Subject: Comment on Winkler Traffic Proposal
Dear Planning Commission:
At its December 14, 2003, meeting, the Board of Seminary Hill Association, Inc. (SHA) received a presentation from the Winkler Developers regarding completion of the development at the Mark Center. Specifically, we were informed of the change in the density of the proposed development and the request to manage traffic flow. SHA is very concerned about the proposed traffic flow on Seminary Road associated with this project, and urges you to commission an independent traffic study of this matter and explore alternatives very carefully.
The developer proposes that the traffic pattern change to accommodate its anticipated increase in traffic associated with the Mark Center in the following manner: (1) creation of a third left-turn only lane from Seminary Road onto Bueareugard (which would remain two lanes only); (2) adding a new lane on Seminary Road to allow for two through lanes down Seminary Road; and (3) closure of the current left turn from Seminary Road (before Bueareugard) into the development. SHA is very concerned about this new traffic pattern for the following reasons. First, it would create five lanes of traffic on Seminary Road at the exit of Shirley Highway (I-395). The merging traffic presents a significant safety hazard. Specifically, for a motorist to continue on Seminary Road past Bueareugard would require crossing at least two lanes of traffic attempting to merge from I-395. Similarly, traffic exiting from I-395 seeking to turn left onto Buearuegard would be required to cross at le!
ast one lane of fast moving traffic. This constant lane shifting in fast moving traffic in a very small space introduces significant safety risk. Second, while there would be three left turn lanes from Seminary, Beauruegard would remain two lanes. That means that the three left turn lanes would be forced into two merging lanes. Third, the two through lanes on Seminary Road would not be "flush" with the lanes continuing on Seminary Road, requiring further merging to continue traveling down Seminary Road. Fourth, the current left turn into the Mark Center development eases the congestion at the intersection of Buearuegard and Seminary Road.
The Winkler developers have been good neighbors and responsible developers in our community and we appreciate their efforts at working with us. SHA believes that the proposed development has much to offer, and the developer's efforts at public transportation should be applauded. We believe, however, that under the circumstances, an independent traffic study is appropriate before introducing such a drastic and potentially unsafe change in traffic patters at such an important intersection.