(AP) A driver pulls up to a Scranton resident and calls out the window: “How do I get to Joe Biden Way?’’
The Scrantonian replies: “Go straight for two blocks, take a left and go four blocks north. It’s the street sign that you can read. You can’t miss it.’’
Recently, Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti and U.S. Sen. Bob Casey presided at a ceremony unveiling a street sign along the 2400 block of North Washington Avenue, at Fisk Street, in Scranton, Pa., to honor the president-elect, who was born in that neighborhood.
The designation of Joe Biden Way is a fitting gesture. Biden spent his first 10 years in Scranton before moving in 1952 with his family to Wilmington, Delaware. He played baseball at the Green Ridge Little League, scrambled up and down smoldering culm dumps with friends in the city’s Marvine section and hopped on trolley car bumpers for free rides on the Scranton Transit Co.’s Green Ridge Suburban line.
Sign generates amusement
But the street sign ceremony struck more than a few local residents with a sense of amusement and incongruity. Scranton’s green and white street signs, taken as a whole, remain a continuing source of confusion, derision and frustration.
Hundreds of the signs are illegible after decades of exposure to rain, snow, sleet, wind and sun. City officials have listened for years as taxpayers vented complaints about missing and faded street signs.
In September 2018 city council authorized the administration to hire a Philadelphia engineering firm for $276,600 to use a vehicle with GPS cameras to catalog all street signs along Scranton’s 263 miles of roads and build a database of signs and intersections. Last month, council approved an application for $306,000 in state grant funding to install more than 2,000 street signs.
The city, finally, could be on the road to rectifying a problem that has angered and frustrated drivers for too long. Maybe it no longer will be a confusing challenge for people to find their way to Joe Biden Way.
The Scranton Times-Tribune