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Crossing Truck, Bus Traffic Concerns In New Crossroads Road Plan

Representatives for the shopping center project say Crossroads is unable to purchase any surrounding lands to use as a way to enhance the traffic pattern at the Route 17-287 intersection

A revised plan for the proposed traffic improvements around the Crossroads Town Center shopping complex brought up concerns about existing bus and truck traffic interfering with new shopping center traffic at a continued public hearing on the development plan Monday night.

Members of the Planning Board and the public questioned whether or not buses from the bus terminal located inside the International Crossroads property and trucks from a truck stop located at the entrance to the proposed development would interfere too much with newly generated “mall traffic.”

A revised traffic plan calls for two entrances to the shopping center, one at Leisure Lane that allows shoppers to pull straight into the complex, passing through the middle of the bus depot, and one on Cross Road that would enter into a new shopping center driveway.

Residents and board members questioned the developer’s traffic expert Daniel Disario as to the feasibility of shopping center traffic maneuvering around buses and bus depot employees crossing back and forth across Leisure Lane, one of the proposed access points to the development.

According to Disario, the bus depot traffic would be minimal. Based on observations made at the site last week, he said about eight to 12 pedestrians and two to three buses cross the road per hour. “I would think a bus would yield to any oncoming traffic, since they are coming from driveways, which are minor approaches [to the main road]…Legally, the [buses] would have to stop,” for mall traffic, he said.

He also said a cross walk across Leisure Lane from the north side of the bus depot to the south side would likely be added.

The board also brought up concerns about a truck stop on Route 17 near the proposed entrance to the shopping center, and whether or not tractor trailers would be able to pull in and out of the site onto Route 17 with the increased shopping center traffic. Trucks might not be able to pull out of the stop, or would back up traffic onto Route 17 when they do, board members said.

“You’re basically cutting off [the truck stop’s] business, right?” Board member Jerry Crean asked.

Disario said he would bring up the truck stop concerns to the state Department of Transportation, which has final approval over the traffic plan. “Access to both truck stops [on the North and South sides of Route 17 near the proposed entrances to and exits from the development] will be part of the DOT review,” he said.

One change that will not be worked into the plan, Crossroads attorney Jim Jaworski said, would be the acquisition and incorporation of additional properties. Purchasing and adding adjacent Route 17 properties, like that of Suburban Propane and the truck stop in question, to the site would be a “fatal mistake,” because of the state’s Time of Submission law, Jaworski said.

The law states that the zoning laws and ordinances in place at the time a developer files a site application are the ones to which he or she should be held during the development process. The CTC developer one day before Mahwah’s town council allowing for the development to be built.

Any significant changes to the site plan, like adding properties to it, would open up the site’s application to rejection, based on the law, Jaworski said.

But, Disario said the traffic plan is a “process” that “evolves” throughout the application process in response to board member, resident and township professional concerns. Though the developer has met once with the DOT, the plan is still in the relatively early stages of DOT review, experts said.

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Hank August 21, 2012 at 11:06 AM
the mall will turn that northbound gas station into a gold mine
T-Bird 148 August 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM
Well, on the up side at least the horrible Mountainside Ave/Stag Hill Road interchange behind the International Motor Plaza (Rt.17 south truck stop) will be addressed.
Kevin August 21, 2012 at 04:45 PM
Hank not true at all. It may become a problem of getting in and out of it resulting in it sinking instead of being a gold mine. T-Bird it will be addressed but how and who covers the cost seems to be a question presented last night. Money set aside by the developer will be used quickly and if something needs to be changed down the road the state may have to flip the funds to fix it or the problem just remains there.
Steven Sbarra August 21, 2012 at 06:03 PM
well not exactly Kevin. The wat the road improvements was proposed and agreed upon, 6 Million dollars will be set aside by the developer for road improvements. Of that money 40% or 2.4 millions will be used directly for the improvements dictated by the DOT for the improvements within the site plan. The additional 3.6 million will go to Mahwah for any other road improvements deemed necessary at a future time. If the DOT improvements needed are more then the 2.4 million then the developer is required to foot the bill in order to comply with the DOT requirements. Unless something changed and I dont think it did, this is wha was agreed upon when the ordiance was changed the first time. You have to remember that the State DOT has final say on the road improvements since the have the juristriction on these roads.
Kevin August 22, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Thank you Mr. Sbarra for clearing that up. What are your thoughts on the meeting Monday night?
Steven Sbarra August 22, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Kevin, I find it interesting that based on the time of submission application rules that were in effect at the time of submission, it could prevent some real improvements to the entries and exits of this development. It appears that there may be other options to make it better however due to the pending lawsuit on the matter, it cannot be explored according to the developers lawyer. Somehow I wish some common ground can be agreed upon and the best possible option implimented. But that cant happen until the lawsuit is heard and a decision is made. I dont envy the position that the Planning Board is in, but I hope they are professional enough to do their jobs with the best interest of Mahwah in mind and I think they will. I was disappointed that all of the Planning Board members were not in attendance for this important issue. I still think it would have been prudent to have the town do their own independant traffic study to see if the numbers are correct instead of having our traffic person look at the numbers and agree with what the developer said. This would have validated or non validated the data, since the road improvements proposed were based on traffic patterns and amount of vehicles entering and exiting which the DOT relies on.
Kevin August 22, 2012 at 02:58 PM
I would also like to hear from of member of the DOT at any one of these meetings in the future. I do not trust the the reps from the development when they stand before the board and speak about the meetings the mall reps had with the DOT.

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