Board of Supervisors
Special Stoopville Road Meeting
Minutes of March 28, 2012
The Newtown Township Board of Supervisors held a special meeting on March 28, 2012 in the Township meeting room at 7:30 PM. In attendance and voting were Supervisors: Chairman Michael Gallagher, Vice Chairman Matthew Benchener, Secretary/Treasurer Ryan W. Gallagher and Robert Ciervo, member. Also in attendance were: Joseph Czajkowski, Township Manager, and Henry Pasqualini, Chief of Police.
Call to Order: Chairman Gallagher called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM. He acknowledged Upper Makefield Supervisor Daniel Rattigan and Wrightstown Supervisors Chester Pogonowski and Jane Magne, who were also in attendance.
Discussion of Stoopville Road Project: Eric Kaufman and Larry Young of Gilmore & Associates, Engineers on the project, explained that this is a required public hearing to update officials on the project thus far and to present the final design of the second phase, which will include a traffic signal at the intersection of Durham Road (Rte 413) and Stoopville Road, a left turn lane on southbound Durham Road at the intersection and some changes to the proposed walking path.
Mr. Young explained that a portion of the walking path between the entrance to Rosefield development and Eagleton Farm development has been removed, as had been agreed at a previous meeting. The trail will now begin at Eagleton Farm, cross Stoopville at Hemlock Drive and continue East on the southerly side of Stoopville Road to Eagle Road; at Eagle Road it will proceed south to Marigold to a crosswalk to join an existing trail on the east side of Eagle Road. Crosswalks will have decorative treatments and curb ramps. All crosswalks will be ADA compliant. The path will resume on the north side of Stoopville Road at Creamery Road and continue to the Village Market, where it will cross and continue to Highland Road and the National Cemetery. It will then cross at Highland and join an existing trail in Lower Makefield. The intersection at Highland and Stoopville will be widened and a turning lane to the National Cemetery will be added. Gateway signage and other improvements will be added at Dolington Village and a three-way stop sign will be placed at the intersection of Dolington and Washington Crossing Road (Rte 532.) The paths will be asphalt and will be five feet wide. Drainage issues at White farm will be addressed and some pipes will be extended under the path. Stormwater trenches along the walking path will be filled with stone.
Public Comment: Resident Jim Ott said that throughout the planning and implementation of this project he has asked that the drainage issues in front of his home on Stoopville Road be addressed. Nothing has been done to correct the drainage problems and there have been two recent auto accidents in front of his property, one of which crushed the culvert pipe on his property. He also noted that the planting beds in the medians have not been maintained and are full of weeds. He asked about the proposed crosswalks, noting that the Sycamore Street crosswalks have remained attractive but those at Lindenhurst Road have been crumbling. They seem to be made of inferior materials which cannot withstand the truck traffic.
Mr. Young said that the proposed crosswalks will be made of a resin material. He is aware of the issues at Lindenhurst Road, which may be the result of the base roadbed beneath the crosswalk. This problem will be considered when installing the new crosswalks. Regarding the drainage issues near Mr. Ott’s property, the Township must reach out directly to PennDOT as this is now a maintenance issue.
Mr. Czajkowski said that he has spoken to Mr. Brown at PennDOT about this in the past and will contact him again.
Resident Carol Richardson said that she is disappointed that the walking path between Rosefield and Eagleton Farms has been eliminated. That portion of the path would only have crossed in front of two homes, both of which have run off problems during rainy and snowy weather. She had hoped the drainage issues would have been part of the installation of the path.
John Fowler of Wrightstown said that he is very pleased to see the sidewalks and trails as part of this project. He asked for more details about the trail locations and intersection improvements.
Mr. Kaufman reviewed a number of slides of the various intersections along Stoopville Road; he pointed out that the mast arm for the signal at Highland Road had already been installed as part of phase one. A 12-foot wide right turn lane will be added and the signal will include pedestrian walk buttons. The intersection at Stoopville Road and Washington Crossing Road at Village Market will also have a pedestrian signal button. The third signal at Durham Road will include a 200 foot left turn lane and a 310 foot left turn taper. Widening will be on both sides of the road. The installation of walking paths will require acquisition of some easements for the points where the paths are not in the right-of-way.
Ruth Brown of Wrightstown asked about the stop bar for traffic, which could block her ability to exit her driveway.
Mr. Kaufman said that PennDOT had relocated the stop bar; he will again review this with PennDOT. If the bar remains, signs would be installed to warn against blocking the driveway. He noted that the stacking should be about the same as is currently seen. PennDOT had wanted the stop bar to make Mrs. Brown’s driveway governed by the traffic light.
Mrs. Richardson said that she objected to the stop light because it would increase traffic on Stoopville Road.
Wrightstown Resident Le Sheppard asked Mr. Kaufman to review the widening of the road near his Durham Road property.
Mr. Kaufman reviewed the plan, noting that the widening will begin beyond Mr. Sheppard’s property. Some right of way will need to be acquired.
Mr. Sheppard said that he has been concerned about the speed at this intersection; it has been difficult for him to get out of his driveway and turn left toward Wrightstown. He had some concern about a possible blind spot and asked Mr. Kaufman to look at safety concerns exiting driveways.
Mr. Kaufman said that this would be reviewed again.
Mr. Fowler asked whether a three-way stop sign is needed at Dolington/Washington Crossing Road (Rte 532).
Mr. Young said that it is needed because of the sight distance for cars turning left from 532 to Dolington. There will be advance warning signs of the stop.
Mr. M. Gallagher thanked everyone for attending and for the residents of the community for their input as the plans move forward.
Lower Makefield resident Sue Herman, who arrived late, asked that the trail plans be reviewed.
Mr. Kaufman showed the plans a second time, pointing out the portions of the original trail plan which have been altered in the phase two plan.
Mrs. Herman said that she is president of a group of residents for regional traffic solutions. She said that the signal at Durham Road is part of a plan to connect I78 with I 95, creating a northern bypass road. She showed a series of maps and outlines made by Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission in 1988, noting that in these plans Stoopville Road was to have been widened and the intersection with Durham Road was to have been signalized. The plans also had included a roundabout at the intersection of Stoopville Road and Rte 532. She said that she feels that all of the proposed improvements in phase two of this plan are steps toward the eventual northern bypass, which will greatly impact the quality of life of residents. She urged the Board to abandon the plan.
Mr. M. Gallagher said that no members of the current or former Township Boards of Supervisors has been supportive of a northern bypass. The plans discussed this evening are designed to improve safety for our residents.
The meeting adjourned at 7:00 PM
Mary Donaldson, Recording Secretary