19 January 2012

Right Place? Wrong Time!

There's only one reason 469 apartments, 130 hotel rooms, and 20,000 square ft. of retail space is not suitable for the 50 acre site on the northbound side of Route 206 just south of Valley Road:


Make no mistake, this is what it all hinges on.  Don't wander off into other arguments - stick with this.

And the soon (ha!) to be completed 206 bypass is only going to make things worse.

Let's break it down point by point:

  1. Traffic northbound between Triangle Rd. and Brown Ave. is already a mess during rush hour. 
  2. There is a plan to widen 206 through this stretch - but no funding is identified, and no firm commitments have been made to begin work.
  3. There are currently 8 traffic lights between the Montgomery-Hillsborough border and Triangle Rd.  These lights have the effect of metering northbound traffic.  When the bypass is completed, there will only be two lights (Hillsborough and Amwell Roads) causing traffic to speed quickly northbound into the nightmare.
  4. The applicant (Route 206 Enterprises, LLC) is expecting minor improvements to Route 206 along their frontage to include a center left turn lane, for access to both their development and United Rent All across the highway - we know how well those work!
  5. Even if the center lane could be made to work acceptably, that solution is only applicable BEFORE work begins to widen 206.  When that work begins, all bets are off, as the road will need to be kept open while work is going on - a completely different operation than what is taking place now on the bypass - and no doubt as is typical in this kind of project the road will be reduced to a single very narrow lane in each direction.
  6. The eventual widening of the highway in this area will be a long difficult project - not only will the road need to stay open, but there is a railroad bridge to replace, streams to be dealt with, etc.
We must conclude that no additional development take place at that location until ALL of the improvements to Route 206 - the bypass and the widening - have been completed.  At the very least, hold off construction until the bypass is completed (next year?) so we can see what effect all of the additional northbound traffic will have on the Triangle to Valley stretch of highway.

As I said in my previous post, I am not automatically opposed to development of this type, or even to development at that location.  But just because this may be the right place, doesn't mean it's the right time.

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