Conshohocken Revitalization Alliance Challenges Wawa Traffic Study

Yesterday the Conshohocken Revitalization Alliance sent out a press release and video disputing the traffic study submitted by Wawa.  Below is the full unedited text of the press release and the video.  The photo above was just to amuse me.

CONSHOHOCKEN, Pa.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–During the Conshohocken Planning Commission meeting Tuesday night, where Provco Pineville Fayette L.P. presented plans for the proposed development of a 24-hour diesel fuel Super Wawa in the borough, Traffic engineer Casey Moore, representing the developer, told a crowd of more than 100 residents and business owners that a Super Wawa in this location would only generate 7.5 percent more traffic than what the site currently experiences, and that, during morning and afternoon peak hours combined, it would only yield a total of 104 new vehicles. The Conshohocken Revitalization Alliance (CRA), a community group opposing the development, has released a video disputing these claims, which vividly illustrates how the proposed Super Wawa will likely increase traffic and congestion and pose safety threats.

The footage was gathered over a weeklong period from four 24-hour Wawas offering gas in Pottstown, West Chester, Center Square and Schwenksville. The video shows drivers’ confusion coming in and out of the parking lots, congested side streets and near-constant backups at traffic lights and stop signs. This congestion and erratic driving—and the accidents that come as a result—have been dubbed the “Wawa Effect” in an article by The News Journal about traffic studies being conducted by the University of Delaware as part of a larger, ongoing project for the Delaware Department of Transportation. The study, which is ongoing, suggests an increase in new traffic patterns and erratic driving surrounding convenience stores such as Wawa, citing U-turns, running red lights and increased accidents as a result of the influx of traffic coming and going from Wawas and other similar stores.

Residents present at the Planning Commission meeting challenged the traffic engineer’s claims that the proposed Super Wawa would operate largely on existing traffic patterns, drawing minimal new congestion to the areas and residential streets that surround the site. The traffic study, conducted by McMahon Transportation Planners, also failed to address the heavy truck traffic that is expected to frequent the store for deliveries and fuel, especially during night and early morning hours.

This increase in traffic is one of the main reasons more than 1,000 residents and business owners have opposed this development in the Borough of Conshohocken. More than seven hundred letters and petition signatures were mailed last week to Borough Council expressing the community’s opposition to the zoning text amendment Wawa submitted on October 23, 2012 for a 24-hour diesel fuel Super Wawa at the site of the inactive EF Moore Chevrolet dealership on Fayette Street. Currently, the location is a residential/office zone and is surrounded by residential streets, houses and youth sports fields.

The issue has divided the borough and its residents since it was first proposed in 2009 and, now that a Borough Council vote is in sight, residents and business owners are rallying the community for support. The Planning Commission will hold another public meeting to discuss the issue at 7:00 p.m. on January 22, 2013 before providing Borough Council with their decision on the development. Residents and business owners are encouraged to attend and offer their opinions on the proposed Super Wawa development.

So Conshy, do you think building the Wawa will have an adverse affect on traffic?