INFORMATION

Blue Ball Properties Master Plan

Transportation Technical Committee

Meeting Report
Date: December 15, 1999
Location: Bellevue Hall, New Castle County, Delaware

INTRODUCTION/ OPENING COMMENTS:

Jim Lisa of DEDO welcomed the attendees and explained how the group process has been working since August 16: the committees have been meeting to advise the project as it develops, and are made up of representatives/stakeholders in the community. Their input is important in the design process. The recommendations from the two technical committees will be carried to the Policy and Executive Committees that will make the final decisions. Jim established the ground rules and schedule for the meeting: the presentation would run about 30-35 minutes in its entirety, with no questions or interruptions, then there would be a question and answer period before the meeting was adjourned. He noted that the meetings that were scheduled for December 22, 1999 and December 29, 1999 will be held, and that these will be informational meetings. He stated that AstraZeneca will present information about their proposed development, and that their designs are governed by a county process, not the committee.

Jim explained that the topic for the evening's meeting is the realignment/ design issues of the Augustine Cut-Off.

PRESENTATION:

Joe Wutka, the Chair of the Transportation Committee explained that two issues would be focused on:

1. the Augustine Cut-Off

2. the intersection of Childrens Drive and Rt. 141.

Augustine Cut-Off

Barry Schoch of MTA noted that the topics for the evening would focus on local rather than regional roads. The major issues that would be focused on are:

1. safety

2. congestion

The PowerPoint presentation shows a summary of the accident data at the Rt. 202 and Augustine Cut-Off intersections. There were 165 accidents at the Rt. 202 and Augustine Cut-Off intersection reported between 1996 and 1999. This makes this intersections one of the top accident locations in the State of Delaware. The reasons include the high volume, many lanes, and the weaves of the exit and on-ramps.

Congestion at this intersection was shown through a CORSIM traffic simulation analysis for 1999 PM peak hours. There is stacking approaching Foulk Road, on Rt. 202 southbound to I-95, I-95 north to Rt. 202 northbound, and when the left turn from Augustine Cut-Off mixes with traffic from I-95 to Foulk Road.

In the 2010 PM peak hours with the "no build" scenario, including background growth, increases from duPont and AstraZeneca, with the signal as it is currently, Augustine Cut-Off stacks to Alopocas Drive, and there is visible grid-lock throughout the whole network.

The two options that the committee agreed upon, Options 5 and 6, show different configurations for the intersection at Foulk Road. Option 6 (Diamond) allows for the most favorable conditions for the Augustine Cut-Off intersection to remain as it is currently, due to the signal on Rt. 202 allowing for a gap in the traffic. Option 5 (Bow-Tie) does not require traffic to stop on Rt. 202.

The Option 6 alternative, when shown through a CORSIM traffic simulation analysis with the signalized intersection remaining at Augustine Cut-Off. It depicts the stacking on Augustine Cut-Off and on Rt. 202 North to the relocated Rt. 141 at Foulk Road. This reflects one major point: that including a signalized intersection at Augustine Cut-Off and Rt. 202 negates the benefits of intersection improvements at Rt. 141/ Foulk Road because the traffic backs up Rt. 202 from Augustine Cut-Off all the way through Foulk and south on Augustine Cut-Off to Alapocas Drive.

The question of how the intersection would work if Augustine Cut-Off is closed and there were no access to Rt. 202 is reflected in Option 6:

In the 2010 build scenario, with Augustine Cut-Off closed:

  • Augustine Cut-Off users access the local road system that connects with relocated Rt. 141 and Weldin/ Foulk Roads through an underpass of Rt. 202
  • Traffic is now distributed throughout the corridor, instead of being confined to one area
  • Rt. 202 traffic now moves consistently through the corridor
  • Relocated Rt. 141 clears with each signal phase

The table affects of Augustine Cut-Off Options (unrestrained) shows how the traffic will be distributed through the corridor. The new local road system, running east and west, further distributes the traffic. The significant conclusion is that the more local road networks, the more options, the more the traffic will be distributed.

The final conclusions are summed up in the table in the PowerPoint presentation.

A major issue that needs to be reviewed is:

  • The entrance to the local road system may be moved opposite the southbound ramp from Rt. 202 to Relocated Rt. 141

It is noted that DelDOT is looking at transit options, there will be meetings with the city, schools, and the neighborhoods to look at transit components and further ideas for the Augustine Cut-Off.

Childrens Drive

The question of whether the intersection of Rt. 141/ Childrens Drive can be realigned to allow Existing Rt. 141 to be the main through movement was studied. It can not for the following reasons:

  • The intersection design is not as efficient as the original design
  • The original design encourages non-local traffic to utilize higher capacity US 202/ Foulk Rd. interchange
  • Degradation is caused at the US 202/ Murphy Road intersection
  • The Childrens Drive connection could potentially be relocated to the south, near the Ronald McDonald House, with emergency access for the hospital, only on the northern section.

The PowerPoint presentation shows the lane configuration that would be required to maintain a "no degradation" level. This is not a feasible alternative due largely to the multiple turn lanes required and the inability of traffic to use them efficiently.

QUESTIONS/ ANSWERS/ COMMENTS

Q: How many fatalities are included in the accident figures for the Augustine Cut-Off intersection?

A: There were no fatalities from July 1996 to June 1999.

Q: State Senator Harris McDowell noted his concern about introducing traffic onto the local road system and he questioned whether transit options, or Smart Growth options were included in the model?

A: The effects of anticipated transit usage are included as a 10% reduction of the projections in the DelDOT traffic model, a standard number. How this 10% allotment will be achieved still needs to be analyzed. The modeled land use is provided by New Castle County.

Q: In the CORSIM analysis, in the 2010 "no-build" scenario, are there a larger amount of cars visible along the major roads than in the build options?

A: The traffic is being stopped along Rt. 202, there are the same traffic volumes moving through the corridor, but the traffic is not being redirected and dispersed in the "no-build" scenario, as it is in the build options.

Q: The Safety Improvements that are being implemented currently do not include closing off the Augustine Cut-Off, why is that being included in these options?

A: Efforts to coordinate with the Safety Improvement designers are being made. The requirement to achieve the "no degradation" criteria is causing the changes to the intersections. To meet this criteria, many options need to be reviewed.

Q: What if the Transportation Committee makes a commitment to the changes at Augustine Cut-Off and the Recreation/ Historic Preservation Committee rejects this plan?

A: The committees provide suggestions to the Policy and Executive Committees, there will not be a vote for an actual decision. The Recreation/Preservation Committee plans currently include all proposed local roads.

Q: What is the modeled design speed for Rt. 202, and if it is a lower speed, does that change the traffic projections?

A: The design speed is 45 MPH. Changing the design speed for the corridor will make no difference in the traffic projections because the volumes remain the same. It should be noted that the signals control the speed on the roads, not the signage. Peak hour traffic congestion will cause the traffic to move at slower speeds than at non-peak hours with no congestion, when it will move faster.

Comment: A concern was raised by a number of attendees over Broom Street and the surrounding local roads regarding the increase of traffic in their vicinity.

A: There are more issues that need to be studied, and other solutions are being looked at, but the main issues, such as leaving a signalized intersection at the Rt. 202 and Augustine Cut-Off intersections, and meeting the "no degradation" criteria are the first to be worked out.

Q: Why does the CORSIM model not include Broom Street or the City of Wilmington?

A: There are two types of models being used:

1. the traffic model used by DelDOT covers the whole Delmarva Peninsula

2. 2. the CORSIM traffic model, which is being broadened as issues are raised and will cover the Broom Street area.

Comment: AstraZeneca stated that they provided the TIS data to the professionals and consultants to be analyzed, to verify that it was accurate, and that they are working hard to be part of the community, and that they wanted to emphasize that they are not manipulating the data.

Comment: A couple of community representatives feel that the project should be reviewed for phasing of the design and implementation as the need arises.

Comment: A community representative presented a 12 point list of concerns over the current design proposals. Another community member handed out a 6 point list of questions regarding the AstraZeneca TIS.

A: It was noted by the consultants that a lot of criticism has been directed at the design, and that they have been asked to perform many tasks, these tasks resulted in many of the suggestions being thrown out because they would not maintain the "no degradation" criteria that must be met. They will do their best to continue to provide answers to the questions being raised.

A note: the "no degradation" criteria came from an agreement between the State, County and AstraZeneca as part of the traffic waivers necessary to bring AstraZeneca into the site. DEDO made three promises to Tom Gordon and the County Council:

  • A promise to AstraZeneca that the "no degradation" criteria would be met;
  • To correct the existing problem and provide a long term solution;
  • Bring closure to the question of how to deal with the open space on the east and west sides of Rt. 202.

Many questions regarding mass transit were raised. A light trolley line connecting Maryland, Delaware and Pennsylvania through the City of Wilmington and along the AstraZeneca site is being brought in as a suggestion. Potential bus/ trolley service or station stop points are being discussed, as well.

Comment: Gail Van Gilder, Executive Director of Delaware Greenways, recommends:

"no elevated highways must be a mandate for this project to preserve the quality of life in Brandywine Hundred;"

"Overall, I believe the parkland is dissected by too many roads in the total plan on both sides of the road."

CONCLUSION/ ADJOURNMENT

The committee concluded its discussions at 10:00 PM. The next meeting is on December 22, 1999 at 4:30 PM at the Brandywine High School Cafeteria.