INFORMATION

Blue Ball Properties Master Plan

Transportation Technical Committee

Meeting Report
Date: September 22, 1999
Location: Bellevue House
New Castle County, Delaware

Introduction/Opening Comments:

Chairman Gene Abbott of DelDOT welcomed everyone, reviewed the agenda and asked if there were any revisions to the meeting minutes from the August 16 or September 8 meetings. The availability of the committee notebook and its content was reviewed. Everyone was reminded to check the web site for current information.

The objectives of tonight's meeting included:

  1. The introduction of the preliminary roadway transportation concepts,
  2. The opportunity for committee members to review and ask questions about the concepts and
  3. To prepare the committee for the charrette exercise at the October 7 committee meeting.

Jim Lisa of DEDO asked the committee members to complete a committee data form which had been distributed as part of tonight's meeting materials. This information on the form will allow the study team to communicate more fully and frequently with each committee member.

Presentation:

Richard Bartholomew of WRT reviewed the overall project schedule indicating that the current work program was on-track as planned. Richard reviewed the upcoming committee charrette workshop on October 7 from 4:30 to 8:00 p.m. and the public open house meeting on October 13 at the Astra Zeneca cafeteria from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Bill Roberts of WRT introduced the team and provided an overview of key issues and objectives of the Master Plan for the Blue Ball Properties. He reviewed the existing development constraints on the site such as steep slopes, wetlands, Alopocas Run stream corridor, woodlands, and the areas necessary for conservation and stormwater management. The four primary parcels being evaluated for park and recreation use include;

  • alopocas parcel (west of US-202) 63 acres conservation easement area, 70 acres
  • rockland parcel (east of US-202), 89 acres existing golf course, 119 acres
These parcels total 339 acres.

Bill reviewed the preliminary wish-list of proposed land uses for the site;

Acres

  • expanded golf course, (net increase of 27 acres) 144.0
  • new 9 hole course 62.0
  • driving range 14.5
  • historic enclave 5.0
  • play fields 49.0
  • park circulation roads 27.0
  • new roadway improvements 10.0
  • library 5.0
  • sewer pump station 0.5
  • storm water management 18.0
  • conservation easement 70.0
  • miscellaneous conservation 26.0

These uses could total 431 acres, which is 92 acres more than the 339 available. The goal is to achieve a balance of future uses and develop facilities that give each land use advocacy group something of value. Bill described a of the site, which indicated a preliminary layout of the major land use areas.

Using a series of schematic diagrams overlaid on a of the project area, Richard Bartholomew presented the preliminary roadway concepts for the AstraZeneca triangle as well as the east and west park parcels. The presentation was organized into three sets of concepts;

  • Route 141 options x 6
  • Augustine cut-off options x 5
  • Foulk Road options x 2

Richard stated that these roadway options can be combined for a total of 60 potential combinations. However, due to incompatibilities between the groups of options, 37 could be eliminated leaving 23 for consideration at this time. Richard stressed that all these options are concepts and have not been subjected to traffic or engineering analysis to determine performance, feasibility or constructability.

Throughout and after the presentation, the following questions/comments were raised by the committee;

Questions/Answers/Comments:

Q. Is the greenway to go over or under US 202 and is it definitely going to cross in some grade-separated fashion?
A. Yes, the greenway will cross US 202 in a grade separated condition; however, it is not yet determined if it will be over or under US 202.
Comment: To enlarge the Porter reservoir, water storage can be achieved under the golf course or adjacent to it through the use of a water tower.
Comment: Rockland Road is the correct name, not Rock Hill Road.

Q. What will the jug handle look like that carries US 202 northbound to relocated Route 141?
A. For these concepts, it is presented as a multi-lane, at-grade jug handle which would cross US 202 through a signalized intersection. A grade-separation at US 202 has not been ruled out but it may not be feasible due to close proximity to the I-95 interchange ramps.

Q. Are copies of these schematics available?
A. Yes, we will have paper copies tonight and all information is on the web site.

Q. Can stormwater management be considered wetland mitigation?
A. This is not clear at this time. Although these two needs can function together, some permitting agencies may not allow stormwater management basin acreage to be counted as compensatory mitigation for wetlands.

Q. If Route 141 can operate as a two-way road, what is the advantage of making it a one-way road?
A. Although the traffic analysis has not been completed yet, it is generally true that a one-way road will allow the connecting intersection to operate more efficiently by reducing the time required by eliminating one signal phase.

Q. Have you completed intersection level of service?
A. No, it will be completed as soon as traffic count and O/D data is complete in November.

Q. Can the relocated Route 141 connect to US 202 further north, opposite the existing signal at Independence Mall?
A. This may be desirable from a traffic perspective; however, the alignment of 141 would reduce the land available to AstraZeneca for development. In addition, a new roadway crossing of Alopocas Run would impact wetlands in the corridor, requiring more area for compensatory mitigation on the western park parcel.

Q. If Route 141 can not be aligned as described, can the AstraZeneca access point be placed there?
A. Placing the Astra Zeneca across there would also create many of the same negative land use and wetland problems already described.

Q. Are the orange alignments on s smaller roads?
A. The Augustine cut-off options are all two lanes.

Q. What transportation or access problems are you trying to solve with all these 141 options?
A. The 141 options are primarily intended to provide additional access and capacity for the employee trips generated by AstraZeneca development. At the same time, bringing 141 to the south (along Rockland Road) provides a more direct connection to I-95.

Q. Will the future traffic generated by Anderson Consulting and the Friends School be considered?
A. Yes, traffic modeling will consider major traffic generators, both existing and future.

Q. What problem or need are you trying to address with the Augustine cut-off options?
A. This intersection is currently too close to the I-95 ramps and it has been an on-going issue for area residents and DelDOT for some time. At this point, we are trying to separate through and local traffic and reduce or eliminate left turns at US 202.
Comment: Elimination of left turns at US 202 and Augustine cut-off is a bad idea. It will send traffic over other local roads and create impacts on other neighborhoods.
Comment: Broom Street already has enough traffic.
Comment: Move the Augustine cut-off intersection with US 202 north to a point just north of the reservoir. This could be an at-grade crossing with a connection to Weldon Road to the east.
Comment: These local road options conflict with the goals of the park/recreation committee by using up land.
Comment: The US 202 Task Force recommended moving the barn. This option should be included in your plans.
Comment: Connect Rockland and Foulk Roads with an underpass under US 202.

Q. Why is there no option to leave the Augustine cut-off in its current condition?
A. Based on these discussions, we will consider it in the study.

Q. Didn't AstraZeneca previously want to eliminate 141 which divides their north parcel from the triangle?
A. This would have certain advantages for AstraZeneca by giving them more developable land and potentially an exclusive access point at the 141/US 202 intersection.
Comment: Option VI would adversely impact the quality of life for residents on Rockland Road north of 141 because it would direct traffic in that direction.

Q. When will any new options be evaluated?
A. Immediately.

Q. Why will you place all these options on the web for public consideration if some of them clearly don't work.
A. At this point, we are trying to give the public access to the earliest efforts of the study team. We know some of the options will not survive analysis and testing.

Q. Will signal timing and coordination on US 202 be considered?
A. Yes, US 202 will be subjected to extensive evaluation as part of our ITMS efforts.
Comment: The biggest traffic problem is the back up of traffic on US 202 trying to go west on 141.

Q. What is the objective of all this? What goals you are trying to achieve? It appears you are only trying to reduce impacts on intersections. Be aware that more roads will just generate more traffic.
A. The guiding principals are being used to guide the development of concepts and ultimately a limited number of alternatives. Trade off will have to be made as we balance competing goals and needs.
Comment: The Augustine cut-off has always been a safety issue, not a capacity issue. It is a dangerous intersection.

Q. You stated, "We don't think much of Option I concepts." Why? What criteria are you basing that opinion on?
A. The Option I concepts would create the most new roadway lanes and pavement. The traffic capacity of the system will be controlled by the intersections, not the roadway segments. Based on a very preliminary judgment, Option I may create more lanes than is necessary.
Comment: Residents of Rockland Road do not want it to connect to US 202 directly.
Comment: Weldon Road is currently being used as a cut-through to access AstraZeneca.
Comment: Many options seem to be based on convenient movement of traffic and access. Sometimes travel inconvenience has positive results by slowing traffic and improving the quality of life in residential areas.

Q. With Option V C.2, can we access 141 from relocated Foulk Road?
A. Yes, by traveling on US 202 to the north or south, depending on the option.
Comment: Sending traffic on US 202 south to new 141 will create new traffic problems.

Q. With Option VI, can the park use be expanded by giving AstraZeneca more land in the triangle?
A. Possibly, both directly and indirectly by freeing up land and reducing the need for larger stormwater management areas.
Comment: Option VI would create adverse impacts to other local east-west roads by diverting traffic to them.
Comment: Option VI would be preferred by Deerhurst residents because it reduces traffic and impacts on Murphy Road.
Comment: Please try to assure us that you will not build an interim solution and have to come back with grade-separated intersections at US 202.

Conclusion/Adjournment:

The committee concluded its discussions at 6:35 p.m. Gene Abbott reminded everyone that the next meeting is on October 7 at 4:30 until 8:00 p.m.