet the impact on the park as compared to the original reconstruction design, addresses key safety concerns about emergency vehicle access and the hazard of entering Media from Ridley Creek Road/Baltimore Pike, and offers a reasoned resolution to the divisive issue of whether to prioritize automotive or pedestrian-bicycle traffic on the Third Street thoroughfare. Given that the project goes forward as outlined, and that implementation strictly complies with the laws protecting the environment and public safety, the Third Street project should be viewed as an asset to our community.
Our members look forward to working with Council, the project’s landscape architect, and other community stakeholders to create a unique, attractive, and welcoming gateway into Media for people cycling, driving, and walking. Some of the additional amenities we hope to see incorporated include traffic calming surfaces and safety signage, low impact lighting, benches, stone planters and historic-looking fencing as an alternative to chain link fencing. The Friends of Glen Providence Park has also expressed a preference for using local labor and recycled materials, including stone and wood available on-site.
Compromises never completely please everyone and – at times – they please no one. While the compromises crafted by our Council fall considerably short of our vision, we understand that they do address other legal, financial, and social concerns and they do represent a reduction in environmental impact over the original design. In the spirit of moving forward on this long-debated matter, uniting with the widest possible majority of residents, and fulfilling our mission of protecting and enhancing the entire park, the Friends of Glen Providence is announcing its support for the decisions of Media Borough Council regarding the Third Street Project.
Steering Committee, Friends of Glen Providence Park