Flood Fact of the Day

Day 5 in a Series


(When is More Less)

Quoting from the Traffic and Parking Study by Boles, Smyth Associates, Inc., April 1997

"The major sources of the AM congestion originate at the I-76 interchange with Green Lane/Belmont Avenue." "The I-76 interchange problem results in a mile long backup across the river bridge and radiating north to Domino Lane, south to Cotton Street and east to Silverwood Street."

The only access to two of the three proposed developments is right into the mile long backup to Domino Lane. With 700 cars per hour already going through that intersection in the morning rush hour(s), these developments will increase traffic 15 to 20%. This is the Main Street/Leverington intersection.

"Congestion also occurs at the Ridge Avenue/Main Street intersection" "[This] problem area results in backups on Ridge Avenue to Hermit Street and on Main Street to Shurs Lane".

The third development gets a choice. They can go left and join the crowd at Green Lane or they can turn right and join the crowd at Ridge Avenue. If half of them joined the 1100 cars per hour over the Green Lane Bridge traffic would increase there by 10%.

All together the proposed developments could increase traffic at the Green Lane Bridge by 30%.

The intersections are already far beyond saturated and they are proposing to dump another 1000 or so cars into the morning rush hour.

The City Planning Commission (CPC) used "Planning Analysis" numbers to show that with FAR of 1.0 (One square foot of floor space for each square foot of land) the Main Street/Leverington intersection would be "at capacity"--REALITY CHECK! Look at the real numbers from the Traffic and Parking Study! Go stand at the intersection! I guess a one-mile backup is still below capacity. Then, having convinced themselves that a FAR of 1.0 would put the intersection "at capacity", they increased the FAR to 1.35, pushing the intersection over capacity even in their "paper" world.

While admitting that there was more congestion in the weekday mornings, the CPC chose Saturday afternoon for their analysis because "that is the traffic period for which the most complete traffic counts are available."

CPC dismissed the morning backup because it was "caused by backups from the other end of the bridge" and by further concluding that this was "a condition which should be improved in the near future by traffic signalization changes there." So while they expect signalization changes to improve the condition they do not suggest that the congestion will be eliminated or even significantly reduced..

And finally, they point out that residential use generates three times as many trips as light industrial. Commercial, recreational, cultural, and light industrial were the preferred uses in Manayunk Neighborhood Council's draft plan.

And finally, some points to ponder.

Toffey, William E.,"Philadelphia's River Resources", Philadelphia City Planning Commission, Philadelphia, June 1982.

1982 - A report issued on behalf of the Philadelphia City Planning Commission recommends that the best use for Venice Island is public access to the Schuylkill River and river oriented recreation. Habitat preservation, riverfront restoration, and floodplain control are major foci of the report. Industries that cannot come up to floodplain control codes should be encouraged to relocate elsewhere in the City, and their Island sites be returned to open space. (Toffey, pp. 137-144) Of significance is a statement that "[t]he most significant environmental constraint on riverfront development is potential flooding and the damage it can do." (Toffey, p. 116)

In a letter dated November 2 1999 from Barbara Kaplan, Executive Director of City Planning Commission, to Liz Turella, President of Manayunk Neighborhood Council,

"In closing, I would like to remind you that any zoning legislation must have the support of both the residential and business segments of the community in order to be enacted by City Council and the Mayor, The Planning Commission and it's staff have no personal stake in the Venice Island zoning legislation except to ensure "the orderly growth and development of the area" as required in the City Charter. To accomplish this goal, it is essential that we strike a balance between the needs and aspirations of the residential community with those of the business community. In this spirit, we look forward to receiving your comments."