PennDOT Defends Arcadia U-Turn Option
On September 9, 2021, Francis Hanney, Senior Manager - Traffic Services Division/ADA Coordinator at PA Department of Transportation (PennDOT) - hosted an online meeting with residents to discuss road improvements to facilitate access and egress to the proposed Arcadia Green development at the intersection of Newtown Bypass and Buck Road.
At least 4 options with variations have been proposed by the developer and by residents in the neighboring communities. For an explanation of the options, read "Controversy Regarding Proposed Arcadia Newtown U-Turn Option."
In this 21-minute audio snippet from that meeting, Mr. Hanney explains why he is opposed to all the options other than the U-turn option at Mill Pond Road. He also discusses criteria that must be met before the limited access restrictions on the Bypass may be lifted.
Mr. Hanney also said that under the U-turn option trucks will continue to be prohibited from making U-turns. Thus, any truck traffic through Mill Pond Road will be the same as it is today. Of course, there may be additional trucks servicing the new development.
Lifting Limited Access to the Bypass Restrictions
Mr. Hanney explained that there was a "series of eight different criteria that had to be met" before the limited access restrictions of the Newtown Bypass could be lifted. One of these was that it allows connection to a major thoroughfare such as Swamp Road that provides a "community-wide benefit" (see image below).
Mr. Hanney explained that Aracadia's plan for access to the Bypass, which is essentially an "individual driveway to serve an individual development, does not meet a single one of those criteria."
I asked about the Bypass entrance to and exit from a parking lot at the Caldwell Banker buidling at the intersection of Lindenhurst Road and the Byspass (see image below). This looks very much like an "individual driveway that serves an individual development." Mr. Hanney noted that this provides a connection between Lindenhurst Road and Newtown Bypass via Brandywine Blvd.
It appears to me that "Brandywine Blvd" hardly qualifies as a connection to a major thoroughfaret hat provides a "community-wide benefit." I think it provides a benefit to Caldwell Banker and other businesses that use the parking lot. I don't see drivers using this torturous path through a parking lot to get to the Bypass! But as Mr. Hanney himself said at one point, there may have been "back room" deals made long ago.
Mr. Hanney offered a more detailed summary of PennDOT's rationale for the above position in a September 16, 2021, letter sent to the Township and participants. The letter responds to the community's concerns and clarifies why certain alternatives are not acceptable and provides additional information about each alternative and reasons for why it is or is not acceptable.
Mr. Hanney hopes this response is understandable by lay-people so that they might better understand and accept PennDOT's position. He also implored the community associations to work with Mr. Duckworth to reach a solution to the access issues, including re-looking at the Millpond connection (which would cut through Eagle Ridge property and which is strictly prohibited by the settlement agreement) and what could be done by Arcadia to mitigate the communities' "various concerns."