Q: Now that AstraZeneca and other regional employers do not seem to be hiring as quickly as forecast, will the schedule and the transportation improvements constructed reflect these less ambitious hiring goals?
A: The transportation improvements planned as part of the Blue Ball Properties Project have been under study for many years. In fact, a previous plan showed a much larger transportation program. However, the goals of the Transportation Committee, clearly stated in the Blue Ball Properties Master Plan, include minimizing impacts to the area's environmental features and historic houses and maintaining traffic flow at today's standards. These goals have resulted in the planned provision of transportation improvements that are already minimized.
Astra Zeneca is on schedule to open the first phase of their expansion in 2002 as originally planned, and background traffic growth is still expected to continue. The immediate need for the transportation improvements is not decreasing and it is still critical to the overall Blue Ball Properties success, including keeping the improvements on schedule.
Q: Now that the master plan has been adopted, how will the public be informed of specific design decisions regarding each phase?
A: The State of Delaware has committed to an extensive public involvement program, consisting of this website, newsletters, and public meetings. This website will be revised and updated on an ongoing basis as new information is made available. Newsletters that announce the latest developments for the project should be distributed periodically. As each phase of the project is being developed, three public meetings will be held at key decision points. These meetings will be announced via the website, newsletters, direct mail, advertisements in the local papers, and public service announcements.
Q: What are the major features of the Transportation Plan?
- A new four-lane Route 141 spur gives access along the south side of the AstraZeneca campus.
- The existing Route 141 remains open to all traffic.
- A grade-separated interchange links Route 202/Foulk Road/Route 141 and permits all traffic movements while minimizing environmental impacts.
- A local road network serves the new parkland and local traffic on both the east and west sides of Route 202.
- A partial signal at the Route 202/Augustine Cut-Off Intersection reduces the traffic impact to local residential streets.
- Rockland and Weldin Roads are integrated into the local road network, assuring system continuity.
- Improving Route 202 at Murphy Road permits an additional through lane in each direction and a dedicated left turn lane from Murphy Road onto southbound Route 202.
- Route 202 underpass south of Foulk Road completes the Delaware Greenway System and permits local road continuity.
- A connector road between Route 202 and Foulk Road allows City traffic to access the Route 141 Spur and Foulk Road.
- A four-way intersection links Childrens Drive, the Route 141 Spur, and Route 141.
Q: How does this road network separate local from regional traffic?
A: The proposed road network has been designed specifically to separate local from regional traffic. The entire Route 202/I-95/Route 141/Route 141 Spur traffic can function completely separate from the East Park and West Park Local Roads network, although they also have points of connection. Therefore, someone in Alapocas may travel to Weldin Road via the West Park Local Road, under Route 202 and on the East Park Local Roads. That same resident may also access the regional road network via the West Park Local Road to the Route 141 Spur to Route 202.
Q: What are the stated goals of the Transportation Committee?
A: The stated goals of the Transportation Committee are:
- Level of Service must remain the same or better-this is the "no-degradation" criterion.
- The local street system should be minimally impacted.
- The park, transportation and AstraZeneca improvements are linked and should proceed together.
- Environmental impacts must be minimized.
- The schedule must be maintained.
Q: Why must Route 202 be 12-lanes-wide?
A: To satisfy the "no degradation" criterion, 12 lanes of traffic are necessary at one location on Route 202. US Route 202 just south of Murphy Road requires four northbound through lanes, two northbound left-turn lanes, and four southbound through lanes. Additionally, a southbound acceleration lane for the eastbound right-turn from Route 141 is required, and a northbound shoulder/right-turn lane is preferable. This is based on traffic projections and design criteria. Route 202 transitions back to six lanes north and south of the intersection.
Q: I understand that some residents would still prefer that the local road network, which includes Rockland, Alapocas and Weldin Roads, not be interconnected. Why not respect their wishes?
A: The plan recommended by the Transportation Committee and endorsed by Governor Carper and New Castle County Executive Gordon showed an interconnected local road network.. Additionally, several intersections would fail the "no-degradation" test also adopted by the committee if the road network were not connected.
Q: How do you know the proposed road network can handle the forecasted traffic?
A: Traffic projections were prepared for a design year of 2010, consistent with the full build out of AstraZeneca. The proposed local and regional roadway network was developed to accommodate the projected traffic while functioning no worse than today (no degradation criterion). Additional considerations included rectifying any known safety problems and allowing all traffic movements at each intersection if possible (i.e., don't restrict the southbound left turn from U.S. 202 to Foulk Road). Based on these criteria, each alternative was studied using standard traffic analysis methods. This led to some alternatives being dropped, while others were refined. The proposed design satisfies the "no degradation" criterion, provides a safe transportation system, and allows as many movements as possible at each intersection.
Q: Why are there so many traffic signals on the Route 141 Spur?
A: The Route 141 Spur is proposed to have five signalized intersections within 1.25 miles. They include the intersections with Childrens Drive, AstraZeneca Driveway, West Park Local Road, the northbound ramp from I-95, and Relocated Weldin Road. Two of these intersections replace existing signalized intersections (Childrens Drive and Weldin Road). Traffic signals are required at the AstraZeneca Driveway to provide efficient access in and out of the southern campus of AstraZeneca.
The remaining two signal locations are part of the U.S. 202/Foulk Road/Route 141 Spur interchange design. This configuration is similar to a "diamond-type" interchange, with several project specific modifications. Like other "diamond-type" interchanges serving heavy traffic volumes, the "minor streets" (in this case, the Route 141 Spur and Foulk Road) will have traffic signals at the end of each ramp from the "major streets" (US 202 and I-95). This configuration was preferred by the Transportation Committee to designs that included fewer traffic signals, but restricted certain traffic movements or required more land which would otherwise be available for park development. Traffic analyses indicate that the five signalized intersections along the Route 141 Spur can be successfully coordinated to minimize delay to vehicles travelling this route.
Q: How will this design affect traffic on Murphy Road?
A: Without the proposed improvements, traffic on Murphy Road is expected to increase due to the AstraZeneca and DuPont expansions, in addition to the general "background" growth of traffic in the area. With the proposed improvements, traffic projections indicate that volumes along Murphy Road will remain approximately the same in 2010 as they were in 1999. This is due to the fact that some traffic is being diverted from Murphy Road to the new Route 141 Spur.
Q: How will this design affect traffic on Augustine Cut-Off, Rockland Road, and/or Weldin Road?
A: Traffic projections indicate no difference in anticipated project traffic volumes along these roads with the proposed improvements compared to the expected traffic growth along these roads without the proposed improvements.
Q: What plans have been made for mass transit?
A: Mass transit is an integral part of the master planning for this project. Planned transit components for fiscal year 2002 include: Park and Ride lots in Pennsylvania and an express bus route from this lot; improved DTC bus stops and shelters in the Route 202 corridor; enhanced marketing of transit services by DTC and the TMA; and AstraZeneca corporate shuttles to and from the train station and throughout their campus.
Concepts being considered for the future include flexible route neighborhood shuttles; shuttles to the Claymont Station along Foulk Road, and the development of a Transit Center in the area.
Q: What measures are being taken to develop integrated transportation management systems (ITMS, now called DelTrac) in the area?
A: There are several DelTrac measures planned for the short and long term. DelTrac measures already in existence include: electronically coordinated signal systems (except for the Route 141 corridor), video and aerial monitoring systems; traveler advisory radio systems; and real-time website information. Proposed short-term improvements include coordinated signal systems along the Route 141 corridor, information kiosks and transit stop information systems. DelTrac planned for the future includes: transit priority treatment systems, electronic lane use signing system; weather/flood/road monitoring systems, electronic toll collections; and a transportation channel on cable television.
Q: What are the major features of the Recreation Plan?
- The East Side Park features multipurpose fields, a children's playground and garden, picnic areas and shelters, a dog park, interpretation of the Weldin Plantation, and new golfing-related amenities.
- The West Side Park features restoration of the Blue Ball Dairy Barn complex, the development of park paths that provide diverse experiences for hikers, bikers and joggers, and a system of bio-swales and basins to manage stormwater runoff on a regional basis. There are opportunities for environmental education associated with the stormwater management system.
- A greenway trail system will connect the east and west parks via an underpass of Route 202, provide bicycle and pedestrian links to surrounding neighborhoods, and connect the Blue Ball parkland with Brandywine Park and other state parks.
Q: Why are all the active recreation uses on one side of U.S. Route 202?
A: The Recreation and Historic Preservation Committee directed the planners to allocate the active recreation program to the east side of the park. This lets people park their cars once and enjoy several activities; it also maximizes open space by not providing more parking than necessary.
The road system was designed to minimize impacts to both park and regional traffic in adjacent communities and local roads. In fact, the road system separates regional from local traffic for this purpose.
All transportation facilities are designed based on peak-hour traffic projections, which coincide with typical morning and afternoon commuter peak traffic periods. Peak recreation times are typically after the afternoon commuter peak, and on weekends. Therefore, although traffic volumes during those times will be modestly increased, the transportation system will be sufficient to handle those loads.
Q: What are the stated goals of the Recreation Committee?
- Maximize open space to provide for passive and active recreation and environmental protection
- Renovate historic resources, including the Blue Ball Dairy Complex, the Bird Husbands House and the Murphy House, for public use
- Continue the Northern Delaware Greenway system into the Brandywine Hundred area
- Solve the stormwater runoff and flooding issues within the Matson Run basin.
- Develop a road network that serves the public's needs while also maximizing open space and minimizing environmental impact
- Reserve a transit corridor that minimizes impacts to the natural, cultural and historic resources within State parklands
Blue Ball Dairy Barn
Q: Why does the new addition to the Blue Ball Dairy Barn have such a modern appearance?
A: The design of the renovated Blue Ball Dairy Barn generated several comments at the May 6, 2002 public workshop. Some members of the public objected to the modern appearance of the addition to the barn, which was shown as a contemporary two-story glass structure with a barrel vault roof.
While the New Castle County Historic Review Board approved the design of the new addition, some members expressed reservations about the form of the roof. Therefore, DNREC is looking at alternative roof designs that respond to these comments and concerns.
A new addition to a historic building is considered acceptable by the National Park Service's standards if it:
- Preserves significant historic materials and features
Material loss to an external wall of a historic building should be minimized. Damage or destruction of significant materials and craftsmanship such as pressed brick, decorative marble, cast stone, terra-cotta, or architectural metal should be avoided when possible.
- Preserves the historic character
A new addition will always change the size or actual bulk of the historic building. Therefore, the addition must be designed to be "compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character" of the building to which it is attached or its particular neighborhood or district. An addition that does not relate to the proportions and massing of the historic building will usually compromise the historic character as well.
- Protects the historical significance by making a visual distinction between old and new.
The new addition should be different in material, color, and detailing so that the new work does not appear to be part of the historic building. When the new addition is indistinguishable from the old in appearance, then the "real" National Register property may no longer be perceived and appreciated by the public.
The design team for the Blue Ball Dairy Barn project is exploring the alternative roof forms to refine the design so that it is "compatible with the size, scale, color, material, and character" of the barn while "protecting the historical significance by making a visual distinction between old and new."