PennDOT Meeting 11-03-2017

We had a nice meeting with PennDOT.  They allowed us to lay out all our concerns and fears regarding the traffic issues surrounding the warehouse project.

I need to preface this blog with this statement. 

Dan Becker accused me of “crushing” Victor on my blog and Facebook.  Dan said that really hurt Victor’s feelings as he is working hard on this warehouse issue.  I HAVE NEVER ATTACKED VICTOR, nor anyone else on the Board of Supervisors or Planning Commission. 

DISCLAIMER: The opinions of posts on Facebook are not the opinions of Marc and Dodie Sable. What other people say on Facebook has nothing to do with me or my blog.

I was highly offended that this subject was even brought up at this PennDOT meeting. It was totally inappropriate.

On to the meeting.  It was almost 3 hours long.  Should you care to hear the entire meeting, I have the audio file but it’s much too large to upload to my website.  I will attempt to upload it to my YouTube channel and link it here.

Okay.  In this meeting I reference a letter response from Dennis Toomey, written November 1st.  It is a response to our letter petition sent on September 28th. And the wheels turn slowly … PennDOT_meeting_110317

I also refer to the addressing of our concerns in the September 28th letter. Dennis, and all of PennDOT completely misunderstood what we needed from them.  We do not want a traffic light.  We do not want our intersection changed. We want PennDOT to understand that adding more traffic, especially the kind for a warehouse which includes more tractor trailers, IS NOT SAFE … IT IS DANGEROUS … We want them to deny the HOP. PennDOT_meeting_110317a

Throughout the meeting I speak about photos we have brought to show them the dangers of adding more tractor trailer traffic to the intersection. All these photos are taken by residents, during normal traffic patterns, and show that our intersection cannot handle the tractor trailers we have now … so how can PennDOT believe we can safely add more tractor trailers. PennDOT_meeting_110317b_pictures

The meeting was originally setup for us to meet with Dennis and a Harrisburg Representative.  The meeting got out of control from there.

Dennis invited the Greenwich Township to send a representative.  They sent Alice and Dan Becker. I found out about this the day before the meeting when Dennis called me to say since Greenwich Township was sending a solicitor, he felt he needed to ask the developer to the meeting.

Of course, the developer attended the meeting, with their solicitor, Kate.

Well, not to be outdone, we invited our attorney, Rob Pinel.

So the list of people in attendance went from six or seven, small group for a friendly get together to ask question and review our concerns to a large conference room full of highly charged people with vested interest in this warehouse project.  I did start the meeting, clearly stating I was not happy that our township and township solicitor was invited and I was not happy that the developer and the developer solicitor was invited.  I said I did not believe that PennDOT would be open and frank with us while they were in the room.  I said that although we had asked to be invited to meetings between the township and PennDOT as well as meetings between the developer and PennDOT, we had been denied…so why were they invited to a meeting between the residents and PennDOT?

Then I asked, “Is it possible to ask them to leave.”

Yes!  Yes I did.

The room went dead silent. I held my breath and counted to ten and let the silence drag out.  Mike Rebert broke the silence and said he was perfectly comfortable speaking bluntly in front of all these people

What a free for all.  What I thought would be a quiet sit down and review of our original letter, our concerns and the response letter turned into a dog and pony show with pictures, charts, diagrams and blow by blow playbook.  And I literally had less than a day to prepare for this new and improved meeting.

Basically, the two and a half hours consisted of me reviewing these three documents, and discussing the finer points of our five point intersection.  They had a nice, very large, map of Krumsville on the table so as I was speaking, I was able to point out each area of concern so they could see it with their own eyes.

I painted the picture of our intersection, with it’s quirks and foibles and gave them statistics regarding how many warehouse districts we visited along the I-78 corridor and found that not one single one of them had warehouses built through a residential community and none had warehouses that required traffic to drive through a small intersection.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Intersection too small for safe turning of tractor trailers
  2. Grade of Rt 737 from warehouse to stop light dangerous during weather conditions
  3. Intersection is compromised on a regular basis and there is not a safe alternate route for traffic from the warehouse to bypass the intersection (pointed out several times that the Long Lane/Old 22 intersection has had four accidents which resulted in deaths)
  4. Intersection requires manual traffic direction during an I-78 detour, of which we have had twelve (12) since March 2017 when we began documenting
  5. Intersection with current traffic levels queues past the west bound exit ramp of I-78, blocking it.  Add trucks to the mix and the queuing will go over the bridge and down the ramp towards the highway.
  6. Intersection with current traffic levels prevents south bound exiting off Rhoades Rd onto Rt 737 for several minutes.
  7. Current warehouse plans do not meet the LOS requirements of PennDOT, even under their waiver of .6 . It falls short 80 feet. Brought up the test we did in which I almost killed Sheila, testing the speed and LOS of the the driveway while the corn was tall in the field.
  8. Current warehouse plans do not provide enough room for queuing trucks and where will those trucks wait? On Rt 737?  There is not a shoulder on Rt 737 so they will be blocking traffic.
  9. Current warehouse plans have an emergency exit which will have ingress/egress off Rt 737 and it does not meet the LOS requirements of PennDOT. It falls short by 105 feet.
  10. Discussed the noise levels of trucks braking into the stop signs and then accelerating out of the stop signs.
  11. Discussed the vibration damages and brought up the fact we have been tracking the damages caused by the current construction of the ramp and the fact that sixteen (16) residents in Krumsville have vibration damages and well water damages due to these vibrations. (Mike was very interested in learning more about this, I told him to go see Gary at the trailer because we have been giving him the information)
  12. Discussed the blockage of the two parking lots (Krumsville Inn and Dane’s shop) while traffic queues at the stop sign.
  13. Discussed the blockage of the three resident driveways while traffic queues at the stop sign.
  14. Pointed out that even if PennDOT uses their state road right of way to widen the road, they will have to chop off porches of three homes, tear down a concrete culvert and put the mew road right up against four homes, preventing front door exiting of one of those homes.
  15. Stated very clearly that if they were to approve the HOP, we were prepared to appeal it through the court.
  16. Stated that should the warehouse be approved by the township on Monday then we wanted the developer to be responsible for making the intersection safe prior to building the warehouse because we do not want PennDOT coming in three years after the fact and taking our homes to widen the road and make it safe.
  17. Appealed to their HOP requirements and common sensibilities regarding the traffic. In no instance of visiting warehousing development have we found one to travel the traffic through a tiny intersection and through a small residential village.
  18. Appealed to their sense of safety for family and friends.

I asked specific questions at this meeting and did not receive any specific answers.  We did receive one answer, which was, “Yes, we are aware that this intersection is a known traffic issue.”  Okay – so we’re all on THAT same page.

At the end of the meeting, Rich Roman pretty much laid it out on the table.  The law is the law.  While we gave them a lot of things to think about, should the developer meet all the law requirements, they have to approve the HOP. Common Sense and Safety are used in making these decisions, and the law provides for safety (not so much common sense) so they will review all the information we provided prior to approving the HOP.

Notice that at no time did they say they might find fault with the HOP parameters.  Note that at no time did they find the intersection too small to handle tractor trail traffic. Note that at no time did they actually agree with our assessment of this intersection.  WHY?  because they don’t live here and they don’t see it.

Mike Rebert did say at one point that he had watched the 50 videos on my YouTube channel which are about the traffic in Krumsville. However,  he did not have one single comment to make about those videos.

I am working on a “thank you” letter to send to Dennis Toomey and copy to Senator Argyll and Representative Knowles … seeing as they copied their response to us to those gentlemen.