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The Woodhaven Terminus at Evans Street

"It's time to build this road or bury it."

Andy Warren, PENNDOT

Against the Road in Somerton  June 18, 2003
6-17-03 Somerton, Philadelphia
Resident gives his opinion as he responds to road block participants at Bustleton & Byberry


























































































































Woodhaven Road Project History
  • In 1954, the Woodhaven Road Expressway Corridor was established by the Metropolitan Planning Organization. The original objective was to build an Expressway linking I-95 with the PA Turnpike through the far northeastern portion of Philadelphia.
  • In 1966, the first phase of the Expressway which connected I-95 to Route 1 was completed and opened to traffic. Evans Street was also opened to provide connectivity between the Expressway and Byberry Road.
  • In 1972, it was determined that constructing the remaining portion of the Expressway between Route 1 & the PA Turnpike would not be feasible due to social and economic impacts the longer extension would cause. As a result, the Expressway stub remained and Evans Street continued to serve as a connector road between the Expressway and Byberry Road.
  • In the mid 1970’s,PENNDOT and the Woodhaven Road Advisory Panel decided to terminate the Expressway at Philmont Avenue -instead of US Route 1. Thus, PENNDOT purchashed land where the extension was intended to be constructed and they condemned 35 homes in Somerton.
  • In the 1970's the Somerton Civic Assocation was instrumental is having a 3-ton weight limit imposed on the CSX Bridge on Byberry Road whereby a truck detour was created to route heavy truck traffic from the Expressway to US Route 1 UNTIL the extension was completed. If the extension is completed the trucks would be routed through other neighborhoods in Somerton - and the portion of Byberry Road between Evans Street and Bustleton Ave. would not be subjected to this heavy truck traffic.
  • In the 1980's and 1990's Community opposition by residents in Westwood and Lower Moreland Township delayed the project due to the projected transfer of high traffic volumes onto the local roadway network.
  • In January 2002, PENNDOT held a public meeting and presented new alternatives to the public at Lower Moreland High School.
  • The June 2002 Traffic Study was released. The study acknowledges the negative impact that Evans St. continues to have along portions of Byberry Road by stating "...the most heavily traveled portion of Byberry Road is between Evans Street and Bustleton Avenue." Based on the above statement, it can be said that the root cause of this congestion is due to Byberrry Rd functioning as the last exit for the Woodhaven Expressway via the Evans St. link. The reason the traffic volumes reduce as they approach Bustleton Avenue is due to the turns made onto Bustleton Avenue, which is Route 532, a north-south arterial highway.
  • In August 2002, PENNDOT mailed their summer brochure to residents which illustrated drastic revisions to their previously proposed build alternatives.
  • Between May - August 2003, the DEIS was published and the Public Hearings were conducted.The Route 1 Alternative was dismissed by PENNDOT since they stated it did not meet project needs. Howver, public comment overwhelmingly was against the PENNDOT alternatives and requested the Route 1 Alternative.
  • In December 2003, the TCC met with PENNDOT and McCormick Taylor to review the details of the Route 1 Alternative since the public demanded that PENNDOT perform a more thorough analysis of the TCC's alternative after rejecting it in the DEIS.
  • In February 2004, PENNDOT presented a new alternative, known as the 'Reduced-Impact Alternative', to area legislators at the Buck Hotel in an effort to extend an olive branch to the community by appearing to minimize the impacts of their proposed construction. Later that month, the presented the alternative to the TCC, which immediately rejected the alternative since it still included the extension of the Expressway/Tractor-Trailer Truck Route into residential neighborhoods.
  • In March 2004, PENNDOT conducted a public meeting and presented the 'Reduced-Impact Alternative' to the public at George Washington High School in Somerton. The Somerton Civic Assocation, supporters of the extension, walked out of the meeting in protest.
  • In June 2004, the TCC participated in the DVRPC's hearing on transportation projects in the Delaware Valley. They requested that the DVRPC consider the TCC's alternative as a solution for the Woodhaven Road Extension Project.
  • In July 2004, the TCC met with the Secretary of Transportation in Harrisburg and presented arguments against the Woodhaven Road Extension Project. The TCC asked for PENNDOT to create a Citizen's Advisory Group for the Woodhaven Road Project and PENNDOT agreed.
  • In October 2004, the TCC's Route 1 Community-Friendly Build Alternative was included in the Transportation Improvement Plan by the DVRPC.
  • In November 2004, the TCC met with PENNDOT and McCormick Taylor to determine next steps as outlined by the Secretary of Transportation. PENNDOT agreed to the TCC's request to perform an Origin and Destination Study to determine the source of the traffic along the Byberry Road corridor.
  • In April 2005, for the first time, the leaders of the SCA and TCC met. Faciliated by Mr. Andrew Warren and Mr. Tim O'Brien of PENNDOT, the purpose of the meeting was to identify areas of agreement between the groups to determine if the project could move forward. It was agreed that (1) a Byberry Road Origing and Destination Study would be performed, (2) that the intersection of Byberry Road and Bustleton Avenue would be improved and (3) that tractor-trailer trucks should continue to be restricted in the event the CSX Bridge was replaced and the 3-ton weight limit was removed.
  • In May 2005, PENNDOT conducted the Byberry Road Origin and Destination Study that the TCC requested in November 2004.
  • In October 2005, PENNDOT, McCormick Taylor, TCC and SCA participated in a commumity meeting to determine the future of the project. Named the Woodhaven Road Working Committee, the TCC and the SCA were given until April 2006 to come to consensus. PENNDOT reiterated they would walk away from the project altogether if the groups did not achieve consensus. Significant data from the May 2005 Byberry Road Origin and Destination Study was presented by the DVRPC which showed that the majority of motorists using Byberry Road were from local neighborhoods. Also, the study showed that by a 2:1 margin, survey respondents requested other means of traffic mitigation to alleviate congestion and did not request that the Woodhaven extension be constructed.
  • Between November and December 2005, McCormick Taylor facilitated two work sessions as members of the SCA and TCC began their monthly meetings to discuss critical issues in advance of identifyihg potential solutions.
  • On January 12, 2006, the last Woodhaven Road Working Committee work session was conducted. PENNDOT and McCormick Taylor presented a new proposal which still suggested building the Woodhaven Extension/Tractor-Trailer Truck Route to Bustleton Avenue. It was immediately rejected by both groups. The SCA would like to build the extension build to Philmont Avenue and the TCC does not want the extension constructed at all. The work sessions were cancelled until further notice.








Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Woodhaven Road Extension Project about?
On the surface it has been presented to the public as an initiative to provide congestion relief along the 1.2 mile stretch of Byberry Road between Evans Street and Bustleton Avenue since residents cannot get out of their driveways.

Who supports the extension and who opposes it?
The only civic group in the project area who supports the Extension is the Somerton Civic Association (SCA) who has been working with PENNDOT for 20 years on various alternatives that would build the Extension to Philmont Avenue.

However, in 2002, once the news spread about the expanded scope of PENNDOT's proposed construction, additional civic groups formed in Philadelphia, Bucks and Montgomery counties as the Tri-County Coalition to fight PENNDOT and SCA from ravaging the Community.

Why is the Byberry Road congestion mainly along the 1.2 mile stretch between Evans Street and Rt. 532 (Bustleton Avenue)?
Byberry Road is congested in that area for 2 reasons. Because EVANS STREET IS A STRESS POINT and Rt. 532 (BUSTLETON AVENUE) IS A RELIEF POINT.
(1) THE STRESS is caused by: Evans Street funneling Woodhaven Expressway traffic onto the 2 lane Byberry Road. This intersection is not a 4-way, but a 3-way intersection - with the majority of the turning movements being 90 degree left and right hand turns - which slows down the traffic flow creating approach delay. Another issue is the fact that the US POSTAL SERVICE uses Evans Street as an entrance and exit ramp to the Expressway. Their tractor trailer trucks complicate the flow of traffic at this intersection and help compound the congestion at this intersection.

(2) THE RELIEF: Although the intersection of Byberry Road and Rt. 532 (Bustleton Avenue) has operational deficiencies due to lack of phasing signals and poor timing, once the vehicles move through this intersection congestion is relieved since Rt. 532 (Bustleton Avenue) is a 4 lane arterial highway. That is why the the congestion ends at this intersection.

Why hasn't the Extension been built if the traffic congestion on Byberry Road is so bad?
The most important thing to remember is this:
(1) PENNDOT can only move forward with the Extension IF there is community concensus - BUT the communities in the project area do not agree on how to alleviate the congestion on Byberry Road. (2) And secondly, it's not about traffic relief - it's about creating truck access and building a 'mission critical' new chunk of roadway.

Why did PENNDOT build Evans Street if it is such a traffic nuisance?
Although the Woodhaven Expressway theoretically ends at Route 1 - it technically ends at Evans Street because the US Postal Service Facilty needed access to the Woodhaven Expressway eastbound for their trucks. The Postal Service agreed to build their facility at the current location on Byberry Road under the condition that Evans Street would be built as an access ramp to and from the Expressway. That is why Evans Street was built 1/4 mi. west of Route 1 - in order to be in direct alignment with the entrance gate to the US Postal Service parking lot. Additionally, PENNDOT assumed they would gain community consensus to build an Extension to Bustleton Avenue and motorists would be routed onto the new Extension instead of Evans Street.

Why is 'replacing the CSX Bridge' one of the project needs since the bridge is safe for vehicles not exceeding the 3 ton weight limit?
Because replacing the bridge also means removing the 3-ton weight limit which means tractor trailer trucks will have full access to our communities - making the congestion even worse - since it would open up the communities to even more truck traffic. There are many trucking companies nearby that would utilize this bridge. and as a result, PENNDOT has included 'the replacement of the bridge' as a 'Project Need'.Fortunately, the Somerton Civic Association was aware of this and prevented the bridge from being replaced. The SCA doesn't want additional tractor trailer truck traffic to be routed onto Byberry Road between Evans Street and Bustleton Avenue. To ensure they would be spared the truck traffic, SCA would support the extension to Philmont Avenue if PENNDOT would construct the new bridge and the Woodhaven Extension simultaneously. The extension would be designed in such a way that trucks will be routed away from SCA's segment of Byberry Road and diverted into the neighborhoods south of Byberry Road. The Woodhaven Road Expressway is a component of PA's Priority Commercial Network between I-95 and US 1- and serves as a major through-route for fully loaded trucks. Although the Expressway was not linked to the PA Turnpike as originally planned, the trucking industry is seeking access to Bustleton Avenue - even it means building this new truck route through residential neighborhoods.

On the contrary, the TCC respects all of the stakeholders in the project area and will not allow truck routes of any kind to be built through anyone's neighborhood. The TCC has researched this issue and has learned that a new facility in any form is not needed to alleviate congestion - and the promotion of a road or street in the Right of Way is an attempt to pave the new truck route. The truck route IS the Woodhaven Road Extension Project.

Why haven't Somerton's legislators or the Somerton Civic Assocation asked PENNDOT to improve the intersections in their neighborhood since they have the congestion on Byberry Road?
Because SCA doesn't want to relieve the congestion through intersection improvements - they want PENNDOT to build the Extension in the right-of-way. SCA will never ask PENNDOT for intersection improvements because they know the improvements will be succcesful and will allow traffic to flow more freely along Byberry Road. They are trying to frustrate residents and motorists on Byberry Road - they have NO intention of making their commute easier.

They believe that if they play this game long enough, people will beg PENNDOT to build the Extension. But that has not happened, most people do not want the Extension, they want intersection improvements and less destructive methods to address congestion.

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