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7/30/2008
Analysis of Barley Mill Plaza (BMP) Proposed Redevelopment Transportation Impact

"Analysis of Barley Mill Plaza (BMP) Proposed Redevelopment Transportation Impact"

Analysis of Barley Mill Plaza (BMP) Proposed Redevelopment Transportation Impact   

Councilman Bob Weiner July 2008

                          
TRAFFIC ISSUES:
1) DelDOT TOA should analyze an expansive geographic area because resulting traffic will converge from a multi-state region. All of New Castle County will become a traffic juggernaut. Already bad traffic will become worse and lead to performance breakdown of intersections.
- Local roads and I-95 exits to 141 and 202 should be included because traffic will come from PA, NJ, and MD for tax free shopping, for workforce resource base (i.e. Ed Ratledge), and for delivery trucks bringing goods and supplies.
- Factor in proposals for MBNA (former Columbia Gas) site, Greenville Ctr. high-rise, and Concord Pike shopping center because they will all impact many of the same roads.
- Because DuPont is simply moving employees across the road, any traffic BMP proposal additional traffic load will be on top of volume already there.
2)   Make LOS D the standard for performance. Current traffic counts for nearby intersections are not available (they were last done between 1989 and 1999), but recent counts for  nearby SR 48 and Centreville Road intersection were LOS E and D during AM and PM peaks respectively.
- Use Transportation Research Board Highway Capacity Manual’s recommended procedures for checking against performance measures of safety, efficiency, mobility (time, speed, VMT, distribution), productivity, environmental measures, and cost.
- Incorporate goals of TMB project for 141 Boulevard Vision with transit, biking, and pedestrian connectivity.
- Establish carrying capacity of existing roads, anticipate growth in traffic without proposed developments and then simulate future traffic with them added to system.
- Provide for comprehensive transit component which will be essential to maintaining mobility throughout northern New Castle County and transporting commuters efficiently from far flung areas.
3) Some of the area’s roads are official state scenic byways that serve the Brandywine Valley and are not intended for system expansion.
4) Seek public input during TOA process since so many residents and commuters will be affected.
5) Delaware cannot afford to pay for regional transportation system expansion to support such massive development.

LAND USE ISSUES:     
1) Concurrency of storm water and traffic capacity is essential to preventing future disasters to systems.
2) Review downstream (i.e. Elsmere, DorJul Apts., flood history including 1989 major flood) impact of expanded development.
3) Project should not exceed 1 million square feet because current buildings are 40% vacant and traffic has not reached its peak with current size.
4) Even with project phasing, if the project ultimately reaches over 1 million square feet, the area will still experience gridlock based on current projections from WILMAPCO.
5) Regardless of existing zoning, project(s) should compliment surrounding residential and historic areas.
6) Development model for BMP should be encouraged that reduces VMT, not one that adds further traffic to already burdened system.
7) Development model should be encouraged which provides mostly residential that is complimented by local retail/office uses.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:
1) The proposed project will destroy the economy of Delaware because it will lead to travel time delays, lost productivity, and infrastructure deterioration. Delaware will gain a reputation as a state in gridlock and inefficiency.
2) BMP proposal would ruin one of the nation’s most recognized tourist destinations, the historic Brandywine Valley.
3) Recognize that unlike Christiana Mall, which is only 1 million sq. ft., BMP does not have immediate access to        major arterials and an interstate. SR 141 is not I-95.

Three million square feet is immense. It would more than equal the size of the entire King of Prussia Mall complex, which has 2.8 million square feet of gross leasable space (Forbes.com, 2007) and is one of the nation's largest malls.

The shear size of the proposed expansion would completely overwhelm the existing transportation infrastructure. It would draw workers and customers from throughout the region and from out of state. The proposed 731, 000 square feet of retail would attract out of state customers seeking tax free shopping.

Three million square feet of regional commercial should not be approached as a local transportation improvement project. Transportation studies should be comprehensive in scope, look beyond nearby intersections, and be done from a regional perspective.

The 141 corridor is mainly a commuter route for local and regional traffic. During the most recent Tyler McConnell Bridge expansion studies, it was well documented that SR141 attracts users from widespread outlying areas including Newark, Hockessin, and north Wilmington, and that the road is essentially a N-S bypass from I-95. Therefore, the transportation study should take into account traffic flowing onto SR141 from SR202 to Newport and I-95.

Realistically, all roads near the complex have undergone recent improvements and funding does not exist for further widening. Nearby 2-lane local roads are already backed up during peak hours. The 2-lane Tyler McConnell Bridge (TMB) is LOS F, but will not be widened in the near future and has been removed from the WILMAPCO Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) due to lack of funds. Congested Lancaster Pike into Wilmington has no room for expansion.

The SR141 corridor is currently being improved from Faulkland to Kirkwood Highway, and the 141/100 intersection was recently widened through the TMB process. No more expansion work is anticipated for this roadway. And, there is little ROW to add capacity.

According to WILMAPCO, the segment of SR141 from SR 48 to SR 52 is at 92 percent of achieving full capacity (43,000 vehicles per day) and on the threshold of reaching LOS E.  (It is now LOS D in this segment.) And, this is occurring when approximately 40% of the existing BMP buildings are vacant. If the full one million square feet were occupied, most likely SR 141 would reach LOS E today.  Four thousand (4,000) additional vehicles per day would reach LOS F (WILMAPCO).

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Latest News:
7/24/2018
  Councilman announces details of redevelopment at former AstraZeneca site
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  We are not developers: Under new ownership the DuPont Country Club will emphasize community
6/9/2018
  Bob Weiner Interview: Preserving & Repurposing Brandywine Hundred and Beaver Valley
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