Traffic Study Update
In late July, Robbinsville Mayor Dave Fried announced a new comprehensive traffic study through the main arteries of the township. The study was proposed after increased traffic throughout Robbinsville due to development, and is designed to find any changes that can be made to make the flow of traffic more effective. To conduct the study, the township will be working with Maser Engineering. “Essentially, we want to understand the traffic in the region,” Fried said.
The study is focusing on Route 33 from the Robbinsville/Hamilton border at Foxmoor Shopping Center to Route 130, and then from 130 at Sharon Road to the Robbinsville/Hamilton border near South Gold. It will take approximately three weeks and will begin after Labor Day so that the statistics will reflect a normal traffic cycle.
“We’re waiting for school to start to do the traffic study. Once the study is completed, we’ll take a look at it and see the conditions of the roads and the capacity, if there’s additional capacity, or if they need help in relieving stress,” said community development director Hal English, who will be working closely with Maser Engineering to ensure that “the study gives us what we’re looking for, a snapshot of what the condition is today and how much more it can take, and what we can do to improve it.”
“The biggest concern that I hear from people is about traffic. We have a lot of people who want to do projects in town, and we’ve got a lot of interest from a lot of different developers in a lot of different spots. Every developer is doing their own traffic study, but the problem is that no one is really doing one traffic study for the entire area. So what I want to do is to take a global look at what we’re going to do in order to accommodate all these projects,” Fried said.
“Right now we’ve got so many projects that it stands to reason that we may not be able to accommodate everyone, but we have to see what we can and cannot accommodate,” he continued.
According to English, the study will cost approximately $17,000. Part of the cost will be paid for through the township engineering and transportation fund, while the rest will be paid for by developers.
Mayor Fried describes the traffic in some of the areas as “quite poor. Main Street, for example, is a definite problem right now. We have a lot of people that don’t use the bypass, so one of the things we’re going to do is put a right hand turn lane onto Route 130 so that those going south on 130 will be able to make a right hand turn. What we found from a previous study is that 80% of the cars on Main Street are making a right hand turn (near the Delta gas station) heading south, so with a designated right hand turn lane, that is going to significantly alleviate a lot of the traffic we have on Main Street.”
“We’ve got another big problem going west on Route 33 from Route 130, with people making a left making onto a left on Main street from Route 130 from the Hamilton Marketplace. It’s actually a condition being generated by Hamilton, but it creates a tremendous amount of traffic in our town. We need to think about what we can do with that intersection,” he continued.
Curiously, the location of the study is very similar to the area of a previous proposed bypass on Route 33, that would have joined Route 130 in the areas of the current study from Washington Boulevard to South Gold Street. That original bypass was actually a part of a state proposal, as Fried explains. “The state had put forth a proposal that if towns took town center designations, the state would actually help with traffic by creating and funding bypasses. Bypasses go through two towns, and it’s difficult to get another town to fund a road project that doesn’t benefit them, so unless the state was involved these projects never go anywhere,” Fried explained.
“So Robbinsville took the designation, and then the state suddenly backed out, so we ended up having a town center without the bypass. Now we have to create our own solution, which has created a little bit of a challenge for us,” he continued, mentioning that this traffic situation is one of the reasons the second half of town center was not built,” he continued. When asked again about the possibility of the original bypass being built, Fried stated that “there’s a zero percent chance that we can ever build the bypass that was originally proposed because it went through two towns, and we don’t have jurisdiction to build in another town. We’re going to have come up with a whole different plan, because that plan is no longer viable.”
English also believes the idea of a bypass may be thinking too ahead. “We’re not predisposed to anything, because we want the experts to tell us what is the best way to move our residents in and out of the township. What we want the people of Robbinsville to know is that we hear them, that the traffic on Route 33 is busy and that we want to make any improvements possible. In addition, we’re going to go to the NJDOT based on the traffic study, and ask that that becomes a traffic improvement district, and then that would allow us to have any developers that are developing along that area pay for any road improvements, not the taxpayers.”
While the original bypass may be off the table, English does believe that the study may point to a bypass road within Town Center South as a viable solution to alleviate traffic.
In the meantime, both Fried and English are looking to improve various different aspects of Robbinsville. “One of the other proposal’s we’re looking at is to continue the Robbinsville-Edinburg Road and extend that out to Route 130, which would also alleviate significant amounts of traffic,” Fried said.
When asked about community development issues, English said “Certainly there are (issues) like Town Center South, and the Foxmoor Shopping Center. That is a high priority, to redevelop the shopping center and make it vibrant and active again.”
To watch the Mayor’s announcement, visit: http://www.robbinsville-twp.org/news_detail_T2_R180.php
To read the transcript, visit: http://mercerspace.com/2017/07/28/fried-robbinsville-traffic-study-help-smart-growth/
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