Crossroads Cloverleaf Traffic Design May Not Be Possible
Additional environmental data must be collected before experts can determine whether or not a loop added to the Mountainside Ave. overpass over Route 17 could be part of proposed shopping center traffic improvements
A cloverleaf-like design being considered as a possible Route 17 traffic pattern improvement may not be possible due to environmental and feasibility issues, Crossroads traffic expert Dan Disario said at a public hearing earlier this week. The design is part of a possible traffic plan that would be implemented with the Crossroads Town Center, a 600,000 square foot shopping center proposed for the intersection of Routes 17, 87 and 287.
At a hearing in April, Disario presented the design, saying Crossroads developers may be able to construct a new traffic loop off of the Mountainside Avenue overpass to allow for easier access to Route 17 South when leaving the center. The loop was also proposed as a way to alleviate anticipated increased traffic for Stag Hill Road residents, who can only access their homes via Mountainside Avenue.
The loop design was introduced as a change to the original traffic plan for the site, as a reaction to comments from the planning board, public, and Judd Rocciola, a traffic expert reviewing current proposals on behalf of the Planning Board. Rocciola suggested the loop, which was generally well received by the planning board.
However, Monday night, Disario said the loop may not be possible. “I did an analysis, and from a horizontal perspective, this can be done and it makes sense,” he said. But, two questions need to be investigated before experts can determine whether or not the loop could be built.
Sloping in the area needs to be studied to see if “vertically, this can be built,” and a wetlands evaluation would need to be done to determine if the state Department of Environmental Protection would allow construction of that kind there, he said. “When I see a stream, I get concerned [about potential environmental or DEP restrictions],” Disario said.
The planning board urged Disario to collect the additional survey data necessary to determine whether or not the cloverleaf could be included in the Crossroads traffic plan. “We want the loop,” board member Jerry Crean said.
Disario said he would research the possibility, but that if it is not feasible, the original concept for the Mountainside Avenue overpass, which includes the addition of exclusive turn lanes for local residents and signalized intersections to control traffic flow onto Route 17, would work.
Other changes to the traffic plan discussed at Monday night’s meeting include an additional entrance point to the shopping center from Route 17 North.
The planning board public hearings are ongoing on the site plan for the CTC. The next hearing, expected to discuss the environmental impact of the development, is scheduled for October 1.