During the June 1st meeting of Conshohocken’s Borough Council, there was a presentation on the Spring Mill Area Multi-Modal and Land Use Study that was undertaken by Whitemarsh Township.
During the presentation, Whitemarsh Township’s consultant shared that the study initially was focused on traffic on Washington Street, but it was expanded to include land use (see MoreThanTheCurve.com’s recent article on a push for transit-oriented development along North Lane).
Members of Conshohocken’s borough council were clearly focused on what the study recommended as it pertained to Washington Street and traffic. Leaders in Conshohocken are concerned that the future residents of the apartments and townhouses currently planned for the riverfront in Whitemarsh can only reach and exit the riverfront by traveling through the Borough of Conshohocken.
If you are not familiar with Washington Street, it runs along the length of the riverfront in the Borough of Conshohocken and into Whitemarsh Township to the Spring Mill Train Station. However, the Whitemarsh portion is mostly inaccessible. Just below the Hines Rowing Center, there is a fence blocking it off.
The Borough of Conshohocken also has had a closed portion of the street, but there is a plan underway to open the street with the completion of the new Conshohocken Train Station that move to just above Oak Street, a new crossing over the railroad tracks at Oak Street, the Matson Mill apartment community, and a SEPTA parking garage.
With a wave of redevelopment (apartments and townhouses) set for along the Schuylkill River in Whitemarsh Township, the study looked at how to extend Washington Street to Lee Street. However, there is a major problem. The David’s Bridal building was built close to the railroad tracks and there isn’t enough space (just 12 feet) to extend Washington Street to allow for two-way traffic.
During the presentation before Conshohocken’s borough council, two possibilities were detailed for how to open Washington Street to allow for a connection with the railroad crossings at Lee Street and effectively East North Lane/Station Avenue.
Under the current condition (the building being too close for the tracks for two-way traffic), the study recommends a system to allow traffic from each direction to pass through the narrow roadway using a system of lights that control the flow of traffic.
The study also makes the case that Whitemarsh Township should make it a goal to obtain the David’s Bridal property and knock down the building (and parking garage). In addition to allowing for proper two-way traffic, the land could be used for recreational purposes or be redeveloped to be more aligned with the neighboring properties.
So what does David’s Bridal think about all of this? According to what was said during the presentation, they participated in the study, however, the company is not currently interested in selling or knocking down even a portion of the building.
Does all of this sound familiar?
If you are an avid reader of MoreThanTheCurve.com, you will remember that we came up with essentially the same plan in 2017. That isn’t because we had some special insight. It is because what needs to be done is self-evident.
The study is on the June 9th agenda for Whitemarsh Township’s Board of Supervisors. The supervisors will consider adopting it as an amendment to its comprehensive plan.
You can read the full study here.