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Traffic Impact of United Water Development

Hekemian expert speaks to proposed development's impact on traffic.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Dolan, a traffic engineer hired by Hekemian to analyze the traffic impact and trip generation of the proposed development of the United Water property, appeared before the zoning board of adjustment Tuesday to provide testimony on the traffic study she prepared for the proposed site. 

The analysis, prepared by her firm, Dolan & Dean Consulting Engineers LLC of Martinsville, assesses the existing infrastructure in the vicinity of the site, identifies existing traffic patterns, and projects future traffic volumes. Also included in the analysis is an assessment of future roadway and intersection conditions surrounding the site of the proposed development.

The focus of Dolan's testimony was on her analysis of River Road in the area of and the intersections of River Road, Cecchino Drive and Main Street, and Madison Avenue and Cecchino Drive and Main Street and studied over the course of one year. Dolan relied on established traffic patterns and trip generations published by the Institute of Traffic Engineering (ITE) in preparing her analysis. 

According to Dolan, the traffic estimates she relied upon in the preparation of her analysis were obtained through ITE's supermarket land use category, along with ITE's category for drive-thru banks and for apartments where estimates of trip generations for land uses the size and scope of the proposed development are available.  

In addition to using those estimates, Dolan also studied current traffic patterns along River Road in the vacinity of the high school at the following hours during the month of September 2011 and February, March and April 2012:

  • Monday through Friday 7am-9am;  2pm to 4pm; and 4pm to 6pm.
  • 1pm to 2pm Saturday

Dolan looked at the following peak hours during the week:

  • 7pm to  9pm summarized peak hour at each intersection
  • 2pm to 4pm 
  • 4pm to 6pm

Dolan also looked at Saturday from 11am to 2pm.

The study determined that with the addition of traffic generated by the proposed development, the levels of service and delay for the River Road, Cecchino Drive and the Madison Avenue intersections will not cause any change in service. It was determined that all approaches will operate at "acceptable levels of service or better with the addition of site traffic." 

Dolan indicated in her testimony that the combination of existing street volume and site generated traffic is "not that high." She also said that because the plans call for more than one ingress and egress site -- there will be two on River Road, one on Main Street and one on Madison Avenue -- the traffic will not be forced through any one exit. With no individual driveway being burdened, she said that there will not be any disruption in the flow of traffic.

According to the study, peak hour traffic counts were conducted during anticipated peak periods of the proposed development's operation. Based on the proposed retail and residential uses of the site, the study anticipates that peak driveway activity will be during weekday mornings and evenings, and midday Saturday.

Because New Milford High School is situated adjacent to the proposed development, additional traffic counts were performed to identify peak volumes involving school traffic.  

Based on her study, Dolan said that although there would be an increase in traffic with development, there would be no real increase in pedestrian traffic.

Regarding parking, the number of spots for the residential portion of the proposed development (428) exceeds the number required by the borough's ordinance (426). The parking spots allotted for the proposed supermarket do not meet the number of spots required by the borough's ordinance -- one parking spot for every 150 square feet of commercial space.

However, Dolan suggested that this formula is high for retail space; in her experience the formula is typically four to five parking spaces for every 1000 square feet of building area, which is approximately one spot for every 200 square feet. 

Dolan said that even though the number of parking spaces being proposed for the supermarket does not meet the borough ordinance, it is consistent with other land use applications of this type and exceeds the current supermarket demand.

Dolan said that she had made some revisions to her initial report that she will provide to the board at a later date. 

TommyIce August 16, 2012 at 09:59 PM
Not only an inconvenience, they are most likely illegal. Check with the state DOT if the boro received approval for them. If not, the are not enforceable.
Barbara August 16, 2012 at 11:43 PM
People can say anything they want. Simple common sense tells us this expert is skewing the truth.
Frances Lando August 17, 2012 at 12:37 AM
Seriously????? This was said with a straight face??
Paige August 17, 2012 at 02:01 AM
Too bad you can not go to Shoprite and ask for their Tuesday sales figures and staffing levels. They also said that Dolan relied on established traffic patterns and trip generations published by the Institute of Traffic Engineering (ITE). On the (ITE) website it clearly states: "To produce this valuable reference, ITE relies on the voluntary submittal of data from the transportation community." Voluntary submittal - kind of like Wikipedia. My children can not use Wikipedia as a reference in their school reports because it is based on this type of voluntary submittal. Interesting that an expert can rely on that as basis for her expert analysis.
miriam pickett August 17, 2012 at 02:28 AM
Getting experts costs money. If you are against this application and want to see it defeated, go to www.sodnow.org and make a contribution so that we can hire the experts we will need to win this battle.

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