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Increased horse-and-buggy traffic leads to new street signs in Mount Jewett

FILE - A van passes an Amish buggy in the rain traveling out of New Wilmington, Pa., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007.
Keith Srakocic
FILE - A van passes an Amish buggy in the rain traveling out of New Wilmington, Pa., Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007.

A council member in a rural northern Pennsylvania community in McKean County is raising awareness for horses and buggies on the road with new street signs. He says more Amish families are moving into the area.

Chuck Parr, a member of the Mount Jewett Borough Council, asked PennDOT to install the signs after an Amish family moved in along a busy highway last fall. The signs were installed in late January.

Parr is also a truck driver. He said he’s used to giving extra space when he sees a horse and buggy, but that isn’t always the case for others in his community.

“It's new to us, especially the people who don't get out much," Parr said. "I travel nationwide. I've been dealing with Amish traffic for many, many years in various parts of the country, but local people who are just going back and forth to Kane or Bradford and doing local traffic, it's like, ‘Gasp, there's a horse and buggy!’”

Parr said more Amish families have moved into the region in the past two years. He expects to see even more because of the area’s cheaper real estate. Because of that, he wants drivers in his community and across the state to be aware of horses on the road and what to do when they see one.

“Horses can be easily spooked. You know, you slow down, you try to give them as much room as possible. And be aware that, you know, the horse can bolt, especially if he's spooked by a horn or noise," Parr said.

Parr said many people are aware of the Amish community in Lancaster County, but not in other places throughout the state.

“There's a lot of places that I come up and I'll see the sign and it's like, ‘Oh, oh, I didn't know there was any here. OK, alright.’ So now, at least I have a mindset to be aware," Parr said.

PennDOT says horse-drawn buggies usually travel 8-miles-per hour and drivers should only pass when there is plenty of room.

Sydney Roach is a reporter and host for WPSU with a passion for radio and community stories.