The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422.

LIMERICK PA – Adoption of an official road map for neighboring Limerick (PA) Township, being considered next week by the Limerick Board of Supervisors, may have an impact on future real estate development in Lower Pottsgrove.

The Limerick board, in an advertisement published Tuesday (Jan. 11, 2011) in The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper, said it would conduct a public hearing and then consider a resolution to accept an official township road map during its Jan. 18 meeting at 7 p.m. in the municipal building, 646 W. Ridge Pike, Limerick PA. The meeting is open to the public.

The map, created by Limerick’s engineering firm, Pennoni Associates Inc., designates and reserves “areas for future streets, and other municipal facilities,” according to the published legal notice, and indicates “future street locations (and) intersection improvements within the Township.” It’s intended to give developers and land owners guidance by showing where and how Limerick looks to place roads and public utilities in coming years.

Likely to be included in the map are features affecting the development of properties on the Limerick side of the Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422. Parts of the interchange are divided by the border line that separates Limerick and Lower Pottsgrove.

The two townships have collaborated since last year on creating a mutually acceptable, coordinated plan for real estate development at and around the interchange. Back in June (2010), both hired Norristown PA-based landscape architects Simone Collins to create detailed maps that show how road and other improvements on each side of the townships’ line would match up to enhance traffic flow and land use.

Consequently, the guidance offered by Limerick’s official map – if adopted as expected – for its western edge are known to and probably will be embraced by Lower Pottsgrove leaders. For future developers in Limerick, it locks much of that guidance into local law, as allowed under the Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code. Even so, the proposed road map ordinance gives supervisors the flexibility to change the design when a need arises.

Copies of the map and accompanying ordinance are available for public review, according to the legal notice, at Limerick’s municipal building, as well as at the offices of The Mercury, Hanover and King Streets, Pottstown PA; and at the Montgomery County Law Library, located in the lower level of the county courthouse in Norristown.

Related:

SANATOGA PA – The more than 400 acres that will be included in the joint LimerickLower Pottsgrove (PA) townships’ master plan for the Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422 must be officially mapped in detail, and Lower Pottsgrove’s Board of Commissioners last week agreed to pay $10,000 as its share of the cost to have the work done.

The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422, as seen from overhead in a Google Maps satellite image.

The Sanatoga interchange at U.S. Route 422.

The mapping will be undertaken by Simone Collins, the Berwyn PA-based consultant both townships are relying upon to create a unified plan for what is known as the Interchange District. The firm will make zoning recommendations, suggest publicly and privately funded improvements, set standards for new roads and street scape design, and guide the district’s overall appearance.

Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the expense last Thursday (July 23, 2009) during their second monthly meeting in the township municipal building on Buchert Road. The approval is subject to a review by township Solicitor R. Kurtz Holloway of an accompanying contract.

About 150 acres, roughly a third of the area, lie within Lower Pottsgrove boundaries, township Manager Rodney Hawthorne explained. The mapping effort will be the latest, and possibly final, step that must be completed before the two municipalities can start to address legal language that will help them with the district’s regulation.

Hawthorne reported representatives of both townships met most recently on June 5, 11 and 23 for district-related discussions and “made significant progress.”

Back in May, both townships agreed to cooperate in the district’s planning and development. Re-working the highway’s exit ramps, widening existing roads, creating a feeder or frontage road system, and installing traffic control systems there – all to accommodate future growth – is expected to cost tens of millions of dollars. Neither municipality can afford it alone, they concede.

Related (to Sanatoga interchange development):

20090610-24Hours100px-ZlomekThe Limerick Post scanned available news feeds during recent days and found these stories of local interest.

  • Each appears with a headline and short description. Click on any headline and its related story will open in a separate browser window at the website where it is located.
  • None of the articles below have been written by, nor should be attributed to, The Post. Copyrights to these articles rest with their respective publishers.

Top 10 Foods To Avoid While Driving (The Sanatoga PA Post)
You’re cruising down 422, having coffee and a ‘burger at 60 mph. Or maybe not you, but the driver next to you. Either way, danger lurks.

Get Healthier With A Short Walk In Your Commute (The Sanatoga PA Post)
Make it more than a stroll across the parking lot, and you could see significant benefits.

Hikers Intend To Find Out Who-o-o’s There (The Sanatoga PA Post)
A night walk – flashlights allowed – is scheduled for Warwick County Park.

Testimony to her strong belief in the healing power of gardens (The Inquirer, Philadelphia PA)
Debra Radvany’s Harleysville PA garden is comfortable and pretty and delightfully approachable, a reflection of its creator, a master gardener who doesn’t sweat stuff like invasive thistle.

In Limerick: Kerr downgrades cost-savings of outsourcing (WhatsThe422.com)
Limerick Township Manager Dan Kerr has reduced the projected cost savings of outsourcing the code enforcement department by 58 percent.

Revamped Limerick Walmart is in the works (WhatsThe422.com)
Rumors of a new Walmart store at Township Line and Buckwalter roads have circulated in recent months. Testimony at Thursday night’s Limerick Board of Supervisors meeting indicates that a settlement agreement and fresh set of blueprints for the mega retailer may be coming soon.

POTTSTOWN PA – In the debate over the future of U.S. Route 422, its traffic congestion, and the loss of its surrounding open space, time has become both an enemy and an ally.

A woman reads information presented last week during meetings on the future of U.S. Route 422.

A woman reads information presented last week during meetings on the future of U.S. Route 422.

With each passing week, according to the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the 25-mile Route 422 Corridor loses more of its rural character. Yet planners believe that, by sparking public discussion now about what might be done to avoid problems down the road – literally and figuratively – there will be enough time to stop or even reverse the trend.

And in just eight days since that discussion was most recently resumed, planners have already received a tentative but crucial editorial endorsement.

The current state of, and the time line for finding solutions to, mounting commuter woes on 422 were subjects of a public meeting last Tuesday (June 23, 2009) at Pottstown Middle School. The DVRPC event, and a similar one held the next day in Royersford, were called to ask for comments on a corridor master plan being created as a guide to the fix.

The tentative target date for its implementation, Montgomery County Assistant Planning Director Leo D. Bagley said, is 2013, four years away.

Bagley, who was among the meeting’s speakers, guessed it will take two years to determine which master plan components seem to be best for unclogging the highway, and win public approval for them. Another two years, he said, will be spent putting them in place.

That time line works in DVRPC’s favor, advocates say. It gives the organization the ability to further develop its primary website, 422Corridor.com, and other outreach efforts to convince voters of the merits of its recommendations.

But there’s a downside too. Until then, the corridor’s growth is anticipated to be “steady and strong” despite the current economy, DVRPC representative Jerry Coyne, another presenter, warned. “There are going to be plenty of needs,” Coyne said, but also, he added, “plenty of opportunities to do something about them.”

Coyne’s message was clear: in the intervening years, the slow-moving parking lot that increasingly characterizes 422 is likely to get even slower.

So far, public sentiment favors improving the highway and its interchanges, and extending commuter train service west from Norristown. Their combined cost: over a billion dollars. Again, Bagley said, time will play a role. It will take years to asemble financing for such projects, primarily in the form of bonds that would be repaid from money collected by turning 422 into a toll road.

The Mercury's offices on North Hanover Street in downtown Pottstown.

The Mercury's offices in downtown Pottstown.

The controversial subject of 422’s tolling received an important boost Monday (June 29, 2009) when The (Pottstown PA) Mercury newspaper gave it a tentative endorsement in an editorial published on its Opinions Page. It said, in part:

“As with so many other quality-of-life issues in our region, the old ways of dealing with them are not working anymore. There are simply more demands on infrastructure — Route 422 being the prime example — than tax dollars can handle. The distaste toward paying for something which was once free is understandable. But the necessity of addressing the issues of 422 remain.

“While the planning continues, the public and those who travel 422 might want to ponder one simple question: What is it worth to me to change Route 422 from a traffic nightmare to smooth travel?

“A toll doesn’t seem so bad after all.”

The opinion attracted a score of derisive online comments, and some support too. But as the newspaper of record for several municipalities lining the corridor, and geographically central to it, some believe The Mercury’s willingness to stick its neck out marks a valuable early victory for DVRPC. Will other publications follow?

Only time will tell.

Related:

A visitor to Tuesday's meeting on Route 422 inspects regional maps.

A visitor to Tuesday's meeting on Route 422 inspects regional maps.

POTTSTOWN PA – About 50,000 vehicles travel past Limerick (PA) Township on U.S. Route 422 each day, a traffic load 28 percent higher than it was a decade ago, according to regional statistics. If that increase doesn’t worry you, transportation consultant Joe Bucovetsky thinks, maybe you’re among the few lucky enough to walk to work.

Jerry Coyne of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission talked about progress made so far on the Route 422 Corridor Master Plan .

Jerry Coyne of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission talked about progress made so far on the Route 422 Corridor Master Plan.

But even for those whose commute consists of just a trek around the block, Bucovetsky said, the jump in traffic mirrors “a heck of a lot of development in just 10 years” which affects local lifestyles, often for the worse. If ignored, he cautioned Tuesday night (June 23, 2009), the long lines of cars snaking their way along 422 during rush hours can only get longer.

Buckovetsky, one of several associates with the engineering firm of McComick Taylor, and several other representatives of local and county government agencies, contended during a meeting in Pottstown Middle School that while doing nothing about congestion on 422 is an option, it probably isn’t the best one.

What’s better? Getting the public’s answer to that question was the whole purpose of the meeting. Comments and complaints heard this week, in addition to those aired at meetings in February, all are helping to shape final recommendations for what is being labeled by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission as the Route 422 Corridor Master Plan, which could be released late this year.

The crowd faced by engineer Joe Bucovetsky was small but vocal.

The crowd faced by engineer Joe Bucovetsky was small but vocal.

Montgomery County (PA) Assistant Planning Director Leo Bagley answered audience questions about extending rail service.

Montgomery County (PA) Assistant Planning Director Leo Bagley answered audience questions on rail service.

Planners already know that, of 10 different strategies they might use to solve traffic woes on 422, members of the public like two best: fixing the road and its interchanges to help manage the load, and extending passenger train service west from Norristown. The price tags for those two items: roughly $600 million and $500 million, respectively.

Attendance at the Pottstown gathering was relatively light, but vocal. Many applauded and cheered when one audience member railed against the notion of imposing tolls on the four-lane highway to pay for road improvements and mass transit.

They seemed to be more accepting, however, of proposed land use changes and other regulations that would concentrate growth in the 25-mile corridor, stretching from King of Prussia to Reading, in specific areas and reduce sprawl. “A backward-looking town or region won’t attract economic development,” said Pottstown resident Bonnie Heath. “We’ve got to keep working on this process.”

20090610-24Hours100px-Zlomek

The Limerick Post scanned available news feeds during recent days and found these stories of local interest.

  • Each appears with a headline and short description. Click on any headline and its related story will open in a separate browser window at the website where it is located.
  • None of the articles below have been written by, nor should be attributed to, The Post. Copyrights to these articles rest with their respective publishers.

Two Rt. 422 corridor forums coming next week (WhatsThe422.com)
Do you have a problem with the possible tolling of Route 422? Want to voice your support or opposition to extending rail service to western Montgomery County?

ADA goes by the book (The Times-Herald, Norristown PA)
Karen Grace Ricca, a Montgomery Cou8nty (PA) prosecutor who recently co-authored the “Pennsylvania ARD Handbook,” a guide to Accelerated Rehabilitative Disposition programs statewide, is  filled with pride upon realizing her name is now listed in the Library of Congress.

Royersford Public Library gets creative with summer reading (Spring-FordOnline.com)
Readers of all ages – from birth to adults – are invited to “Be Creative at Royersford Free Public Library” in this year’s summer reading program.

Eastbound U.S. Route 422 traffic backs up early Monday evening (June 15, 2009) at the Royersford-Trappe interchange ...

Eastbound U.S. Route 422 traffic backs up early Monday evening (June 15, 2009) at the Royersford-Trappe interchange ...

ROYERSFORD PA – Area residents will have two more opportunities next week to comment on proposals made by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to make U.S. Route 422 a toll road to pay for future improvements there, including accompanying mass transit to relieve traffic congestion.

... while contractors work there to make roadway repairs begun earlier this month.

... while contractors work there to make roadway repairs.

Public meetings to get more feedback about the plan, are scheduled for:

The DVRPC hopes to gather comments to augment what its representatives heard during February (2009), when it held its first series of meetings regarding the highway. The growth of traffic clogging 422 during peak travel hours was of heightened concern then, a DVRPC transportation planner reported to a TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce membership meeting last week.

However, public opposition to tolling 422, and having those tolls pay for mass transit alternatives such as an extension of commuter train service from Norristown west to Reading, also has grown since February. Convincing opponents that tolls – and the suggested uses for the revenue they produce – are the best way to address congestion, or exploring compromises in the proposals, are hurdles the planners must yet overcome.

Joining the DVRPC in promoting the proposals are planning commissions in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association, and the U.S. Route 422 Corridor Coalition.