Original Jurisdiction in the case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Transportation v. Philip Longo, et al.
Michael H. Kline, Assistant Counsel, with him, Spencer A. Manthorpe, Assistant Counsel, for plaintiff.
John D. Snyder, Lamb, Windle & McErlane, P.C., for defendant.
Judge Palladino. Opinion by Judge Palladino.
[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 121]
Presently before this Court is a Motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Department of Transportation
[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 122]
(Department) and a Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment filed by Philip and Beverly Ann Longo (Defendants), concerning the issue of whether the Department may properly require Defendants to post signs prohibiting left turns into and out of their driveway. For the reasons set forth below, we grant the Department's motion for summary judgment, and we dismiss Defendants' cross-motion for summary judgment.
Defendants own a piece of real property in Chester County which abuts a state highway, Traffic Route 352. Defendants use and maintain on their property a driveway which opens onto Route 352 and provides access from Defendants' home to the highway. An embankment and a hillcrest on the right (north) side of the driveway restrict the sight distance to the right for motorists exiting from the driveway onto Route 352.*fn1
According to a formula specified in 67 Pa. Code § 441.8(h), the minimum acceptable sight distance at the intersection of Route 352 and Defendants' driveway is 414 feet. For vehicles turning left from the driveway onto Route 352, however, the sight distance to the right is only 325 feet. Additionally, if a vehicle is waiting to make a left turn onto the driveway from Route 352, the sight distance for vehicles approaching the waiting vehicle from behind is only 250 feet. Because of the restricted sight distance at the junction of Defendants' driveway and Route 352, the Department is requesting injunctive relief compelling Defendants to post and maintain "No Left Turn" signs prohibiting left turns both into and out of their driveway.*fn2
[ 98 Pa. Commw. Page 123]
We begin by noting that a motion for summary judgment is appropriate only when a case is free from doubt; that is, when the moving party has established that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Pennsylvania Funeral Directors Association v. Commonwealth, 90 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 175, 494 A.2d 67 (1985). Moreover, in deciding whether summary judgment is appropriate, the record must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and any doubts regarding the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved in favor of the nonmoving party. El Concilio de Los Trabajadores v. Commonwealth, 86 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 219, 484 A.2d 817 (1984).
In the case at bar, the Department avers that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that Defendants may be compelled to undertake the requested actions by virtue of Department regulations duly promulgated under Section 420 of the State Highway Law.*fn3 Specifically, the Department relies on 67 Pa. Code § 441.7(b), which was promulgated in 1980 and which states that "Access driveways shall be permitted at locations in which: (1) sight distance is adequate to safely allow each permitted movement to be made into or out of the access driveway; . . . [and] ...