9 February 2022 BOS Meeting Summary
Newtown Gun Show, Walk-Friendly Newtown, Brixmor Shopping Center Traffic Study, North Sycamore Street Pedestrian Safety, Streaming Youtube Video for BOS Meetings, How to Spend American Rescue Funds, More...
This is my personal summary of the February 9, 2022, meeting of Newtown Township Board of Supervisors (BOS). This is not a complete nor an official summary. See my meeting notes for more details.
Access the 2022 BOS Voting Record (UNOFFICIAL).
- Public Comments - Comments on the Newtown Gun Show
- Reports of Committees, Boards and Commissions
- Engineer's Report
- Solicitor’s Report - Resolution designating all American Rescue Plan Funds as “lost revenue”
- Online Streaming of BOS Meetings
Resident Frank McCarron asked "Who Will Pay for Gun Show Security & Traffic Control?" He made other comments and suggestions. Afterward, Mr, John D'Aprile called him and other gun show commenters "cry babies." Watch the video clip below:
On February 2, 2022, at the invitation of Council member Amy Lustig, I attended a Newtown Borough Council Work Session at which Mr. Don Hayden presented a synopsis of a plan to for implementing a “Walk-Friendly Newtown” initiative. The objectives of the initiative include enhance pedestrian safety, improve walkability, and increase community engagement. A near-term goal is to contact Walk-Friendly Communities (WFC) Program to determine Newtown Borough eligibility.
It is my hope that Newtown Township can collaborate with the Borough to achieve an expended walk-friendly Newtown that includes N Sycamore St, which borders the Borough and receives many walkers from the Borough.
On February 3, 2022, the Newtown Zoning Hearing Board (ZHB) unanimously approved an application to allow 3 electric vehicle charging stations to be installed in in the LI District. An electric car charging station is not a use covered by the Newtown Area Joint Municipal Zoning Ordinance (JMZO). At the next Joint Zoning Council meeting, I hope to propose that the JZC consider creating a specific JMZO use for electric vehicle charging stations.
According to the township engineer's 25 Jan 2022 review of the traffic study, several intersections in the shopping center are experiencing significant delays, but we didn't a traffic study to know that! The study, however, quantifies the wait times.
According to the review, traffic at several intersections are experiencing significant delays:
- Comment 2: The intersection of Eagle Road at West Road operates at Overall LOS [Level of Service] F for the Saturday Peak period, with the eastbound approach having significant queuing and delays. Consider* mitigation factors to modify distribution within the site to improve the LOS for certain movements.
- Comment 3: The intersection of Eagle Road at Silo Drive operates at an overall intersection LOS F, with the northbound approach having significant queuing and delays. Consider* mitigation factors to modify distribution within the site to improve the LOS for certain movements.
- Comment 4: The intersection of Sycamore Street at Silo Drive operates at an overall intersection LOS E with the Eastbound approach of Silo Drive operating at LOS F, a v/c ratio of 0.95, and significant queuing problems at Saturday peaks. Consider* mitigation factors to modify distribution within the site to improve the LOS for certain movements.
Re: "Consider mitigation factors": I noted that the development agreement with Brixmor specifically states that “the DEVELOPER shall perform, at its sole cost and expense, a traffic study, and DEVELOPER shall install, at its sole cost and expense, those additional traffic improvements that DEVELOPER and TOWNSHIP mutually agree are necessary as a result of DEVELOPER’S traffic study." This is much stronger language than "consider."
Watch the video clip below in which Remington & Vernick Traffic Engineer Derrick Kennedy gave an update and answered questions pertaining the Brixmor Shopping Center traffic impact study and N Sycamore St pedestrian safety report:
According to the February 4, 2022, Engineering Report, with regard to N. Sycamore Street Pedestrian Safety concerns:
- Remington & Vernick Engineers (RVE) provided the Township with a Memorandum of recommendations for improvements on 1/11/2022
- RVE has performed site distance measurements at intersections along the corridor and is in the process of reviewing additional data provided by the Police Department.
- RVE is currently soliciting quotes in accordance with PA procurement laws to upgrade the lighting to brighter LED fixtures.* RVE is also performing a lighting analysis to review the brightness.
- RVE has also begun crash data analysis to pursue a reduction in the speed limit from 35 MPH to 25 MPH between Swamp Road and Durham Road.
One item NOT included in the report is the recommendation to install TS60-RRFB LED Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFBs). RRFBs are used to supplement warning signs at uncontrolled intersections or mid-block crosswalks.
*I had concerns about lighting: With regard to upgrading street lights on N Sycamore to brighter LED lights. Given the antique nature of the current street light fixtures, will this be possible? Also, will it be adequate? As opposed to standard, higher street lights such as those at the Jefferson Street intersection?
Watch the video clip above in which Remington & Vernick Traffic Engineer Derrick Kennedy gave an update and answered questions pertaining the N Sycamore St pedestrian safety report.
In line with recommendations from PSATS and GFOA, it is recommended the Board elect the entirety of the $2,049,842 Rescue Funds as lost revenue. This will allow for the greatest flexibility of expended use. This election should be made in advance of the Treasury report due from Newtown by April 31, 2022.
The Newtown Township staff has evaluated current capital needs with the strategy of maximizing effective use and life of proposed capital projects and equipment; maximizing public benefit; reducing current and future maintenance costs; and enhancing the services offered by Newtown Township. Here are a few of the items included in the staff "wish list":
- Vehicle Replacements for the Public Works and Police Department
- Facility Improvements - Administration/Public Works/Police
- Improvements to Helen Randle Park and Veteran's Park
- Upgrades to public meeting room A/V system
- Public Improvements: Sycamore Street, Additional Road Paving
- Contributions to Newtown Ambulance Squad and Newtown Fire Association
The supervisors authorized the township to implement Proposal #3 by Video Gold [for online streaming of Board of Supervisors meetings in the amount of $4,900. In addition, the township will provide an email address by which residents can submit questions/comments to the BOS in real time. These comments will be read out loud during the meeting and become part of the public record.
Embedded below are my notes that I prepared before the meeting. It includes questions and links to background information and other details. You can also download the PDF file.