east goshen responds to right to know request on 352 and king intersection improvements

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UPDATE 5/3/2019: Today I received a US Mail reply to my Right To Know submitted on 4/23/2019 to PennDOT which was identical to my requests of East Goshen and East Whiteland.

This is why people believe in conspiracy theories.  What any of us have asked for should be simple, right? We live in one of the two municipalities contemplating intersection changes , we live in Chester County, this has SORT OF been being discussed mostly out of the public view for a couple of years, right? (I can’t say intersection improvements any longer since two out of the three parties seem hell bent on hiding from the public what is going on and why?)

Well as per the response from PennDOT well,  they also want additional time to contemplate their bureaucratic navels…letter very similar to East Whiteland’s response so I guess this is going to be a thing?

I am thinking it already is a “thing” since someone I think of as a total social media blowhard (they are not someone I would chose to have in my circle in real life and removed them from a social media group for essentially harassing and haranguing myself and anyone else who didn’t agree with his limited view of the world and life as we know it) has been bandying about my name in vain again. 

Apparently myself and others concerned about this because a roundabout/circle WOULD have to mean eminent domain are essentially drama queens and everyone should remain calm and informed. He claims to be Master of the Universe and to have been having conversations with “one of the players”?  My, my, my is it one of the “players” resisting a Right to Know? Sure hope not because that might be a problem if they won’t discuss this with all residents but will discuss it with select residents? He also says he personally will see that this project gets the attention it deserves. Excellent, right?

I will note that I did not originate discussion on this topic, neighbors closer to him did. 

Here is what PennDOT said: 

PA DOT RTK p 1

PA DOT RTK p 2

UPDATE 4/27/2019: Today  I signed for certified mail from East Whiteland Township regarding my right to know request on the proposed yet somehow TOP SECRET intersection improvement plans for King Rd and Sproul/N.Chester/352 which may or may not end up being a circle or roundabout which in turn could mean eminent domain to gather the necessary land.  I have redacted personal data from the Right to Know, but basically they sent me BUPKIS.  While I appreciate the timeliness of their response (because PENNdot has completely ignored me), I do not understand how East Goshen can send me LOTS of information, and East Whiteland nothing…BUPKIS? 

I also had a comment to this blog which I forwarded onto PENNdot for comment and …well…BUPKIS… I am finding this whole situation curiouser and curiouser.  

Here is what I am adding to this post:

RTK 4.27.19 redactedcomment

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ORIGINAL POST: 

 

The other day I wrote a post about the proposed intersection improvements at King Road and Route 352/Sproul/N. Chester Rd.  I also submited Right to Know requests to East Goshen Township, East Whiteland Township, and PennDOT.  The reason I did that is this whole issue has been sort of out there at different times over the past couple of years that I have been aware of, only most residents feel completely in the dark.  Especially homeowners that would be the most potentially and directly affected and how is that fair to them?

And people feel the municipalities are to blame for the intersection issues because of all of the development approved and continuing to be approved which is incredibly hard on the infrastructure and so on. Failing intersections like these can be directly connected to increased volume thanks to increased development, correct?

March 2018 3 EGTI am vehemently opposed to one of the ideas floating around – a roundabout or “circle” because in order to have it be the right size, people will undoubtedly lose their properties and homes via eminent domain.

I am not sure what I will get out of East Whiteland, and PennDOT did not even acknowledge I contacted them and the head Mahatma Leslie Richards was cc’d.  But I was not impressed with her when she was a Montgomery County Commissioner and figured she was a political payback from Wolf when he was elected to his first term as Governor in PA. (But I digress)

However, I did get a response from East Goshen.  Their manager is very fair to deal with.  Here is what I was told:

I am in receipt of your right to know  request of April 22, 2019

At their meeting on February 19, the East Goshen of Supervisor accepted the February 5, 2019 proposal from McMahon to develop a conceptual  design plan for a roundabout and update the cost  information.  We received the report on March 28, 2019 and are currently working with East Whiteland to set up a  joint meeting to  roll out the  project.  The links below will take you to the agenda for the February 19 meeting and the minutes.

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/2019-02-19_Board-of-Supervisors-Agenda-for-web.pdf

https://eastgoshen.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/BOS-Mins-2-19-19-FINAL.pdf

How the project will be funded has not been determined at this time. There are several federal and state grant programs available and the links to  two of  them are  below.

https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/fastact/factsheets/cmaqfs.cfm

https://www.penndot.gov/ProjectAndPrograms/MultimodalProgram/Pages/default.aspx

Based on past  experience I would add that:

1)      All of these grant programs a very competitive.  

2)      State and federal grant money comes with a lot of strings and red tape attached.

3)      The Township  will have to fund some of the project costs.

4)      While it is possible to receive grant money for engineering and construction; you  typically have a better chance if the project is shovel ready.

Call if  you have any  additional  questions.

3 Attachments

2019-03-28_Nagel_ Smith_Feasibility

Executed 020519 Proposal

Memo to BoS 021419

Because a roundabout or circle would drastically affect around the Lockwood Chase development, I am including the photos below:

2 circlecircle area

Here is the video of the East Goshen meeting referenced above:

I will note that since 2015, articles have occasionally been appearing about how New Jersey is REMOVING circles.

Someone wrote to me from East Goshen:

Go to the Wegmans in Frazer/Malvern and see how good circles work! They SUCK. When we lived in northern Chesco and used Hares Hill Road between 724 and 113, we had 3 “4 way stops”, and a one lane bridge. even during rush hrs everyone would do the every other car thing. Circles don’t invite such nice driving habits.

As a matter of fact since I wrote my first post on this topic, the conversation on it has been coming at a fast and furious pace. And the consensus is (1) the townships are not discussing this enough with the public and should be more forthcoming (especially East Whiteland), (2) those who live around the intersection and in these townships do NOT want a circle or roundabout, they was signalization which would make each side of the intersection go one at a time and (3) the only people in favor of the circles and roundabouts don’t necesarily live in either East Goshen or East Whiteland Townships.

One of the things I wonder about is if either township has taken the temperature of Immaculata and Villa on this because buses have a crazy impossible time with circles and roundabouts and these academic institutions have many school buses daily and the big coach buses that transport visiting collegiate sports teams. And a lot of trucks also have issue with circles and roundabouts.

I will also note that if you are concerned, contact East Whiteland and East Goshen, preferably in writing.  If you submit a Right To Know, you may find the following helpful:

“The Right-to-Know law has an express presumption that all records in possession of government agencies are public. However, there are more than 30 exemptions that allow agencies to deny access. There are two critical things to understand about exemptions An agency’s use of an exemption is discretionary; they are not required to deny access just because they can. There are other state laws that mandate secrecy but the Right-to-Know law does not. The legal burden of proving the legitimacy of the exemption falls to the government, not the requestor. In the years since the passage of the Right-to-Know law in 2008, significant case law has been developed, so it is critical to do some legal research on any specific exemption.” http://pafoic.org/right-to-know-law-exceptions/#ex22

If anyone else responds to my Right to Know I will continue to update my readers.  I will close with sharing my friend Tim’s presentation to East Whiteland recently:

dear east whiteland and east goshen: we need a little “sunshine” about shared intersection improvements at king and 352.

352 and king

For a while (as in at least a couple of years by my estimation), we’ve been hearing about the potential of intersection inprovements at Route 352/N. Chester Rd/Sproul Rd and King Road.

Mentions of it have shown up in reports in East Goshen and East Whiteland. It even showed up in an East Goshen newsletter in 2017.

March 2018 3 EGT

But what we as residents of these two townships have been hearing lately is disturbing.  A traffic circle.  Personally I hate them.  That is not why I find it disturbing, however.  What disturbs me is to build/construct a traffic circle land has to be taken. Taking as in eminent domain.  So who is on board exactly as a resident with this?

March 20018 2

 

How many residents in these municipalities, would lose land and/or their homes? I certainly wouldn’t be o.k. with that.  Would you? So if the traffic circle happened, potentially would Lockwood Chase development residents be o.k. with the historic marker sign for Battle of the Clouds being moved as well as whose homes might have to go by byes?

And what of my friend Tim and others who might be looking at some kind on GINORMOUS retaining wall?

There is not much information the public can look at.  I will be honest and tell you I have put in Right to Know Requests for East Whiteland and East Goshen about this project, and I encourage others to do so as well…especially if you live closer to ground zero for proposed intersection improvements. I fully expect them to deny a lot of what I asked for, but I am asking anyway.  If they say they won’t on the basis of real estate, that to me would be an indicator as to the truth of plans that include eminent domain.

I do not have a problem with improving the intersection, I have a problem with circles AT THIS LOCATION as I think they are a nightmare and MOST IMPORTANTLY BECAUSE I AM 100% AGAINST EMINENT DOMAIN.

March 2018 EGT

A simple solution of course would be signal improvements which would allow each of the four sides to go individually. (I do not know if I am articulating that properly.)

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I am not a traffic engineer but sometimes simple solutions are the best.

Of course I must also mention that, d’oh, the increasing problems at this intersection has to do with increasing traffic….and a lot of that has to do with ALL of the development out here.

Increased development = increased density = increased traffic = increased burdens on infrastructure.

I think we as residents need to be granted more transparancy as this process progresses.  I do not think we should settle for “don’t worry, we’re working on it.”

Please watch an excerpt of the April 10, 2019 East Whiteland meeting. The excerpt I captured contains public comment on this topic.  I think if you live in East Whiteland or East Goshen or travel through this intersection from other neighboring munipalities on a regular basis you should definintely watch my friend Tim’s presentation.

Residents of East Whiteland and East Goshen together we are stronger.

#NoCircle #NoEminentDomain

no…it wasn’t the easter bunny seen this morning…

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Without fail, every time it is early in the morning or late at night and I am out in my woods and back gardens with dogs in my nightgown, something funny or magical happens. Last night it was a great owl hoot hooting from high a top the trees and this morning? A hot air balloon.

Yep. A hot air balloon. Around 7 AM.  Looks like a solo flight. Not sure where they came down in the end, thought it was going to be the cornfield next to our woods, but they bounced back up and sailed over and onward.  We never get hot air balloons over us so I wonder where they took off from for their Easter morning flight. What we usually get are helicopters (military and helicopter museum variety) and small planes.

I love these balloons.  I have to be distracted until they get up into the sky, but riding in one is such a cool experience.  Our friend Barry has taken us up. ( Here is a link to his website if you wish to go on a balloon ride – he is the owner of the cool American Flag balloon.)

It was so funny this morning. I was one the edge of the woods looking further into the woods and I kept hearing this sound.  Sort of like a big whoosh whoosh.  I looked around, saw nothing. Looked up and there it was, the Easter sunrise balloon.  Given the time I saw them, I would say they went up when the sun was rising and how beautiful that must have been.

To whomever the pilot was, thank you for my Easter surprise.  It was fun watching you float by.

Happy Easter everyone, enjoy the spring day.

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yes, more roses.

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Benjamin Britten Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I don’t know if it was joining a local rose society (Philadelphia Rose Society)  that did it (I am already a many year member of the American Rose Society), or re-writing my rose growing article to reflect how I garden today that did it, but deer or no deer, woods or no woods, I just need more roses.

Roses are my first gardening love. So once again, I have stopped fighting it.  When I evaluated my existing roses it was still winter.  But even then I could see which ones I had lost completely.  And another which had been weakened by black spot. So I ordered two more David Austin‘s own-root bare root which are already planted and starting to sprout growth – Benjamin Britten and England’s Rose.

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England’s Rose courtesy of David Austin Roses

I also decided I wanted rugosas. People think of them as beach roses. You can see them all over, especially New England. They are salt resistant and wind resistant and winter hardy.

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Blanc Double de Coubert.

Now they are among the thorniest of roses and I might well curse them vigorously as they grow BUT hey, they are also naturally vigorously disease resistant (less chemicals yay!)

The prickliness of rugosa roses makes them deer resistant yet friendly to birds and small wildlife.

Rugosa roses are also known for their magnificent rose hips. And people make jam from them.  Rugosas have smaller, more wrinkled and almost leather-like leaves. Native to the coasts of Japan and Korea, I have decided they would fit with some of my other Asian lineage plants in this garden.

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Bayse’s Purple Rose

I decided to go to Heirloom Roses for rugosas. They are located in Oregon. I ordered from them years ago. I don’t think the company is owned by the same people any longer, so I will hope for the best.  I have bought a white rugosa I owned years ago, Blanc Double de Coubert. The second one is Bayse’s Purple Rose.

But always a glutton for punishment, I decided to check out another favorite rose source from days gone by – Antique Rose Emporium.

From Antique Rose Emproium I have bought two more roses. The first is another rugosa named Mary Manners. They describe her thusly:

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Mary Manners

‘Mary Manners’ originated as a white sport of ‘Sarah van Fleet’. It is much more than just another sport though. It’s one of the whitest roses out there and as a Rugosa, you can count on it being a tough landscape shrub. Try using it in place of ‘Iceberg if you have lots of black spot in your area.

They had me at “if you have lots of black spot.”

The other rose sourced from Antique Rose Emporium is a found rose.  Found roses are so much fun.  They are often lost roses discovered by people.  I literally had this book in my garden book library for years called In Search of Lost Roses by Thomas Christopher.  This is about the search for “old roses”–the original breed which all but vanished after 1867, when roses were hybridized.  Not of interest to most people, but I loved it.  I recently found a used copy of the book and am happily reading it again.

So back to the found rose.  It’s from Antique Rose Emporium and is called Caldwell Pink:

caldwell_pink2This everblooming rose, “Caldwell Pink”, is one of the most popular roses with landscape designers in our area. Its double, lilac-pink flowers form clusters that can be seen at a distance, and the compact bush fills out nicely with a minimum of pruning and maintenance. It is not very particular about soil conditions, but prefers a sunny open space. Some rosarians have suggested that this is the old China rose, ‘Pink Pet’, but we feel that it shows traces of wichuraiana or multiflora heritage and fits more naturally in the Polyantha class. The study name comes from a neighboring town, Caldwell, Texas, where this rose was found

I have a bed along the driveway where I am going to rearrange and add in the rugosas. Caldwell Pink will go in a front bed after a bit of rearranging there.

Rearranging. That is all about garden evolution.  As your garden grows, so may your vision of it. So has the case with mine with my roses.  I love my David Austins and I have a monster Queen Elizabeth who was rustled by me a few years ago when a nursery was closing.  They were just going to toss her out. Queen Elizabeth is a Grandiflora and she is a beautiful tall and fragrant pink rose.

I have decided to experiment with found and rugosa roses because of the disease resistance and although super throny, that is a benefit in keeping deer off of them.  But especially with the rugosas they are a rose that as they grow birds love to nest in them and little critters nest below because of the very thorny nature.

My garden is a layered cottage style in front especially, so I need to start experimenting with roses which can be more self-sufficient. And do not require tons of pruning.  Rugosas grow glorious hips so it is a rose you do not have to completely dead head if you so choose. You can allow the spent blooms to go to hips.

In other garden news, black haw viburnums arrived today along with my shag bark hicory seedlings.  I ordered them from GoNative Tree Farm in Lancaster, PA.  They sent me a black gum tree as a present. Black Gums are new to me, so I will have to learn about them and into the rear of the woods it will go.

The last word today are some more current garden photos of my garden. I will note the sky at present is a stark contrast of shades of steely gray with the new green of trees leafing out.  We are definitely getting some weather later.

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april 15, 2019: the day notre dame de paris burned

Photo courtesy of my sister, who literally visited Notre Dame a few short weeks ago.

I was 14 when I saw Notre Dame. A visit to Paris at the end of a summer trip to Strasbourg through I a local historical society- I think at the time it was a historical society in Valley Forge but it has been so many years.

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

On this trip it was teenagers with chaperones and while in Strasbourg we lived with families. That is how I made my life long friend, Marie Claude.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

When in Paris, we stayed in an old but respectable hotel near Gare De L’Ouest and my friend blew the fuses when she plugged in a hair dryer. They were definitely not luxury accommodations but to a bunch of kids it was cool!

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

Now here is a personal fact you wouldn’t expect from me I think: I may be well read, but I am not necessarily well traveled. I have not been to Europe since I was a teenager. Life has just not happened that way.

Photo courtesy of my sister and taken March, 2019

I do remember being in Paris and being overwhelmed because it was so big and busy. I remember doing things like stopping in a grocery for a baguette and cheese and fruit with my friend Lizzie and seeing Notre Dame and part of Versailles.

Photo courtesy of my friend Jane

I do have a bucket list of places I would like to see now that I’m older, but I hadn’t put Paris on it. Maybe I should now. A great deal of my bucket list surrounds the United Kingdom. I want to visit all the gardens I’ve read about and been inspired by over the years, and I want to go to wild places like the Shetland Isles, visit the Highlands of Scotland, see Haverfordwest and parts of Wales, and visit Ireland.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

Notre Dame is indeed a structure and a place which has figured prominently in a sense over the lives of so many people. The centuries of history and what Notre Dame has seen and survived, art history classes, the very symbol of it if you are Catholic.

Notre Dame is just iconic.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

Yesterday to most in the US was just another tax day. Well, maybe not just another tax day because thanks to our current president’s great “tax incentives, tax plans” it was kind of chaotic. And miserable. But that’s not for this post.

I remember I was standing in my kitchen and I had asked Alexa what the news was. I literally dropped a glass in the sink when I heard Notre Dame de Paris was burning.

Photo courtesy of my friend John

When I first turned on the TV all the US channels of major networks had game shows and the equivalent on air. So I turned to the BBC channel for news and pretty much remained riveted there for hours.

BBC: Notre-Dame: Massive fire ravages Paris cathedral

Notre Dame has survived centuries of war. Only on April 15, 2019 it has nearly burned to the ground. The news this morning is good, and already money is being raised for her restoration and rebuilding. But I can’t help but wonder all that has been lost while I marvel at the miracle of what was saved.

BBC: Notre-Dame fire: Millions pledged to rebuild cathedral

Here we are in one of the holiest weeks of the year. Are we supposed to learn the lesson that with endings there are new beginnings once again? I don’t know. But I have photos taken by my sister and my friends Jane and John to share with all of you. Enjoy the majesty that is Notre Dame de Paris and say a prayer for her restoration.

Photo courtesy of my friend John