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Tiverton Crossings: Traffic Study Changes

The developer has submitted a revised traffic study that is 315 pages long, yet traffic issues continue to be a major problem.

1.      Their previous traffic study stated there would be an average of 24,880 car trips each and every weekday (page 15). That is an addition of over 9,000,000 car trips per year directly as a result of this mall/development.    Their new study no longer mentions the amount of average daily car trips, but investigation into the details reveals the daily numbers are now even higher. In the new study, the amount of projected traffic after the development is built has actually increased over their last study by almost 20% at some intersections. This means the developer proposes adding over 10,000,000 car trips per year to just one half mile of Main Road and Fish Road, where they intersect with Route 24, the main access point for all Tiverton and Little Compton residents to travel in and out of town.

2.      Christmas and Other Holiday Traffic: The developer’s modified traffic study does not mention holiday traffic or its effect on our roads. As a matter of fact, their new study has a number of “Institute of Transportation Engineers/ITE Site Trip Generation Worksheets” (see handout) for the amount of traffic created specifically by the development, broken down into new traffic created by the restaurants vs. apartments vs. retail spaces, etc. For all of the ITE Worksheets titled “Retail,” it states “non-Christmas” at the top. But there are no worksheets that indicate the amount of “Christmas” traffic. Why are there no “Christmas” ITE worksheets included in this 315-page study?

Shopping areas and malls have a traffic increase of a minimum of 300% during the Christmas and holiday shopping season – from mid-November until early January.

Based on the developer’s projections, this would add over 75,000 car trips PER DAY to existing daily traffic on these primary Tiverton roads.

The developer must deliver the ITE Trip Generation worksheets to the Planning Board that specify “Christmas/holiday” traffic, along with the Levels of Service (LOS) during these time periods.

Until these required items have been delivered to the Planning Board, the town cannot make fully informed decisions as to whether the traffic volumes will remain within safe and acceptable limits throughout the entire year.

3.      Holiday traffic brings up another question: Where will all of these holiday shoppers park? As has already been discussed at a number of Planning Board sessions, there is a very real concern that there may not be enough parking at the development (even though there are already over 2,500 parking spaces planned), and that shoppers may resort to parking on Souza Road. It was discussed that this cannot be allowed to happen, and that “no parking” signs and police patrols would be required to make sure shoppers do not park on Souza Road because of the increased traffic due to the development. But, as of yet, no one seems to have taken into account “holiday traffic” parking. Where will all of these tens of thousands of cars per day park during the holiday season? Without adequate parking to accommodate the 300%+ increase in traffic during the holiday season, cars WILL back up onto Route 24 and the Sakonnet Bridge, and will create gridlock on these major roads in our town. 

4.      There is so much traffic coming from Aquidneck Island that the developer proposes changing the Route 24 northbound exit left turn lane into two dedicated left turn lanes to Main Road northbound. So even they recognize the fact that traffic will more than likely back up onto the Sakonnet Bridge, creating a very dangerous situation on one of the state’s busiest bridges. They also propose expanding Main Road northbound from one lane to two lanes from that exit to Sakonnet Bay Manor, then back down to one lane for a quarter of a mile to their main entrance to the development. Unfortunately, this reduction of two lanes down to one lane is proposed to be where the Route 24 southbound exit to Main Road northbound is. So, there would be a reduction of three lanes of traffic down to one lane. This is guaranteed to back up tremendous amounts of traffic on Main Road and therefore also on Route 24, both northbound and southbound.

Even the Fiscal Impact Analysis  by Wimborne and Summertree states “The largest impact is increased traffic to the roadways surrounding the proposed development.”

In the document titled “Ordinance Number 2014 - An ordinance in amendment of the Tiverton Zoning Ordinance,” Section G - Prohibited Uses, it is stated that a “prohibited use” includes: "Nuisance,” which is specifically defined as “to essentially interfere unreasonably with the comfortable enjoyment of life.” I state to the Planning Board that the amount of traffic that this plan would create is very clearly a Nuisance to the townspeople of Tiverton, as it interferes with “the comfortable enjoyment of life” and is therefore clearly a “Prohibited Use.”

Due to the issues mentioned above, along with many, many of other fact-based reasons, I strongly urge the Planning Board to reject the developer’s application to erect this massive development in our town.

Thank you

Bruce Hathaway   12/17/14 

 

Additional Concerns: 

1.      The developer has continued to use their incorrect “Existing Traffic Data” from their last traffic study. Page 6 of their new study states “no changes were made to existing conditions…the existing conditions remain unchanged.”  However, as was presented in detail at previous Planning Board meetings, their traffic study for existing conditions was conducted on June 27, 2013 - the very first day of school summer vacation. So, their study does not take into account school buses, and all of the traffic they create, especially during the morning rush hour, and in the afternoon from 12:15 to 3:45, which are high traffic count times for their development. School buses do not just create traffic when they stop, but traffic builds up behind them as they make their many stops, especially on Main Road.  Also, there are 8 bus stops on Main Road between Route 24 and their proposed main entrance to the development, 4 in the morning during rush hour traffic, and 4 in the afternoon, 2 during lunch hour traffic. The fact that the developer did not include this school bus traffic, which we live with 10 months out of the year, is a fatal error for their study, because all of their future projected traffic is built on top of their reported existing traffic. They have built their traffic study on top of a faulty data source. The only way to correct this is to measure traffic during morning rush hours and lunch hours on days that the school buses are running as normal.

2.      The developer plans to put in a regional conference center with a large tent that would be erected near Main Road for conferences, weddings and other large gatherings. There are 3 major issues with the proposed tent plan:

a.       The tent will be clearly visible from Main Road for over 6 months of the year. Do the townspeople like the idea of having our town look like a semi-permanent circus from our Main Road?

b.      Paving stones: the developer has told the TPB that in order to create more green space in this development, they would have a paver and grass parking area with 200 spaces at the restaurant conference center.  Most people attending conferences and weddings are wearing dress shoes and high heels. Does the developer really think that wedding attendees will want to walk through dirt and mud on their way into a wedding or conference? This is another example of their inexperience with these types of developments

c.       And finally: By definition, a tent is “a collapsible shelter of fabric (as nylon or canvas) stretched and sustained by poles and used for camping outdoors or as a temporary building.” It is not a soundproof structure. Weddings and conferences by their very nature have large sound systems, with DJs and live bands, which can be very loud. In the document titled “Ordinance Number 2014-An ordinance in amendment of the Tiverton Zoning Ordinance”, Section G, Prohibited Uses, it is stated that a “prohibited use” includes: "Nuisance,” which is specifically defined as “to essentially interfere unreasonably with the comfortable enjoyment of life.” The amount of traffic and noise and pollution that this plan would create is very clearly a Nuisance to the townspeople of Tiverton, as it interferes with “the comfortable enjoyment of life” and is therefore clearly a Prohibited Use. For this reason alone the plan should be rejected.

3.      For those on the Planning Board and residents that are not aware: there is an ongoing series of thefts of Don’t Mall Tiverton signs from dozens of Tiverton homes. These signs cost time and money to make and post. The taking of these signs is theft of personal property from private property, a criminal charge.  So, crime is already increasing, and the mall isn’t even here yet…

4.      Whether you are currently for or against this mall and development, all Planning Board members and Tiverton residents should visit the website “dontmalltiverton.org” to get more information in order to get a more detailed view of both the proposed development and the history of the developer, including their troubled legal past with other towns in Rhode Island. Please visit this website at least once a week, as updates are posted several times a week.


Traffic Study Impacts of Tiverton Crossings Mall

This proposed mall, including big box stores, a hotel, and a regional conference center, is being proposed for Tiverton between Main and Fish Roads, and Souza Road and Route 24.

 

Here is a short summary of the changes the developer proposes to make to Tiverton’s Roads for their mall:

 

o    3 new traffic lights would be added on Main Road between Route 24 and Souza Road (all within a quarter mile of each other)

o    3 new traffic lights would be added on Fish Road, between Route 24 and Souza Road (again, all with a quarter mile of each other).

o    The main entrance to the mall would be at the curve next to 1148 Main Road.  There is currently a yellow sign there indicating the  "Mall Entrance."

o    3 mall entrances are planned for Souza Road. These would be secondary entrances. 

o    The Route 24 northbound exit onto Main Road would be enlarged to include 2 dedicated left turn lanes.

o    The Main Road northbound overpass over Route 24 would have 2 full travel lanes plus a left turn lane.

 

Details

 

This development would generate 24,880 car trips per day, on average, per the developer’s own submitted plans.

 

Each and every one of these 24,880 car trips will travel over a very short distance of Tiverton Roads, either from Route 24/Fish Road to Souza Road or from Route 24/Main Road to the development entryway.  Each of these approaches is less than a quarter of a mile from Route 24.  So, this would add almost 25,000 car trips per day over less than a half mile of the roads that are Tiverton’s (and Little Compton’s) main access points to Route 24.

 

There is so much projected traffic coming from Aquidneck Island that they propose changing the 24 northbound exit left turn lane onto Main Road into 2 dedicated left turn lanes.  The developer hopes  that this will prevent traffic from backing up on the Sakonnet River Bridge. However, the exit ramp is not long enough to accommodate the projected volume of traffic and we will end up with a very dangerous situation on one of the state's busiest bridges

 

Then there is the holiday shopping traffic.  Shopping areas and malls have a traffic increase of a minimum of 300% during the holiday shopping season from mid-November until early January. What will it be like when we add over 75,000 car trips to existing daily traffic on these primary Tiverton roads?  The developer has not even addressed holiday traffic volume in their traffic impact study.

 

Also, we currently have only 3 active traffic lights on Main Road, and they span over 8 miles. The mall plan doubles that number to 6 traffic lights on Main Road, and adds the 3 new Main Road lights within a quarter mile of each other. Given the existing traffic light at the intersection of Main Road and Route 24 North, that would mean we would have 4 traffic lights in a little over a quarter of a mile on Main Road. They also want to add 3 new traffic lights on Fish Road, all within a quarter mile of each other.

 

This is a higher density of traffic lights than can be found in Middletown, Swansea, Dartmouth, and even Seekonk. Does the town of Tiverton really want a higher density of traffic lights than these urban shopping areas?

   

 

 

Last modified: January 24, 2016