INFORMATION

Transportation Technical Committee Meeting Minutes

Blue Ball Development

Meeting: Transportation Technical Committee
Date: November 3, 1999
Location: Bellevue House, New Castle County, Delaware

  1. Introduction
    Gene Abbott of the Delaware Department of Transportation welcomed attendees and reviewed the goal of the meeting. That is to make progress toward selecting a limited number of best transportation options for selection of a preferred option at the December 15 Technical Committee meeting. He noted that the consultant team had taken input from the Joint Committee Charrette, the Open House and other public comment to understand and incorporate the public's concerns into the planning process. He also reminded the Committee that the traffic analysis has just begun to become available. The first runs of the model only became available a few hours before the meeting. While they could not be incorporated into the meeting, they will be critical to advancing the process at the next Technical Committee meeting on December 1 and 15, 1999.
  2. Review of Transportation Planning to Date
    Richard Bartholomew of Wallace Roberts & Todd made a PowerPoint presentation documenting the work the team and Committee had done to reduce the alternatives from a very large universe to the relatively small number remaining as viable alternatives. Highlights of the presentation are on the calendar.

    Review of Previous Roadway Concepts
    • Conceptual
    • Preliminary
    • Not Subjected to Traffic Analysis
    (Some of these may not work!)
    • All Must be Considered in Relation to Transit
    Defining the Options

    Options Related to Principal Roadways
    • Route 141 Options
    • Augustine Cut-Off Options
    • Foulk Road Options
    Other Options
    • Weldin Road
    • Rockland Road
    • Greenway Connection
    • Park Circulation
    Committee Meeting of September 22, 1999
    • Six Route 141 Options (I to VI)
    • Five Augustine Cut-Off Options (A to E)
    • Two Foulk road Options (1 and 2)
    Sixty Combinations; 23 identified for further consideration.

    Input from Meeting of September 22,1999
    • Added Option VII for Route 141
    • Redefined Option I for Augustine Cut-Off (No change)
    • Added Option CC for Augustine Cut-Off
    • Added Underpass as option to jug handle for 141 Options
    Charrette of October 6, 1999
    • Seven Route 141 Options (I to VII)
    • Six Augustine Cut-Off Options (A to E, including CC)
    • Two Foulk Road Options (1 and 2)
    Eighty-Four Combinations: 14 identified as "most promising."

    Input from Charrette of October 6, 1999
    • Add two variations on Option V (widening Rockland Road)
    • Added two more options for Foulk Road
      • Option 3 connected Foulk Road to Concord Pike with Underpass
      • Option 4 connected Foulk Road with Alternate 141 with grade-separated intersection
    Open House of October 13, 1999
    • Seven Route 141 Options (I to VII) (nine if counting Rockland Road variations)
    • Six Augustine Cut-Off Options (A to E, including CC)
    • Four Foulk Road Options (1 and 2)
    252 Combinations: 19 identified as "most promising."

    Open House of October 13, 1999
    • Circulation Plans from the Eight Charrette Teams
    • Three other options submitted by individual citizens or groups.
    Key Conclusions
    • Alternative Roadway Concepts can be grouped into "families" of concepts related to options for Route 141. (i.e., I through VII).
    • Only one "family" of such options was discarded prior to testing:
      • Option VII, due to unacceptable reduction of AZ site.
    • Traffic Testing is critical to narrow the remaining options.
    • Function of intersections on Concord Pike is critical to traffic.
    PRELIMINARY FINDINGS BY McCORMICK, TAYLOR & ASSOCIATES
    • At-grade Concord Pike/Foulk Intersection Does Not Work. (Grade-separated intersection needed for all options.)
    • All left turns from Concord Pike to Route 141 at Murphy Road Intersection Does Not Work. (Options III and IV for Route 141 were dismissed.)
    • Option II was dismissed due to need for large interchange at Foulk Road and circuitous route for eastbound traffic on 141.
    • Left turns at Augustine Cut-Off/Concord Pike Intersection Do Not Work due to projected traffic volumes on Route 202.
    PRELIMINARY CONCLUSIONS
    • Focus Analysis on Options I, V and VI for Route 141.
    • Focus on Grade-Separated Solutions at Concord Pike/Foulk Road.
    • Eliminate left turns and signal at Augustine Cut-Off/Concord Pike Intersection.
  3. Current Transportation Options
    Barry Schoch, from McCormick Taylor, presented the current transportation options. These are based upon the Committee work to date and the first runs of the modeling based upon existing data and the preliminary Traffic Impact Statement prepared for the AstraZeneca project. He noted that data will be posted to the project web site (www.blueball.net) as it becomes available.

    Barry distributed a series of diagrams describing four roadway options. The options focus on the regional movements only. He noted that the Recreation/Historic Committee will set the priorities for local and park road alignments. They were illustrated on the diagrams as dashed lines to indicate their flexibility.

    The following are highlights of the presentation and discussion that followed.
    • Committee members asked for information regarding the model and its assumptions. The following points were made in response:
      1. 1996 is used as the comparison year to apply the no degradation of service test. This is the data used in agreements reached with AZ and is the best data currently available. It is understood that, as traffic volumes have increased since then, it is a conservative test. It is further understood that degradation is an average of movements and can be measured in terms of length of delay. For example, the same level of service F may be applied to two intersections with delays over 80 seconds while one could have delays of 81 seconds on average while the other has delays of hundreds of seconds. The letter designation may not be as informative as estimates of delay time.
      2. The first look at the numbers seems to indicate that there will not be service degradation to the year 2007 which is AZ's target for completion of their first and largest phase.
      3. The model will be using WilCO data for the periods 2002, 2007, 2010 and 2020. The data and model extend well beyond the immediate area to the entire peninsula.
      4. The Tyler McConnel Bridge is modeled with four lanes of traffic because it seems a reasonable assumption that the bridge will be improved to that level within the modeling period. The AZ model is based on two lanes at the bridge so they can be compared for effect.
    Option One Discussion
    • A question was raised about the options for connecting Augustine Cut-Off to northbound 202. It was noted that this movement accommodates approximately 600 to 800 vehicles/peak hour. Taking the road west of 202 and connecting to Alternative 141/Rockland Road is an option (perhaps with an underpass under 202 to the east side), but one that may take considerable park land. It was noted that the Recreation/Historic Committee is developing r3ecreational options and that will be blended with transportation options to produce the best net result.
    • A question was raised regarding the possibility of a grade separated Augustine Cut-Off entrance to 202 northbound. At first blush it appears that the confluence of the off ramps from I-95, northbound Concord Pike and the Porter Reservoir may make it extremely difficult to design a workable option. Nevertheless, the team will investigate the desire to bring Augustine Cut-Off traffic the northbound 202 at approximately the location of the current signal. It was pointed out that the Committee previously alerted the team to the safety and congestion issues derived from the current Augustine Cut-Off configuration.
    • It was suggested that southbound 202 to southbound Augustine Cut-Off traffic could be brought to t "T" intersection with a new Augustine access road west of 202 to reduce speeding and improve safety.
    • A question was raised regarding potential impacts of major traffic movement changes on local roads. It was noted that detailed analysis and design could take place once the major system of regional movements is developed. It is clear that any change will, by definition, change the flow of traffic from its current pattern. The team committed to being very mindful of these effects and bringing them into the analysis.
    • It was noted that the Rockland Road option might not be the best from a traffic number perspective but that it will be carried forward through the next stage of analysis. It was further noted that four of the eight Charrette work teams recommended a version of this option.
    Option Two Discussion
    • Compared to option one, this option will likely consume somewhat less land and be less expensive to build.
    • It was noted that the options require southbound 202 traffic wishing to go north on Foulk Road to use Murphy Road. While none of the options permits this movement, the Committee directed the team to study options for accommodating it.
    • A question was raised regarding numbers of lanes shown on the option diagrams. It was noted that they are guesses pending results of the model runs and are thus subject to change.
    • It was suggested that right turns from Murphy Road to northbound 202 should be accommodated with a separate lane.
    • A question was raised regarding the necessity and impact on AZ land of a separate ramp to accommodate southbound 202 traffic turning right on Rockland Road. It was noted that this may not be necessary and, like the other details, is subject to change when the modeling results are available.
    • A question was raised regarding the elevations of the roads and whether overpasses could be utilized. It was noted that the existing grades work well with underpasses and that overpasses south of Foulk Road would fight against the hill and raising elevations. It was also noted that there may be considerable granite close to the surface and that this condition could have a significant effect upon construction costs.
    Options Three and Four Discussion
    These options were discussed together because they have many similarities. They are essentially half-cloverleaf intersections at Foulk Road. Option three has Rockland Road/Alternative 141 intersecting Route 202 at a right angle and thus consumes more AZ and parkland than option four which has an angled intersection.
    • It was noted that option three would be less expensive to build and consume more land while option four would be more expensive to build and consume less land.
    • Both options require significant underpasses at the 202/Foulk Road intersection.
    • A Committee member noted that the Secretary of Transportation has said that 141 would be a design model for the road improvements here.
    • A question was raised regarding to potential for these options to direct more traffic seeking to avoid the regional system through residential areas. It was noted that a goal of transportation planning is to make the regional systems sufficiently efficient that drivers will have incentives to use them rather than local roads. The project planning is also attempting to separate these movements.
    • A question was raised regarding the advisability of addressing I-95 issues and adding an additional lane to accommodate traffic exiting I-95 to northbound on Route 202. It was noted that I-95 is a separate project area and not in the boundary of this project. It will be addressed by a different project.
    • Concern was expressed that the options only provide a route from eastbound Rockland Road to Foulk by way of a left turn onto northbound 202 and then a right on Murphy. It was suggested that one option the team study would be to use a new road south of Independence Mall connecting to Foulk.
  4. Conclusion
    In conclusion, Gene Abbott made the following summary comments:
    • While the options that close existing 141 to through traffic will likely not function they will be studied further.
    • A goal for the system is consistently moving traffic so regional traffic uses only the regional system.
    • Details of alignments of the local roads will be developed in close cooperation with the Recreation/Historic Committee. The Technical Coordinating Group meets weekly to insure integration of both Committees' input.
    • DelDOT is now working with AZ to establish a self-monitoring program of traffic management designed to reduce demand on roads.
    • The team will advance work on the options presented tonight.
    • An option of right turn in and right turn out at Foulk Road will be studied.
    • Three options for the Augustine Cut-Off will be studied: 1 with a signal, 2grade separated, 3right-in and right-out.
    • Options to permit northbound Augustine Cut-Off to northbound 202 will be studied including the potential impacts of the options on the City of Wilmington traffic and access.
    • The goal of the December 1 meeting is to use this information to choose a preferred transportation option.