Thursday, January 26, 2017

Getting the Big Traffic Picture

Is this the traffic future of the greater Pottstown area? Perhaps not, if a proposed regional traffic study can propose fixes for the worst intersections.

It's already a given that trying to drive down Swamp Pike in the morning means you will be sitting in traffic.

Will it soon be a given that similar traffic loads must be borne by thoroughfares like Pruss Hill and Middle Creek roads? Some might argue that's already true.

Officials like Ed Reitz, member of the Douglass (Mont.) Township Planning Agency, and Tom Troutman of the Lower Pottsgrove Planning Commission would be among them.

"Traffic on the back roads, like Pruss Hill Road, is bumper to bumper now, when it used to be you were lucky if you saw a car every half hour," Troutman told the Pottstown Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Committee Wednesday night.

"The back roads are getting slaughtered from these developments," seconded Reitz who, like Troutman, has had a hand in approving them.

But a regional traffic study that may get started as soon as July may not address those back roads -- at least not yet.

John Cover and Matthew Edmond from the Montgomery County Planning
Commission informed the regional planners Wednesday night that the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission -- more often referred to as the DVRPC -- sets aside $60,000 a year to do work in the greater Pottstown and would be happy to undertake the regional traffic study the planners want so desperately.

The questions at hand now, of course, are what should it look like? What should it look at? What questions should it answer?

Initially some of the planners began outlining some of the larger housing projects which gave birth to this newfound concern -- Sanatoga Green in Lower Pottsgrove; Town Center in New Hanover; the Zern tract in Douglass (Mont.).

But each of those will generate its own traffic study said Cover.

Why not use the DVRPC study to identify the intersections and areas which will suffer the most from increased traffic and have the study focus on and prioritize them?

After all, you may live in New Hanover, but if you want to get to Route 100, chances are you're going through Douglass, so an improvement there helps a New Hanover driver as much as one who lives in Douglass, he pointed out.

The planners agreed, particularly after he pointed out that if DVRPC will put $60,000 a year toward the effort, the plan built on the studies can be updated and more likely to get funding either from the state or President Trump's planned increase in infrastructure spending.

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