As part of a $285 million expansion project, Villanova University is erecting a pedestrian bridge that will run over Lancaster Avenue — something the township required for safety reasons to allow safe passage from the campus on one side of the road to the other. But controversy has ensued over the design of the bridge, specifically the Catholic university’s plan to erect 4-foot, 7-inch metal crosses atop stone pillars on either side of the structure. Some Radnor Township residents say such an audacious show of religion has no place in a township of many faiths. “I think they are overstepping their sense of ecumenism to shove these crosses in our faces,” said Sara Pilling, a long-time township resident who lives a couple of blocks from the university. Villanova officials, however, say the school is well within its right to include the crosses, which will be on school property and which the university will fund. “On every building on campus there’s a cross,” said the Rev. Peter Donohue, president of Villanova. “I understand people’s sensitivities but it’s just something we’ve always done. It’s just part of who we are. We are a faith-based institution.”
The Radnor Township Board of Commissioners late Monday approved a controversial pedestrian bridge that would link Villanova University’s main campus with a planned expansion on the southern side of Lancaster Avenue.