the dance around eminent domain and other tales from the king road/route 352 meeting

The residents of East Whiteland, East Goshen, and elsewhere should be proud. You guys showed up for your communities and neighbors.

In spite of other committee meetings at East Whiteland and East Goshen (zoning and planning I think? Not sure which meeting where), Immaculata’s Great Hall was literally bursting at the seams for the King Rd and Route 352 meeting last night. (Thank you to Immaculata by the way, what an awesome space!)

It was a contentious meeting at times. East Whiteland Supervisors Chair Sue Drummond set the tone by her opening remarks and attitude. Dear readers, she might not like my opinion because she knows I do not care for her but it happens to be the truth. She opened the meeting with snippy acerbic comments about what residents were going to be allowed to say and not say do and not do and that’s kind of the Cliff Notes version but she was well...obnoxious. She seems to have forgotten for whom she works…the residents! And oh by the way? Me thinks the lady supervisor doth protesteth too much. (Just sayin’)  Also at ends of meeting shouldn’t a politician make sure no offending residents are left within ear shot? I was standing there with another resident and “the PennDOT guy.”

I know the video is not the best quality and the township also recorded it, but I felt it was important, very important to get it out there.  State level elected officials sent representatives although they did not stay for the entire meeting. This YouTube is a recording of the 3 hours we Facebooked live last night. I will try to get the rest of it loaded. Some media was present as well.

I am completely against a traffic circle, roundabout, or whatever clever marketing term you prefer.  It will mean eminent domain.  Eminent domain is ugly and your home is your castle in this country until some government entity wants to take your land. ANY ELECTED OFFICIAL WHO CHOSES EMINENT DOMAIN NEEDS TO BE PUT OUT OF OFFICE WHENVER THEIR TERM OF OFFICE IS UP.

Last night residents asked over and over again for elected officials to say NO to the use of eminent domain.  East Goshen remained eerily silent but East Whiteland politicians sort of danced a dance.  So did the gentleman from McMahon associates who go quite the grilling from potentially affected residents. He got very defensive at times.

Listening to resident after resident it became abundantly clear that the consensus is NO EMINENT DOMAIN.  And for THREE hours those leading the meeting would do anything other that say the words EMINENT DOMAIN.  They referred to “slivers”, you know like they were sneak slicing bits of pound cake or a pie or something? If you can’t say the words “EMINENT DOMAIN” then obviously on some level it bothers you so East Whiteland and East Goshen Supervisors why not just take a pledge to NOT use eminent domain?

[Follow this link (as in click on it) for everything residents have obtained via Right to Know requests thus far.]

Things I find perplexing from the meeting includes how for 95% of the meeting East Whiteland Supervisor Chair Sue Drummond kept announcing how while she was not sure of East Goshen’s timeline, the East Whiteland Supervisors would decide next week —the East Whiteland Board of Supervisors meets NEXT Wednesday, June 12 at 7 PM and if you are concerned about this project you need to attend this meeting as well.  Public comment still belongs to the residents.

OK that is cray cray right? Except for those of us who have been dogging this topic, how many people knew about this? And to send residents a letter within the last two weeks which one would presume mentions slivers…err eminent domain as a potential, what the hell is up with that?

By the end of the meeting East Whiteland Supervisor Sue Drummond was saying she had conferred with her colleagues and well maybe they would wait for the July to vote?

Again what the hell is up with that? Does July mean when people are on vacation? After all doesn’t everyone know that a favorite trick of government and traffic counters is to do what they do at weird times of the year and/or holidays?

They have been tossing this idea around of at least intersection improvements for years, so what is a few more months of study with residents fully and openly engaged? And how can they use traffic issues on Carol Lane and Summit as justification for the potential of a traffic circle? How do they NOT understand that would cause MORE cut through traffic over there?

And if the politicians  say they don’t really want a traffic circle then why didn’t they say last night “there we showed you a circle, but we aren’t going to do that”? The cannot be a little bit pregnant here. They need to be definitive, which of course some politicians have a difficult time with because it affects talking out of both sides of their mouths, right?

And the presentation was flawed. Residents pointed out things on what was presented like how some wouldn’t literally be able to get out of their driveways.  Some people speaking were heartbreaking.  All they wanted to know is why these supervisors hadn’t let them know in some cases sooner this was a possibility and what would happen to their homes they worked so hard for?

I will note again that East Goshen was oddly silent through a lot of the meeting.  I will also note that residents pointed out how the land taking would basically occur in East Whiteland if it occurred.

As they spoke of traffic counts and studies last night, I could once again hear the wise words of one of my favorite Commissioners once upon a time in Lower Merion Township.  He quipped in comments at one meeting where some members of township staff and certain commissioners were trying to justify the results of a traffic study that was done either around a holiday or in the dog days of August before school started “When it comes to traffic studies, you get what you pay for.”

He wasn’t saying that in a flattering way.

East Whiteland wants to hurry up and slam this through and my honest opinion is affected residents might wish to consider legal counsel to make sure their interests are properly protected.  Or they should at least consult with legal counsel.

Our homes are our castles.  And these are our neighbors and friends.  I thank everyone who came out last night and hope they keep on showing up. And remember the unintended consequences of all the freaking development in Chester County are truly to blame here. Or at least in my humble opinion.

These thoughts were bought to you in part by the First Amendment.

 

 

meeting on route 352 and king road set for june 5th at 7pm at immaculata university

I am cutting and pasting from East Whiteland ‘s website. The meeting is June 5th at 7 pm at Immaculata’s Great Hall which is 1145 West King Road Malvern. (the school calls it “Immaculata, PA” )

I urge residents to turn out in numbers for this meeting. I don’t know about you, but I do not want any neighbors having to deal with the Sophie‘s choice of which neighbor’s property goes for eminent domain so they can have a circle or round about that nobody really wants. I haven’t heard supervisors from either municipality pledge not to use eminent domain either, have you?

Please contact State Reps Comitta and Howard and Senator Dinniman’s office and urge them to attend as well. State grant money and state money will be involved here, so they do have a place at this table and should be representing the interests of the plurality as a whole. There is also the potential of Federal funds, correct? So our Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan should be looped in as well, right?

And PennDot? Is PennDot attending? Shouldn’t PennDot be attending? We pay taxes locally and to the state, shouldn’t that buy us an audience?

I hope someone shows up with some kind of camera equipment to record this meeting as well.

It seems like the alternatives proposed by McMahon (who also does nice little videos on PennDot’s website and isn’t that special?) are can involve EMINENT DOMAIN – Cliff notes version: install turning lanes on 352 for $2.5 million or take property via eminent domain and install a roundabout for 3.1 million?

Why have they not tried things like cutting back shrubs and changing signal timing so there is NO right turn on red and each side of the intersection goes ONE SIDE AT A TIME?

There are options they could try without taking people’s freaking houses. Maybe if these townships didn’t all approve so much development the infrastructure wouldn’t be failing, right? Always remember they are from the government and they are here to help. (Sorry, just dripping sarcasm today)

Below is the head of PennDOT. She is a double Wolf appointee. She was a good soldier and somewhat useless Montgomery County Commissioner prior to that. Her position in my humble opinion was a reward for campaigning for the governor:

The Honorable Leslie S. Richards

Secretary, PA Dept. of Transportation Keystone Building

400 North Street

Harrisburg, PA 17120

lsrichards@pa.gov

Maybe she should be hearing from us too, right?

So without further ado:

Route 352 And King Road Meeting Set For June 5

East Whiteland Township and East Goshen Township will hold an informational meeting in the Great Hall at Immaculata University, 1145 West King Road, on June 5 at 7 p.m. on alternatives for reducing the congestion at the intersection of Route 352 and King Road.

McMahon Associates will make a presentation on the alternatives followed by a question and answer period.

Click here to review a McMahon Associates report on the alternatives:https://www.eastwhiteland.org/DocumentCenter/View/927/Rt352-KingFeasibility

Prior posts on the topic include:

Post #1

Post # 2

#NOEminentDomain

And from PAAsphalt.org:

And once again the meeting poster for June 5 at Immaculata’s Great Hall:

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

3 intersection

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

⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗⊗

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.)

352 3

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

hate has no home here at christmas or anytime, chester county. please.

Reader Submitted Photo 12/24/2017

Hate should have no home here, Chester County. Not at Christmas or at anytime. The photo you see is READER SUBMITTED. It came to me a little before 9:30 AM on Christmas Eve (this morning as I write this.)

It was in response to a message I received overnight after midnight and posted this morning:

Hello. I came across some racist graffiti in Exton. It’s under the underpass at rt 100 and 30 bypass. It’s new as I travel the area frequently and don’t think it’s more than 2 days old. Not sure how to have it removed.

Apparently they tried to call the police yesterday, but calling the non-emergency number after hours, is well, after hours. That is the problem with a centralized 911 system – you can’t just get someone from a local police department easily on the phone. In the old days, you could just simply call a local non-emergency number to report things like hideous graffiti.

I don’t expect a Christmas miracle out of West Whiteland Township on Christmas Eve, but either they or PennDOT need to remove this as soon as possible. Hate should truly have no home here, especially at Christmas. Say a prayer for the person who did the graffiti because they need to lose the hate in their own heart that drove them to tag in such an awful way.

2017 has been a brutal year. My Christmas wish is for peace at Christmas and in 2018. All of this hate from coast to coast in the United States accomplishes nothing…except it foments more and more hate. Somehow it needs to stop.

This graffiti in Exton isn’t art, nor is it a political statement. It’s just hate.

Please stop the hate. Hate has no home here at Christmas or any other time.

how many accidents will have to occur on route 100 through exton before something is done?

100 accident 2

See that car? It was behind a good friend on Route 100 yesterday. They were in a horrific accident on 100 waiting at a red light I think at the Ship Road intersection.  They were not in the turning lane, but in a through lane.

Route 100. I hate it and avoid it when I can – not the part that scoots into West Chester at the end but the constantly under construction Exton and so on part.

I almost lost a friend last night. She is a mom to four small kids, too. This is what she says in part:

“Had a scary moment earlier tonight. Was driving back from ….Exton …..Was stopped at a red light on Route 100. I had a line of cars ahead of me and one car behind me. We were all waiting for the light to change. In my mirror I saw headlights moving toward us at a high rate of speed. They were high —it was an 18-wheeler truck. I have no idea why it didn’t brake.

 

It slammed into the car behind me- completely totalled that car. That car went into my car- and I went into the car ahead of me. In all, 4 cars were damaged- and one big truck.

 

The scariest part was seeing it coming and not having enough time to do anything except grab the wheel, brace for impact, and scream. Happily, we all walked away. I went to the ER just because I was nervous about the neck pain & headache, but it’s just a strain and I get to go home to my bed and my family, unlike some other folks who were in the ER for other ailments.  Life is precious.”

 

Damn it when are they going to deal with what happens on that road? PennDOT? State Representative Duane Milne? State Senator Andy Dinniman? Chester County Commissioners? Anyone?

THERE ARE TOO MANY ACCIDENTS ON THIS ROAD.

I am guessing the perpetual almost Brooklyn Bridge-like state of constant (chronic?)  construction doesn’t help, but it shouldn’t be an excuse.

Route 100 is deadly. And it almost took someone I know last night and I am NOT o.k. with that.

Thanks for stopping by and yes these are accident photos from last night I was given to use.

100 3 100 4 100 5 100 6 100 7 100 8 100 9 100 10 100 11 100 accident