CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- John Collins, a traffic consultant for Chappaqua Crossing developer Summit/Greenfield, shared some key data at a June 10 presentation before the New Castle Town Board and a sizable audience.
Collins, who is with Maser Consulting, did a comparison between traffic data collected in 2008 and follow up data collected in 2013. He also did traffic volume comparisons for an earlier iteration of a proposed retail plan and the current version that includes a 40,000-square-foot Whole Foods grocery store.
The consultant, describing the 2008 and 2013 traffic data, felt that the base volumes collected for the earlier study were still applicable.
The traffic volume comparison involved information connected to an earlier environmental review, which was for a generic grocery store of 60,000 square feet, along with projected numbers for the current plan. The comparison, which involved traffic volumes for five peak hours, showed that traffic volume would be lower under the current pla. Both versions have a total of 120,000 square feet of retail space.
Photos of the traffic data comparison charts are attached to this story.
Collins was met with skepticism from some Town Board members.
Councilman Adam Brodsky brought up the regional attraction potential of Whole Foods. Collins replied by noting the trips number is similar for Whole Foods and, as an example, a Stop and Shop. Addressing the regional traffic possibility, Collin also brought up a study, which was done as part of the earlier retail environmental review, that raised the hypothetical percentage of traffic coming to the site from the Saw Mill River Parkway (70 percent) versus Route 117 (at 30 percent).
Collins, along with Summit/Greenfield planner Andrew Tung, brought up the fact that drivers could use an alternative loop road to go from the parkway to Chappaqua Crossing, which would be in addition to going from the parkway to the site Roaring Brook Road entrance.
Deputy Supervisor Lisa Katz, also addressing Whole Foods’ regional nature, was skeptical of data and felt that it was “very under representative.” Collins, whose experience has included Whole Foods, A&P and ShopRite, explained that there is similarity in traffic volume between store types, with the caveat that it depends upon store size.
Councilman Jason Chapin brought up studying traffic after a facility is completed and asked Collins about the differential between pre and post counts. Collins said that it’s not more than 10 percent, with a plus or minus noted.
Collins, who also did traffic studying for a DeCicco’s market in Armonk, confirmed that his traffic prediction related to that project came true.
“It was right on target,” he said.
Several neighbors who attended – rhetoric at times was heated – remained concerned about traffic impact.
Hedy Simpson worried about usage of nearby Annandale Drive as a short cut and about pedestrian traffic for the area. Collins felt, based on the past study, that it would not be beneficial to use Annandale as a pass through.
Regarding the latter concern, he mentioned that possibility of adding a pedestrian crossing.
John Ehrlich expressed concern about traffic safety and was felt that the under structure of Route 117 was not in good condition.
“It’s falling apart now.”
The Town Board is set to hold its next Chappaqua Crossing meeting on June 24, which will involve public hearings pertaining to the retail proposal’s rezoning and its preliminary development concept plan.
Video of the full meeting is available here. Check back for another story about the meeting, which will focus on political and procedure aspects.