another fairy tale for malvern? proceed with caution.

Sorry, jaded skeptic checking in.  I just saw an article about Malvern in Main Line Suburban Life  and “train station redevelopment”.

And yes the loyal friend TOD (transit oriented development.) TOD is not a one-sized fits all band-aid  in ALL areas.

OMG already have the t-shirt on what THIS does to an old-fashioned  main street oriented community.

Malvern Borough residents be watchful and not too gullible.  Once upon a time they told this tale in Lower Merion Township for Ardmore, PA.  Flash forward  about ten years and what do they have? Nothing.

No train station (although Jim Gerlach gave them $6 million towards it)

Ardmore DOES have a confounding zoning overlay that cost a pretty penny but really has not gone anywhere called must (Mixed Use Special Transit often nicknamed More Unfair Special Treatment.)

Ardmore has a redevelopment plan of mythic proportions and a developer to build…only years later the developer’s contract keeps getting extended, this all costs loads of taxpayer monies (although there has never been a very specific accounting), and there is nothing to show for it.  Many file this project which grew out of the defeat of eminent domain for private gain as a failure, government waste and boondoggle.

Malvern has already bit off a rather large project on East King (I have written about Malvern development before including HERE). This is not an economy for full steam ahead, it is proceed with caution.  In this economy you do not necessarily make money to spend money. You need to be careful and realistic.  Saying residents of rural areas and exurbs will suddenly forgo their cars and SUVs to take public transit  out here is inconvenient at best is just silly. Are all people going to take the train or walk to the farmers market being discussed for 2013 in Malvern?

So my thoughts (in part having lived through this garbage where I used to live) is not to throw the baby out with the bath water, but to go SLOWLY.  Finish one project at a time.

New Urbanism Utopia for Malvern is a little too much of a fairy tale for me. And Malvern had better figure out if it can handle the density when the East King Street project is complete versus just layering more on.

Let us be real: Malvern in a small community not too far away from what could be considered rural.  People need their vehicles.  I do not see Paoli local stops on roads like Swedesford and 401 and Pottstown Pike or Phoenixville Pike.

You will never see the  communities out here  turn into ones that don’t use their cars and the trade-off near the already congested town center of Malvern Borough for increased density is not worth it in my humble opinion.  You keep adding people, they aren’t going to live out here without a vehicle.  Where will everyone park?  I don’t see that the redevelopment in progress addresses the need for parking sufficiently.

And learn the lesson of insufficient ratables from the East King project.

Residents of Malvern Borough, now is the time to pay attention.  For some reason your community seems to be easy pickings for new development. I am not saying progress is bad, but you need to remember what kind of town you are and that is not Wayne and not West Chester.  Malvern is small, like Narberth.  Look to a community like Narberth.  Or even Ambler.  Embrace the small town of it all. Don’t let people talk you into what you never successfully will be.

Here is the article:

Train station redevelopment project pitched to Malvern residents

Published: Monday, October 01, 2012

BY Brent Glasgow
bglasgow@journalregister.com

MALVERN – Residents had a chance to provide input on the borough’s future on Tuesday, at an informational workshop on a transit-oriented development plan that could eventually alter the landscape of the community.

Sponsored by Malvern Borough with support from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the workshop introduced the concept of redeveloping the area within a half-mile radius of the Malvern train station.

Presenter Jeff Riegner, from the design firm of Whitman, Requardt and Associates, defined transit-oriented development as “compact, mixed-use, walk-friendly development around a train station.”

The project could include retail, residential and office development.

Allowing residents to leave their cars at home is a priority in TOD plans. Riegner said doing so leads to fewer roadway expansion projects, while giving commuters more options and raising air quality and home values.

“It really is a small-town idea and fits really well in a community like Malvern,” Riegner said.

There is no TOD plan currently in place for Malvern.

2 thoughts on “another fairy tale for malvern? proceed with caution.

  1. Same scenario is happening in all Philly area towns, especially boroughs deemed First Suburbs. Planners have decided they are old and are preying on them under guise of ‘redevelopment’ which sounds good, but then nothing happens. Like you noted, where is all the grant money going? Jenkintown just got rezoned for six story, 800K for sewer increase (when the system is perfectly fine), 7 streets in 1/2 sq mile town set aside as group home eligible w/o notifying property owners, actually passed a re-definiation of the meaning of “family”, training their managers at First Suburbs/Build One PA events at tax payer expense, closed an uptown elementary school. Harleysville proposing the closure of its uptown elementary school. Township planning commissions seem to have been infilitrated by planners from Del Val Regional Planning Commission. DVRPC was started to manage bridges and roads, but you will not find the word “car” on their website, they are anti-car! Google Stanley Kurtz’s burning down the suburbs, or democratsagainstunagenda21.com, explains all these fed Sustainable Development initiatives they’re following. Next up Connections 2035!
    http://gastongazette.com/county-still-too-suspicious-to-join-connect-program-1.18710

  2. Don’t forget about development farther out no one needs. Little Conestoga Rd area because why grow crops when you can grow rows and rows of plastic houses ? And has anyone else heard Toll Bro is sniffing around out at the fabled Bryn Coed estate? That land is mostly in West Vincent, right? Can you imagine hundreds of boxes dotting that beautiful landscape? No offense to those who live in places like Springfield Delaware County or Bensalem, but that isn’t where we want to be. How do we stop developers from ruining Chester county ?

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