Over 30 people crowded into the Dixon House of St. Paul’s Church to discuss the traffic impact of development slated for 8200 Germantown Ave. The traffic, transportation and parking committee of the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA) organized a public meeting on Monday to help residents further understand the traffic impact of the proposed site.
What’s being built
The developers of the project, Bowman Properties, have proposed a plan to build a Fresh Market grocery store where the Margarity Ford dealership was located. In addition to the grocery store, there will be several storefronts along Germantown Avenue, 14 condo units above the grocery store and 9 townhouses along Shawnee Street. The potential influx of traffic and parking has some neighbors concerned.
Debra Ferraro, of Pennoni Associates—a traffic-consulting firm working with Bowman Properties—held a thorough PowerPoint presentation detailing the results of a study that Pennoni conducted during May.
In the study, Ferraro calculated the traffic pattern from Highland Lane to Willow Grove Avenue within the Germantown Avenue corridor. Ferraro recommended that the westbound one-way street of Hartwell Lane, which runs adjacent to the proposed site, be reversed to an eastbound one-way street that will direct traffic onto Germantown Avenue rather than through residential streets such as Shawnee Street. This would help cut down on traffic in residential neighborhoods.
The peak traffic periods on the adjacent roadways are morning (7:00 am to 9:00 am), late afternoon (4:00 pm to 6:00 pm) and a mid-day peak on Saturday (11:00 am to 1:00 pm). Ferraro said that by reversing the direction of Hartwell Lane and adding a traffic signal at the corner of Hartwell Lane will have a very small impact on the waiting time for motorists.
Following the presentation, residents were given the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Several residents along Hartwell Lane and the adjacent streets were present and expressed concern for the amount of traffic that will soon be taking over their streets.
“The results show very little impact (on traffic), a key point to that result would be the changing of traffic on Hartwell Lane…that comes at a cost, a larger inconvenience to the whole neighborhood,” said Tom Beck, of the 8300 block of Shawnee St.
Revitalizing Germantown Ave.
Bowman Properties owner Richard Snowden was present as well, and pointed out that there are many vacant storefronts along Germantown Avenue. For the community to continue to thrive, that is something that needs to change, and this project, slated for completion by 2013, is a prime opportunity to inject some much-needed vitality into the community.
“This development is something that gets us there. We are looking at stagnation otherwise,” Snowden said.