INFORMATION

Meeting Minutes

Blue Ball Intermediate Services

WRT Project #99-1775

Meeting: Transportation Technical Committee
Date: September 8, 1999
Location: Ronald McDonald House
Rockland Road
New Castle County, Delaware

Attendees:

Members in attendance:
Mr. Eugene Abbott, Hon. Richard Abbott, Mr. David Albert, Ms. Beverley Baxter, Mr. Jim Bayard, Mr. Rick Browne, Hon. Catherine A. Cloutier, Mr. Ernie Cragg, Mr. Tom DeSanto, Hon. David H. Ennis, Mr. Tom Ferry, Bobbie Harvey, Mr. Jim Higgins, Mr. David Hunt, Ms. Eleanor Kraak, Mr. Charles B. Manula, Mr. Richard Mayo, Mr. Joseph Mitchell, Mr. Earl Shaffer, Mr. Alex Taft, Mr. Wayne Takemoto, Ms. Gail Van Gilder, Hon. Robert Weiner, Ms. L. Heather Williams, Hon. Dallas Winslow, Mr. Joseph Wutka.

Members absent:
Hon. Myrna L. Bair, Ms. Karen Bengston, Mr. David Blankenship, Hon. Patricia M. Blevins, Mr. Daniel Bockover, Ms. Pam Cornforth, Mr. Henry Daum, Mr. Walt DelGiorno, Hon. Joseph G. DiPinto, Ms. Dee Durham, Mr. David English, Mr. Michael Hewitt, Mr. John Janowski, Ms. Gwenneth Kaminsky-Rivera, Ms. MaryAnn Kelly, Mr. Robert Kleinburd, Mr. William Krapf, Hon. Harris B. McDowell, III, Mr. William V. McGlinchey, Ms. Suzanne Moore, Mr. Thomas Noyes, Ms. Anita Puglisi, Hon. Roger P. Roy, Mr. Robert J. Skomorucha, Mr. Ben Smith, Hon. Wayne A. Smith, Hon. Liane M. Sorenson, Mr. Cash Srinivasan, Mr. Ken Turoczy, Hon. Robert J. Valihura, Jr.

Guests:
Mr. Richard Bartholomew, Mr. John Beckman, Mr. Mark Chura, Mr. Bert Cossaboon, Mr. Bruce J. DiVincenzo, Mr. Anthony S. Felicia, Mr. Greg Lavelle, Mr. James P. Lisa, Jr., Mr. Alan Pain, Mr. Jim Parks, Mr. Thomas Quinn, Mr. John Rautzahato, Mr. John S. Riley, Mr. Bill Roberts, Mr. Mitsuru Tanaka.

  1. Meeting Objective
    The meeting began with a discussion of the objective for the meeting by Gene Abbott. He briefly reviewed the background of the Master Plan and noted that this meeting would set the stage for the next two meetings during which alternative transportation concepts will be developed.

    The Master Plan web site has been established at www.blueball.net. It contains comprehensive information about the project in the following categories:
    • Recreation and Historic Preservation Technical Committee
    • Transportation Technical Committee
    • Agendas and Minutes
    • s and Plans
    • Publications
    • News
    • Contacts
    • Calendar
  2. August 16, 1999 Meeting Summary
    Mr. Abbott summarized the meeting (minutes are available on the web site).
  3. Guiding Principles for Transportation Decision Making
    The Committee will be guided by the following principles:
    • No level of service degradation.
    • Minimize impact on the local street system.
    • The park, transportation, and Blue Ball properties' developments are linked and need to progress together.
    • Minimizing environmental impact, including cultural resources, natural resources, and aesthetics, is central to the overall project.
    • Keeping the project on schedule is critical to the success of the project.
    The preliminary transportation goals were discussed and the Committee agreed on the following working list:
    • Transportation improvements should address three factors:
      • Community needs
      • Access and circulation requirements of the new park
      • The need to support new economic development.
    • Solutions that minimize the consumption of land for roadways are preferred. Park advocates would like minimum taking of the park site for roadway improvements. AstraZeneca would like minimum impact on their site size from the roadway improvements.
    • Regional traffic impacts on local residential streets should be minimized.
    • Widening Rockland, Weldin, Foulk, or Murphy Roads (or increasing traffic volumes) is not desirable from the standpoint of the users located on these roads.
    • Historic structures in the vicinity of Rockland Road and 202 should be considered.
    • Weldin Road should be relocated to provide access to the park and the most efficient use of land.
    • The current function of the Augustine Cut-off should be addressed in all alternatives.
    • Roadway aesthetics are important; solutions should establish appropriate standards for planting, signage, dimensions and other landscape elements.
    Several further issues and ideas were raised as follows:
    • The idea of linking I-95 and 141 to keep through traffic off local streets was raised.
    • Encouraging High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes and transit were offered as methods to help maintain existing levels of service.
    • The preliminary Traffic Impact Study for the AstraZeneca project will be available in approximately two weeks. It will begin to provide recent hard data.
    • Maintenance and/or improvement of emergency vehicle access to the A. I. DuPont Institute was raised as an issue. It was noted that the current 202 Safety Improvement Project will provide a dedicated left turn lane on 202 northbound for emergency vehicles to access the hospital from 202 to Rockland Road. This can be considered a temporary solution until the transportation improvements associated with the AstraZeneca and park projects are implemented.
    • It was noted that the "choke point" at the Brandywine Bridge will be addressed through a design process in the near future. This will establish the size and capacity parameters of the bridge.
    • David Hunt from the Mayor of Wilmington's Office for Transportation stated that he was pleased to attend this meeting and would continue to participate in this important project. He noted that the City is working to improve the corridor connections between the City and the region and plans to coordinate with this effort.
  4. Schedule
    The draft schedule has been updated to reflect current understanding of data availability, regulatory requirements, and implementation goals. The schedule (included in the Town Meeting presentation of September 8, 1999 on the www.blueball.net web site) coordinates park planning with planning of transportation improvements and site and development planning by AstraZeneca. Transportation planning will follow Federal Highway Administration requirements. These include development and analysis of a variety of alternatives. Alternatives will be retained for examination unless they display a "fatal flaw" that clearly renders them infeasible.

    Origin/destination data will become available in early December and intersection and corridor data in early March 2000. The dates of data availability partially drive the schedule. Preliminary concepts will be developed in advance of detailed data using available information. These will illustrate general movements and circulation concepts that will be reviewed at the September 22, 1999 Technical Committee meetings. They will go through multiple cycles of review and modification over the succeeding months. The preferred transportation alternative will be selected at about the beginning of April 2000. The evaluation of the preferred, and other considered alternatives, will be documented in an Environmental Assessment report to be finalized in early summer 2000. Part of the transportation planning process includes, in addition to the Technical Committee meetings, Open Houses on October 13, 1999 and January 10, 2000. A Hearing will be conducted on April 10, 2000.

    Park planning will be coordinated with transportation planning with concept plans developed and assessed through mid-December 1999. At that time, detailed site surveys will become available documenting precise boundaries and topography. These will be necessary to proceed to more detailed master planning which will take place through early April 2000 to coincide with transportation planning. Park and transportation planning are highly interdependent. Location, character, and size of transportation improvements have an impact upon park land as do the program and design of park uses upon land availability for transportation improvements. The State's commitment to high quality design will drive the process of concept generation, evaluation, trade-off assessment and final planning and design. The park Master Plan will be prepared by mid-April 2000. The size and type of improvements proposed will determine the submissions necessary under the New Castle County Unified Development Code.

    The Master Plan schedule and process include substantial and significant public involvement. The two technical committees are anticipated to meet at least twice per month through October and approximately every three weeks thereafter. Committee membership is wide and representative and the public is invited to attend all of these meetings. A Town Meeting is scheduled every month throughout the duration of the process. In addition, newsletters will be distributed and a web site has been established to enable as many citizens as possible to stay current with the project and contribute their perceptions and ideas.

  5. Transportation Approach
    Existing conditions and problems include the following:
    • General increases in traffic volumes between the mid 1980's and mid 1990's (with some exceptions) as documented in handout s based upon most recent data.
    • The origin-destination study started inn August with approximately 12,800 cards handed out.
    • Additional data will be provided through analysis of videotapes of license plates and follow-up questionnaires.
    • Transit and rideshare information will also be gathered as well as all other available data.
    • The preliminary AstraZeneca Traffic Impact Study data will be available in approximately two weeks.
    The team explained the different levels of service (LOS A through F) used to describe travel congestion conditions. LOS are the benchmarks used to indicate ease of travel. The team also demonstrated a computer simulation program that will be used in the planning process to illustrate different traffic conditions and the effect of different assumptions concerning volume, turning movements, etc.

    The team anticipates exploring the universe of applicable transportation improvements to meet the Committee's goals. These will include at least the following:

    • Transportation Management - these techniques make the most efficient use of existing transportation infrastructure. They include measures such as signal coordination and others.
    • Transportation demand Management - these techniques (including rideshare, car pool, staggered work hours and others) increase the utilization of transportation vehicles.
    • Transit use will be explored. This may take the form of buses, jitneys, fixed rail, automated people mover or possibly a transit hub in the triangle. A fixed rail automated people mover between the Amtrak northeast corridor and the DuPont Experimental Station was suggested as a specific possibility. This idea will be followed up on with more detail at a subsequent meeting.
    • It was noted that the long term effectiveness of these measures can only be assured through a program of monitoring and enforcement. It was suggested that DelDOT and/or a Transportation Management Association be given the responsibility and authority to accomplish this. It was noted that Zeneca took the lead in this area some years ago and that AstraZeneca has offered to become involved again.
    • Roadway improvements to be considered will include at least new corridor on the south side of the "triangle," 141 options both in the current right-of-way and new right-of-way, options for the Augustine cut-of, Foulk Road, and changing the design and posted speed limits.
  6. Workshop Questions and Answers
    Additional ideas offered at the meeting included the following:
    • There may be ways other than more roadway improvement to address congestion and these should be developed and evaluated.
    • Discussions of transit should be raised at a subregional level because the issues and financing are of greater scale than this relatively small area.
    • All ideas will be addressed at least a conceptual and evaluated with the principles and goals.
  7. Next Steps
    The next Transportation Technical Committee meeting will be held at the Ronald McDonald House on September 22, 1999. The purpose of the meeting will be to take the working documents from today and discuss and refine them.