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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Council asks alternate plan for Dollar General traffic

  • Although the traffic plan for a proposed Dollar General store in Hawley might technically work, that assumes everyone is driving the speed limit when rounding the blind curve just down Route 6 from the store site.
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  • Although the traffic plan for a proposed Dollar General store in Hawley might technically work, that assumes everyone is driving the speed limit when rounding the blind curve just down Route 6 from the store site.
        Hawley Council, on April 9, received another informal presentation from Jason Raleigh of Hurley & Stewart, LLC, an architectural firm based in Kalamazoo, Michigan. The firm is doing the design work for the major chain discount retailer. Dollar General wants to put the store on the vacant lot at the corner of Electric Street and Route 6, next door to Renee's Hair Salon and across the highway from Timely Treasures. The site is just east of the Hawley Silk Mill where Route 6 makes a curve as it heads down the hill.
        Serious reservations were expressed by Council members as well as members of the public who live nearby, over the plan to allow tractor trailer deliveries to and from the store, utilizing Electric Street. The concern is the possibility of an accident, with the sight distance and speed motorists are known to do, despite the 25 mph limit, as well as tractor trailer delivery trucks encroaching on the centerline.
      (There is some unclarity given the posted limit signs. Heading west on 6, just before Electric Street, the speed limit is marked 25 mph, as well as when rounding the curve towards downtown. Heading east on 6, the only sign in the immediate area before Electric Street is a yellow sign indicating the turn and a suggested "30 mph". Then, east of Electric close to Pines Tavern on 6 is a sign for 40 mph. There is nothing to require going only 25 mph east on 6 past the proposed Dollar General, and Electric Street.)
        Originally Hurley & Stewart, LLC discussed use of a 67-foot tractor trailer for making the deliveries, which raised Borough concerns over making the turns on and off of Route 6. At the April Planning Commission meeting, this was downgraded to a 50-foot truck, which raised some hopes.  Raleigh reported, however, that he has learned Dollar General no longer uses a 50-foot truck, but instead, a 62-foot version was asked.
       He used road diagrams to show how this truck could make the turns, which still would momentarily cross over the center line. The 900-foot sight distance to the curve and grade is adequate, he said, to make the turn, which in all would take only "seconds."
        He stated that it was Dollar General's position that this access plan is commonly done for store locations in cities, and hoped that they could move forward with the plan.
       Although not ideal, Raleigh said, he stressed encroaching on the centerline is typical. "You don't design intersections for a truck like that," he said.
    Page 2 of 3 - ••• Take it to PennDOT
       Council President Don Kyzer insisted that he take the proposal to PennDOT. "I won't accept it otherwise," he stated. The Borough, he said, can't give permission to enter Route 6, a state highway. State approval is needed.
       Mary Sanders, Council Vice-president, said that the Hawley Silk Mill developers could have argued the sight distance, but went to PennDOT and came up with a turning lane. She said Council has asked three businesses to go to PennDOT, and each time a plan was worked out.
        "When your truck comes out, there's nowhere to go around the truck," Sanders said.
        Raleigh said that to make the suggested improvements at the intersection, with curb cuts, parking would be taken away and the road would have to be r-aligned. "I know the developer says that won't happen," Raleigh said.  
        Raleigh reminded that the truck delivery would only be once a week, in off-peak hours and take only "a matter of minutes." What is meant by "off-peak" still needs clarification.
       He said Dollar General really wants to come to Hawley but has exhausted all their options, and would not want to invest another $40,000 to $50,000.
    ••• Avoid Electric Street
        Lou Cozza, who works for Kiley Associates, the Borough's engineering firm and is on the Planning Commission, suggested Dollar General could avoid Electric Street altogether. Instead, a new access could be made onto 6, by cutting into the embankment.
       Borough Solicitor Robert Bernathy told Raleigh that Council would consider anything Raleigh would wish to present, and asked for assurances on the delivery time. Deliveries made when traffic is light would alleviate some safety concerns.
       If Electric Street is used, the developer will have to get a permit from PennDOT, Bernathy said. "Our hands are tied," he added.
        Raleigh stated that the developer doesn't see the need to go to PennDOT for a permit, saying deliveries made in other locations have the same turning issues.
       Citizens in the audience expressed concerns over traffic.
    ••• 'We live here and we know'
       Linda Arnold, who lives on Woodland Avenue behind the proposed site, said she had an accident leaving Electric onto 6. "Nobody does 25 mph," she said. "Therein lies the problem."
       Raleigh replied, "We can't fix that people don't follow the law." He said the developer looked at clearing the right-of-way to address the concern.
       "We live here and we know," Arnold said. "It's not good there at all."
        Mike Rizzi of Welwood Avenue advised asking PennDOT to put in a traffic light, which would make traffic stop. He said he has seen or heard many accidents in that area. Lou Cozza, however, added that the state would not consider a regular traffic light because the traffic volume is not great enough.
    Page 3 of 3 -   Cozza said he didn't know if a blinking caution light would be considered.
       Jerry Arnold of Woodland Avenue expressed concern that people leaving the store would seek to avoid Electric Street to get back to Route 6 and instead would turn right, to Woodland Avenue and make the way down to 6 another way (such as on Fern Street). Traffic could greatly increase through the quiet neighborhood. Gene Krause suggested that this could be prevented by a sign prohibiting a right-hand turn when leaving the store onto Electric.
       Councilman Martin Cox, the last to add input on the matter, also summed up the feeling.
       "There is a difference between line of sight and reality," Cox said. "You may meet the specifications of the Commonwealth but not of this town."
       Cox said that this section of Route 6 is "very dangerous" and something one might not realize without living here. The current plan, he said, is "fraught with disaster," adding, "if there is some way to mitigate using Electric, I think we'd have a different take on it."
        
      
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