Bucks County Herald

Charles Meredith:

Keeping Americans on our toes

Dear Friends,

Good morning. Events in the nation’s capital continue to keep us Americans on our toes. Good news and bad news abounds.

First, the good news. As you know, I am not fond of our president. But I was happy that he’s abandoned the Republicans … at least for the moment. Alas, the Democratic Party is no better.

Frustrated with the GOP’s failure to change “Obamacare,” or to solve the debt ceiling crisis, or to protect younger illegal immigrants from deportation, President Trump successfully reached across the aisle to the Democratic leadership.

As a result, the Republicans are naturally furious. This demonstrates that both parties have one common goal: Deny the opposition from achieving anything wothwhile.

We saw it in 2008 when Republican Senator Mitch McConnell (whom I call “The Turtle”) vowed that his goal was to make President Obama a one-term president. And as long as both parties spend their days obstructing each other, nothing will change for the better.

That’s precisely why Congressman Charlie Dent from neighboring Lehigh County is quitting … today’s political bad news. He won’t seek re-election.

“As a member of the governing wing of the Republican Party, I’ve worked to install stability, certainty and predictability in Washington,” Dent said. “I’ve fought to fulfill the basic functions of government, like keeping the lights on and preventing default.”

Dent co-chairs the Tuesday Group, a coalition of moderate House Republicans that includes nearly every GOP congressman from the Philadelphia region. He said his frustration had grown with the instability coming from the White House.

Closer to home, one of my readers criticized my column about the need to restore America’s bourgeois culture of the 1940s and ’50s. “Can we reset the clock?” I asked last week.

“Unfortunately, Meredith fails to mention what is perhaps the most significant shortcoming among our many ‘bourgeois culture’ failures,” Donald Neumann began. “…the disintegration of the influence of religion, from which all of those ‘bourgeois cultures’ were derived. Much of the blame can be attributed to the three arbiters that Meredith charges with the responsibility for restoring the hegemony of the bourgeois culture which these very same arbiters (academics, the media and Hollywood) have spent the last 50 years denigrating, deriding and denouncing.

“For those who will take the time to read God’s Word, they will find very clear passages describing the conditions which Meredith accurately recounts. There can be no resetting of the clock. However, we can pray for the restoration of God’s Word as the means for redirecting the perilous pathway this nation seems to be treading.”

On a different subject, in downtown Quakertown, questions about diagonal instead of parallel parking have risen on Branch Street (one-block road, parallel and east of the 200 block of West Broad). I asked the president of Quakertown Council for clarification. L. James Roberts has been on the council for nearly 40 years and is its current president.

“Quakertown implemented traffic and parking changes to Branch Street as the result of a two-year traffic study and plan approved by PennDOT,” Roberts said. “A traffic count performed several years ago indicated that 17,000 motor vehicles drive through the borough every 24 hours. A number of problems caused the borough to look at reducing the speeding and aggressive driving on those two streets, plus the need for more available downtown parking spaces.

“The PennDOT study determined that reducing Branch Street to one lane and adding angled paring was the best and safest approach. One of the issues on Branch Street was that the highway split into two lanes of travel between Front and Fourth streets and created opportunities for motorists to use one of the lanes to exceed a safe driving speed and pass other cars traveling in the same direction, resulting in unsafe cut-ins when approaching Fourth Street.

“Police Department statistics show that within the past five years, more than 70 vehicle accidents occurred. There was no doubt that it was time to introduce ‘traffic calming’ measures to help ensure the safety of those traveling and walking in the downtown area.

“PennDOT introduced the concept of ‘back-in’ angled parking. Back-in angled parking has many similarities to parallel parking but also provides safer conditions when pulling out of the parking space and re-entering the travel lanes.

“The plan for the 300 block of Branch Street includes reducing the travel lanes from two 8-foot-wide lanes to one 12-foot lane. The Fourth Street turn lane will be eliminated and parallel parking will be added to the south side of the highway for additional downtown parking. The travel lane will accommodate wide loads that occasionally traverse through the borough and will also create a safer environment for pedestrians crossing at Fourth Street.”

Roberts says that PennDOT will review the decision in three months … that’s just around the corner of the Christmas season. The council president told me that PennDOT will decide whether its decision will accomplish “calming” traffic.

Stay tuned. It’s a “puzzlement,” L. James Roberts quips.

Sincerely, Charles Meredith

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