Stop the presses: Citizen speaks, government listens

They say you can't fight City Hall - or in this case, the state Capitol.

The implication is that one man or woman doesn't have a prayer in shifting the forces of Big Government.

But every now and then something happens that gives you hope that a single voice can indeed change the course of things, however small.

It happened to me yesterday when I got a letter from the mighty Pennsylvania Department of Transportation informing me that they would soon be erecting deer crossing signs along a stretch of Route 15 between Gettysburg and Harrisburg.

It's a route I have travelled every day to work and back for the past 12 years. Every fall and spring the asphalt is blood-splattered with the remains of deer killed in a short bit of road that is clearly a major deer crossing.

I have no idea how many drivers have been hurt or killed in these collisions, but I know many deer have died - including one summer, a doe and a young fawn killed in a single accident.

I've fretted about it for years, thinking that any request for a sign would have to come from a township and given that the road is near the border of two counties and multiple townships, I wasn't even sure where to begin.

Finally I made inquiry of the community relations officials for PennDot District 8. They told me to submit my request on the PennDot website.

Well, that's the end of that I thought. But to my surprise several days later I got a old-fashioned snail mail letter from District Executive Michael Keiser telling me they had received my request and would be commencing a study to determine if signs were warranted.

Again, I thought, well, that's that.

And to my surprise again a second letter arrived on Saturday saying that a study had been completed with the Pennsylvania Game Commission and a work order submitted to post deer crossing signs at that location.


Pennsylvania has more deer-car collisions than any other state (115,000 projected by State Farm insurance in 2013), causing $400 million in property damage last year, according to a report released in October.

In Allegheny County alone, 72 people were injured, one fatally, according to the PIttsburgh Post -Gazette.

In October a 35-year-old New York City man was killed on the Pennsylvania Turnpike's Northeast Extension in Lehigh County after a deer crashed through his car windshield.

Pennsylvania still trails neighboring states Maryland and New Jersey for investment in deer-traffic mitigation efforts. Maryland, New Jersey along with Virginia have invested hundreds of millions in building overpasses, underpasses to redirect deer across roadways. The Indiana Turnpike has sensors with signs to alert motorists to deer in the road.

Soon, along a small stretch of roadway in central Pennsylvania, drivers may heed a new sign, tap the brakes and scan the highway shoulders for shining eyes in their headlights - and maybe save a life in the process.


(Photo/Rebecca Droke/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)