ADAMS TWP — An engineering contractor continued his defense last Wednesday of a study that recommends no traffic modifications for a pending residential development.
More than 20 residents attended the latest hearing regarding plans for Amherst Village Phases 5 through 8, hearing more about the study and voicing their questions and concerns about the plan.
The initial hearing on these plans ended earlier last month with supervisors and residents expressing concern and skepticism about the traffic study’s findings. The report indicated the plans required no infrastructure upgrades or improvements to township roads.
At the end of that meeting, supervisors voted to extend the hearing to Jan. 30 for discussion of the traffic study only.
Josh Haydo, senior staff engineer for David E. Wooster and Associates, explained how he and his team put the study together, the methods they used and how they came to the conclusion that no infrastructure upgrades were needed to handle additional traffic that would be added by the plans.
Engineers studied the number of vehicles that passed through intersections that would be most affected by the plan at peak days and times and found that, at worst, the additional vehicles from the plan would result in minor delays, and would not exceed the amount allowed by the township’s ordinances.
The study also took into account the expected population growth of the area.
The developer hired Wooster and Associates to conduct the study, after which it was reviewed by engineers hired by the township, according to Robert Goetz, CEO of Trans Associates.
He said that after addressing some minor points with Wooster, he concurred with the findings and was confident that the study was conducted fairly and according to ordinance and industry standards.
Haydo cleared up some misconceptions, primarily that the traffic study does not take into account the condition of the road and whether the road is up to township code. The study is only concerned with the anticipated impact new traffic from the plan would have on existing intersections and motorists.
Supervisor Thomas Franceschina reminded the audience that road repairs and improvements could be made with the impact fees that developers pay to the township.
During public comment, several residents expressed concern that the plan would become a shortcut for surrounding areas to get to Route 228, thereby adding more traffic than the engineers expected.
Goetz said an analysis of the surrounding roads and speed limits showed that this was unlikely, as it would actually take motorists longer to go through the plan than taking the current route.
Others questioned why the plans had to connect Forsythe Road and Mars-Evans City Road, but the developer said this was to meet an ordinance requiring a certain number of entry points for the lots.
Resident Pete Martini asked if there was something that could be added to slow traffic and ensure children’s safety. Supervisor Russ Ford said police are willing to work with communities to set up speed readers to slow traffic. He encouraged residents to reach out to the police department when they have similar concerns.
The board of supervisors plans to vote on the conditional use and the planned residential development at its next hearing on Feb. 25. Franceschina noted that this is not final approval for the plan and that there is still a ways to go before plans are finalized.