Friday, December 2, 2016

Regional Traffic/School Impacts are Cumulative

Photos by Evan Brandt
Montgomery County Planner Donna Fabry outlines aspects of the New Hanover Town Center proposal, involving more than 200 acres and more than 750 homes, during Thursday's meeting of the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee. 

Whether its the number of children packing a classroom or the number of cars jamming Route 73, the cumulative impact of impending residential development is something planners should examine regionally, not on a town by town basis.

That was the apparent consensus among regional planners Thursday as they considered not only the traffic impact of a proposal to build more than 750 new homes in New Hanover Township, but also the cumulative effect when combined with projects in neighboring towns.

A proposal to have the Montgomery County Planning Commission contact the Delaware Valley Planning Commission and consider the implementation of a regional traffic study -- as a way to gain leverage to force intersection and road improvements -- passed unanimously.
New Hanover Township Supervisors Chairman Phil Agliano
outlines the specifics of the proposed Town Center plan.

And although no vote was taken Thursday night, two members of the Boyertown Area School Board -- John Landino and Clay Breece -- said the building projects proposed in New Hanover and Douglass (Mont.) townships will have an impact on the school system as well.

"Nobody wants to build a new school," Landino told this blogger. "And every parent wants their child to go to the local school."

Boyertown has held off on a re-districting proposal for elementary schools, Landinso said, but noted that all of the growth in the district -- which incorporates part of two counties -- is on the Montgomery County side.

"The Berks side is not growing," Landino said. "So we keep pushing everybody (students) west."

In addition to the impact of Boyertown schools, the traffic these new residential projects in Lower Pottsgrove, New Hanover and Douglass, "will all be funneled ultimately to Route 100 and Route 422, after turning Route 73 into more of a parking lot than it already is, the planners observed.

Which is why they agreed, once again, to pursue the idea of a regional traffic study as a way to measure and hopefully, mitigate the impact of all the residential development.

And here are the Tweets from the meeting.

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