Controversy has arisen in the Radnor community over recent plans by Villanova to place Christian crosses on a new bridge. The new bridge, according to CBS Philly, is “part of a $285-million expansion project, [in which] Radnor Township has approved a pedestrian walkway.” According to Mainline Media News, “some $500,000 of state money will go to the $3.7-million bridge, which will span Lancaster Avenue at Church Walk.”
The walkway itself is not a problem, but what is on it has been seen as controversial. Atop the two ends of the bridge will be four crosses (two at each end), each four feet, seven inches tall, which will be facing the oncoming traffic. According to Villanova’s website, they are “a Roman Catholic institution of higher learning founded by the Order of Saint Augustine in 1842,” which explains why they would want crosses on their bridge.
These crosses have stirred up controversy among some of Villanova’s neighbors. Rick Leonardi, who opposes the design, states, “They’re not facing the pedestrians. They’re facing the traffic, so it’s the driving public that’s going to be getting this message.” Leonardi’s suggestion is for Villanova to turn the crosses the other way, so they face the pedestrians.
Many Villanova students do not see the crosses as an issue. First-year student Chris Montie states, “I think it’s university property, so I think they should be able to do whatever they want.”
Though the bridge is on Villanova’s property, it will be paid for with university and state money. The designs received unanimous approval, and the build team plans to have the bridge finished, crosses and all, by early 2018. When the bridge is finished, it will belong solely to Villanova.
Luke Clark, the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners, states, “The design looks great. The crosses are going to go up there. Is it right or wrong? I don’t know. But at the end of the day it is on their property. They are a religious institution, and the law for the most part is in their favor.”
Sources: CBS Philly, villanova.edu