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Roads Are Underutilized, Says Hekemian Traffic Expert

Hekemian's traffic expert says additional traffic that may result from the proposed development of the United Water property can be accommodated because the roads are underutilized.

According to Elizabeth "Betsy" Dolan, a traffic engineer hired by Hekemian, the additional traffic caused by the proposed development can be accommodated because the roads that she studied around the area are "underutilized." 

Dolan, hired by Hekemian to analyze the traffic impact and trip generation, route: {:controller=>"articles", :action=>"show", :id=>"traffic-impact-of-united-water-development"} --> of the proposed development of the United Water property, reappeared before the zoning board of adjustment Wednesday to continue her testimony on the

newmilford1967 September 20, 2012 at 11:08 AM
Is this woman nuts? Traffic is horriable at the school from 7am to 830am and again from 230 to past 4pm.Where did she look Idaho?????
Lori Barton September 20, 2012 at 11:12 AM
Dolan was discredited just like every other "expert" that Hekemian has brought forth. She admitted that she based her testimony on the fact that the existing ShopRite was 62,000 sq ft when in reality it is 34,000 sq ft. ALL of her report is now flawed and should be redone. She used figures from Tuesdays and Saturdays. Tuesdays are the lowest volume shopping day of the week. Sundays in Bergen County have much higher supermarket traffic than Saturdays. In New Milford, in particular, Sundays are even higher volume due to the presence of an Orthodox Jewish community that observes the Sabbath on Saturdays and does food shopping on Sundays. All of these facts are relevant and were ignored. Dolan expects the 18 wheeler truck deliveries will NOT be a problem for the students of NMHS crossing Madison Ave to get to the athletic field for PE classes. Will she be held responsible the first time that a student is hurt? Of course, their lead counsel objected to any of our facts but at least they are on the record.
Lori Barton September 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM
She acknowledges that traffic will be increased but she thinks our roads can handle it. Obviously, she doesn't live here and is ignoring reality. Again, this will negatively affect the quality of life here in New Milford. This is another negative criteria to keep in mind for the zoning board to reject this application. Join SOD on Monday for an old fashioned protest to let the Mayor and Council know that New MIlford does not want this property to be rezoned. We do not want ShopRite next to our high school. Be at Boro Hall at 6 PM and wear your green shirts. Stop OverDevelopment...Keep New Milford Green!!
AML September 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Lori summed it up wonderfully as always, so I will elaborate on the Hekemian's so called “expert,” Ms. Dolan. We can now count her in, along with Mr. Dipple, & Dr. Kinsey, into the Hall of Fame for "Experts" with Extremely Flawed, Unrealistic, and Incomplete Testimonies/Reports. TO BE CONTINUED
AML September 20, 2012 at 12:39 PM
CONTINUED During last night's Zoning Board meeting, she could not remember ONE out of 2000 PROJECTS during her entire career which closely resembled the current application. She did not take flooding, school activities, senior citizen center activities, proposed new church activities, as criteria into her traffic calculations at all. Ms. Dolan has probably never heard of “cause & effect.” How could an “expert” not use these activities as necessary criteria in determining traffic impact? How could these activities positively affect traffic? How could she determine that the current roads are “underutilized, when these activities were not studied at all? She severely underestimated the square footage of the existing ShopRite to be 62,000 when in fact the sq footage is approximately half that amount; therefore, her entire report is completely misleading & flawed. Quite a big mistake to have made, being a so-called “expert”...wouldn't you think? That information is easily available, & was researched by members of the public WITH NO TRAFFIC ENGINEERING DEGREES WHO BROUGHT IT TO HER ATTENTION, yet she is the one who is considered an “expert,” & her testimony holds weight at board & court proceedings,...makes you wonder.
Jon September 20, 2012 at 01:11 PM
The fact that Dolan used the wrong sized existing ShopRite to base her entire analysis should be grounds to disqualify her as an expert. How can anyone start with the wrong input possibly come to correct conclusions? She should revise all her calculations and issue a new report. My bet is that she will come to the same result, existing roads can handle the added traffic.
miriam pickett September 20, 2012 at 01:36 PM
While the questioning last night exposed Ms.Dolan's testimony as being inaccurate and flawed at every level, the turnout of residents was disappointing. In order to stop this application, it is imperative that the hearing chamber be packed. I know these meetings are awful to sit through, please make every effort to attend them. The next special meeting is next Thursday, September 27 at 7pm. Ask your questions. Don't miss your opportunity to have your concerns brought into the public record.
Roy W. September 20, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Excuse me if this has already been covered, but what about the buses comming and going out of the NJ transit depot? As it is one frequently sees the busess waiting to come out or go in because of the traffic. Add that to the mix. NJ Transit should be raising some concerns.
Sheldon Cooper September 20, 2012 at 02:25 PM
hmmm interesting.
AML September 20, 2012 at 03:47 PM
Interesting facts about Ms. Dolan which would not have been allowed as evidence during last night’s ZB meeting as Mr. DelVecchio would have undoubtedly objected….. Project: Marriott Hotel comprising of 103 rooms + restaurant-Route 10 & Glacier Drive (residential), Parsippany-Troy Hills, Zoning Board, June, 2011 “We concluded that the project would not have negative impact on surrounding traffic.” Project: Chai Center, Millburn/Short Hills, Zoning Board, Millburn, Nov., 2010 John Lamb questioned Elizabeth Dolan as to the parking requirement if seating were added to the social hall for worship service & if she performed any review as to the adverse impact this house of worship would have on the Gamboni property. She indicated that she DID NOT do a review on the impact to the Gamboni property. (Guess that is part of her MO, not performing studies re traffic impact due to Houses of Worship). Mary McNett questioned Ms. Dolan about Exhibit A-22, a purported agreement between the Board of Ed & the Rabbi for parking spaces at the Middle School. It was determined that Exhibit A-22 was inaccurate & erroneous. The exhibit was withdrawn & a corrected exhibit will be made & displayed at the next meeting (Gee, the gross miscalculation of the square footage of the existing ShopRite by approx. half the footage-a criteria utilized for her analysis which needs to be modified).
AML September 20, 2012 at 03:48 PM
CONTINUED Project: Chai Center, Millburn/Short Hills, Zoning Board, Millburn, Nov., 2010 Mary McNett asked at what point a traffic signal would be recommended for the level of service on Old Short Hills Road at Parsonage Hill Road. Elizabeth Dolan stated that a recommendation would have to come from the police department. (Perhaps I did not sufficiently clean out the wax from my ears yesterday evening, as I thought I heard Mr. DelVecchio object to a resident asking Ms. Dolan if she thought that it would be beneficial for her to speak with the officer who directs traffic by the school…Mr. DelVecchio stated that the police officer is not an expert; however, regarding the Chai Center, Ms. Dolan informed the resident to talk to the police dept.). Thomas Singer questioned Ms. Dolan re the potential traffic overlaps of the Paper Mill Playhouse, the Middle School, & the proposed Chai Center. Ms. Dolan indicated that the peak times are staggered & did not feel there would be any traffic problems with events getting out at the same time. James Clark asked if any consideration had been given to the elderly or very young coming to a service & having to park at the Middle School & walk to the site. Ms. Dolan indicated that the elderly would have to arrive early in order to get a parking space on site.
AML September 20, 2012 at 03:49 PM
CONTINUED Birchwood Ave Site Plan Hearing/Hekemian/Cranford, Union County Courthouse, Aug. 2012 The second witness to testify was traffic expert Elizabeth Dolan. She explained that her firm conducted 2 surveys of the intersection of Birchwood Ave. at Orange Ave. One was conducted last July, when school was not in session, & the other, this past June, before the school year ended. (As a traffic “expert” why in the world would you conduct a survey when school was not in session?...makes you wonder!) According to the traffic impact study, the level of traffic on Birchwood Ave. IF THE PROPOSED 360 APARTMENT UNITS are constructed will be “ACCEPTABLE,” despite anticipated delays. She added that the traffic impact study shows that the DELAYS THAT WOULD ARISE ARE NOT SEVERE ENOUGH TO WARRANT A TRAFFIC SIGNAL (does Ms. Dolan have a phobia of traffic lights/signals?). She was then asked why the next intersection, Bloomingdale Ave. was not included in her study. Dolan said that the study was limited to the 2 “adjacent intersections.” I GUESS WE COULD HAVE INCLUDED BLOOMINGDALE AVE” SHE TESTIFIED. (well, excuse meeeeee! She is the “expert” traffic engineer & as an “expert” she guessed…she should have known better, you think?)
Frances Lando September 20, 2012 at 04:21 PM
All of you are so eloquent and well informed in your responses. I'll just write "she's nuts and obviously is does not live in the area." fml
Just the Facts September 20, 2012 at 06:20 PM
Ms. Barton, you are wrong. The current store is in fact 61,000 sf when you include the mezzanine and lower floor space, as is required by New Milford's zoning ordinance when calculating the size of retail space. Oops. In any event, if you listened to her testimony, the current store's size was only used to make a comparison of trips per 1000 sf vs what they are expecting at the proposed new store---it wasn't used at all in determining how many cars are to expected at the new store, which apparently is all governed by the ITE manual
Ulises September 20, 2012 at 06:31 PM
Here's what baffles me: The main entrance to this ShopRite strip mall complex is going to be on the intersection of River Road and Demerest Ave and they're adding left turn lanes to turn into the ShopRite complex and the other to turn onto Demerest Ave (River Rd, South bound direction). Demarest Ave. just became a main through street to get to the ShopRite from the Blvd, plus the didn't bother adding this additional through traffic to their traffic analysis. Plus, they don't think a traffic light is needed, nor a pedestrian a walkway, at the ShopRite complex entrance?????? Can you imagine the the amount of accidents and traffic if there was no traffic light by the Brookchester Strip mall on River Road??? This traffic expert, actually all their experts, are being paid to say this ShopRite complex is beneficial to the neighborhood, which is a bunch of BS. Please attend the next ZB meeting so you can hear the lies for yourself and tell our M&C what a big mistake they are making by rezoning this property from residential to commercial. SOD!
ewiseman September 20, 2012 at 08:04 PM
I am interested in knowing how the tractor trailers are going to negotiate these roads, and what roads they will be allowed to travel. They will not be allowed to travel on Demarest Ave will they?
AML September 20, 2012 at 08:27 PM
ewiseman, Please come to the next Zoning Board meeting on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7PM to ask your question. Please bring your neighbors too! It is very important for members of the public to voice their concerns as part of the public record. Since the traffic engineer works for the developer, she will obviously not make any negative statements, nor, will she take into consideration the reality of the situation. Just the same, we need your input/questions.
Sheldon Cooper September 20, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Be careful you don't just get what you're praying for. Bazinga!
Lori Barton September 21, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Just the facts: I called the tax assessor in New MIlford and asked how big the current ShopRite is. I was told 34,167 sq. ft. If the new store is calculated as you are saying, then I am certain it will be far in excess of 70,500 sq ft.
TommyIce September 22, 2012 at 02:14 AM
And yet again, everyone (the experts I mean) forgot about our SENIORS. They will now have to negotiate the increase traffic on Demarest while trying to access the parking lot of the Senior Center. A parking lot that can only be accessed by traveling Demarest Avenue. Oh, who's going to pave and maintain Demarest with all this increase in traffic? Will Prospect, Summit and Eagle Avenues have signs posted "NO THRU TRAFFIC"? Will there be No Left Turns allowed onto these streets from Main Street similar to the No Left Turns on Washington and Lenox Avenues to prevent cars from using them as shortcuts?
TommyIce September 22, 2012 at 05:25 PM
Roy, it's not just the buses. There are a very large number of PSE&G backhoes and oversize utility trucks that come from their garage located next to the NJ Transit garage. They use Main Street as their main thoroughfare too. Has anyone, other than a Heikemian hack completed a traffic study?

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