A traffic expert Monday night defended new roads, traffic signals and other possible highway improvements totaling $6.2 million as residents raised questions about the proposed 75-acre Oregon Village development.
“My opinion is our proposal is a safer, more efficient design,” addressing treacherous intersections known for crashes, said John Schick, transportation engineer for the developer.
The proposed improvements include a new segment of Oregon Road, four additional traffic signals and added turn lanes.
Residents or their representatives questioned Schick in the fourth session of a conditional use hearing before the Manheim Township commissioners that began last month. No decision was rendered.
The Hurst family, owners of Oregon Dairy, are seeking the commissioners' OK to build a mixed-use project that would dramatically enlarge the tiny Village of Oregon, a proposal inside a government-designated growth area that some say would promote sprawl and unwisely encroach on farming.
The proposed project includes 550 residential units, including apartments, townhouses and one-story homes for older adults. Also proposed are a supermarket, a restaurant and banquet center, a hotel, a convenience store, shops and a bank.
The project spans about 75 acres on two adjacent sites: the current Oregon Dairy complex and the abandoned Shawnee resort, both along Oregon Pike near the Route 222 interchange.
The township in 2011 created a village overlay zone for the Oregon Village Growth Area that allows for mixed-use development.
The proposed 75-acre Oregon Village development would include $6.2 million in highway improv…
Julie Miller, an attorney representing three residents, questioned Schick about not conducting Sunday traffic counts in his study of the village’s road system.
Schick confirmed for Miller that church traffic is heavy enough on Oregon Pike that a police officer sometimes controls the traffic signal at Landis Valley Road.
Miller also quizzed Schick on his plan’s impact on Reflections Restaurant. Schick said the relocation of eastbound traffic on Oregon Road would add 52 seconds to a trip to the restaurant.
But Schick defended the rerouting of traffic, saying it reduces traffic past a Creek Road intersection that was the second most dangerous in the village. It also eliminates the need for a traffic signal at that intersection.
“We’re going to provide (patrons) a safer means of getting to the site from the west. To me, that’s a win,” Schick said.
In response to questions by Commissioner Sam Mecum, Schick said his study did not ask property owners how changes would impact them.
William Crowe of the 1300 block of East Oregon Road decried the traffic plan’s lack of a traffic signal at the Oregon Road and Oregon Pike intersection, location of a Speedway gas station.
“Right now it needs a traffic light, and then you’re going to increase the traffic tremendously,” Crowe said.
The hearing resumes Monday, March 11 at Manheim Township Public Library.