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Paoli Business Owners Sound Off on Traffic

Paoli Business Association owners let planners know exactly what they think is wrong with traffic, parking and roads and what they'd like to see change.

The consultants hired by Tredyffrin Township to study and make recommendations for improving traffic and pedestrian issues heard from the businesses that are affected by the problems every day.

Consultants with (and working for) McMahon Transportation Engineers & Planners of Exton met with members of the Paoli Business Association and other interested business owners in and around the Paoli Train Station Wednesday night to ask get their take on what needs to be done to improve traffic in the area.

What Business Owners Say They'd Like to See

Among the suggestions and concerns the business owners expressed:

  • A need to improve street and lot parking access
  • A desperate need to add more and improve the efficiency of existing pedestrian  crosswalks along Lancaster Ave.
  • Better coordination of the traffic lights on Lancaster Ave between 252 in Paoli and the entrance to Paoli Hospital in Willistown
  • Better landscaping to make Paoli look like a place drivers would want to stop and spend time in as they drive through every day.

What changes would you like to see to improve the business climate along Lancaster Avenue and surrounding areas of Paoli?

Tell us in the comments box at the bottom of this article.

The Background

The $300,000 study is being completely paid for with state funds but is managed by Tredyffrin Township. Last night about 30 business owners and other interested people met with the planners to learn about the study and sound off on what Paoli businesses would like to see happen along Lancaster Ave, Valley Road and Central Ave.

The meeting is one of eight the consultants are holding this month and next with interested people (the consultants call them "stakeholders") who live and/or own businesses along Lancaster Avenue and surrounding areas between Paoli Hospital and Route 252.

What's Next

The consultants laid out their time frame for presenting study results and suggestions for improvements, based on traffic studies, safety studies and the opinions of the public.  The consultants also handed out a questionaire on business issues and promoted a new website the public can use to follow the study and make their opinions known.

The new website is PaoliOntheMove.org.

The consultants expect to have a proposal for improvements and changes in and around the Paoli Transportation Center area by next summer.

There will be a public open house/workshop at the Tredyffrin Municipal Building on October 24. That's when business owners and any interested member of the community can come learn more about the study, spend time with planners working on this study as well other ongoing studies.

This is one of several studies being conducted simultaneously in the area. The township is coordinating an ongoing study on how to improve traffic at the interesection of Lancaster Ave./Route 30 and 252. SEPTA is conducting a study on the best design and plans for the planned Paoli Transportation Center which will some day replace the current Paoli Train Station.

After all these years of waiting for something to happen in Paoli, why is this study any different?

The simple answer from Township officials is: because it is an actual first step toward eventual construction. That's how Township Engineer Stephen Burgo and the consultants sum it up. They point out that rather than just talking about what to do, things are now in motion and money is actually being spent to get the ball rolling.

it will still be years before any shovels start digging.

Many of the business owners on hand Wednesday expressed cautious optimism about the study and the future of development along Lancaster Ave.

"I think we're moving in the right direction," Center on Central's Katie Opher told TE Patch. "I just hope it doesn't take forever."

Jenna Reese September 06, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Paoli Rte 30 is a dirty, run down area that looks like a pawn shop-tatoo-check cashing strip. Empty shops...no thanks. I'd rather spend my local time in Wayne - restaurants, life, quaint mixture of old and new, movies, ceramic painting, clothing stores, a place to sit down outside, trees, lights - they are thriving. Paoli has long since died. Gut it and start from scratch.
Ellen DeCarlo September 06, 2012 at 02:25 PM
So, business owners are collaborating with State and local government officials to develop a plan to improve their businesses with a $300,000 grant from the State. Sounds like a clear case of "you didn't built it alone" refrain. Paoli does need some help with traffic and pedestrian walkways. Business owners recognize that they couldn't tackle these issues without the help of government. How very politically topical.
Rick September 06, 2012 at 05:26 PM
Thanks for adding nothing to the conversation except extolling the virtues of Wayne. As a Paoli resident, I am cautiously optimistic that the purposed changes will begin to happen. The problem seems to be the enormity of all of the problems, from the 252 train bridge to the train station to the horrible traffic pattern that is overwhelmed in the morning and late afternoon. The township needs to address the zoning and allow for a multi level parking garage that is accessible to the Rt 30 North Valley intersection, the obvious spot being on the Amtrak property, but that nearly vacant office space at the across from West Central on North Valley would be prime as well. The Train station project is obvious and speaks for itself. A final thought, the Chester Valley Trail is currently being constructed through the North end of Paoli, any thoughtful plan would include a realistic way to connect the center of Paoli to this trail. Once it is complete and connected to the Schuykill River Trail I would imagine it will be no less popular than the rest of the trails in the area.
Katie opher September 08, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Please read the article more carefully and also look at the bigger picture...Septa is eventually moving the Paoli train station. There is a lot of traffic congestion in the area and it's dangerous for pedestrians in certain places. Not to mention how blighted parts of Route 30 look. We were asked to be part of the dialogue, not to have $300,000 spent on us. Other constituencies are also part of the dialogue. We are also among the handful of people who have actually invested in Paoli - there should be more of us! You're absolutely correct that business owners in Paoli cannot change the traffic lights, add pedestrian walkways and bridges and provide any more parking than we do at our own establishments. That is the responsibility (and one of the purposes of) local, state and federal government. If Paoli is ultimately improved as a destination to spend time in, rather than pass through - as an above commenter noted that Wayne is (along with West Chester an Phoenixville to name a couple in our county alone that have improved over the last few years), more business will be transacted, more tax revenue will flow as a result, and the government investment will prove well worth it. It will also make people who live nearby happier to dine and shop nearby...which is good for their morale, a better use of their time than departing for Wayne, WC and Phx, and better for the environment as well. Instead of your criticism, this initiative deserves your support!
Katie opher September 08, 2012 at 11:44 AM
FYI, you can not only paint ceramics, you can make your own pottery from clay right here in Paoli, at The Center on Central. We take checks, but we won't cash them...major credit cards also welcome

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