POTTSTOWN PA – Area residents will have two more opportunities next week to comment on proposals made by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC) to make U.S. Route 422 a toll road to pay for future improvements there, including accompanying mass transit to relieve traffic congestion.
Public meetings to get more feedback about the plan, are scheduled for:
- June 23 (2009; Tuesday) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in Pottstown Middle School, 600 N. Franklin St.; and
- June 24 (2009; Wednesday) from 6:30-9:30 p.m. in Spring-Ford Area High School, 350 S. Lewis Rd., Royersford PA.
The DVRPC hopes to gather comments to augment what its representatives heard during February (2009), when it held its first series of meetings regarding the highway. The growth of traffic clogging 422 during peak travel hours was of heightened concern then, a DVRPC transportation planner reported to a TriCounty Area Chamber of Commerce membership meeting last week.
However, public opposition to tolling 422, and having those tolls pay for mass transit alternatives such as an extension of commuter train service from Norristown west to Reading, also has grown since February. Convincing opponents that tolls – and the suggested uses for the revenue they produce – are the best way to address congestion, or exploring compromises in the proposals, are hurdles the planners must yet overcome.
Joining the DVRPC in promoting the proposals are planning commissions in Montgomery, Chester and Berks counties, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, the Greater Valley Forge Transportation Management Association, and the U.S. Route 422 Corridor Coalition.
The Lower Pottsgrove (PA) Township Board of Commissioners has not yet publicly taken a position on the DVRPC proposals, but it’s not as though no one’s tried to pin its members down on the issue. A visitor to the board’s May 4 meeting asked for their opinion on the matter. “It’s premature for us to say,” commission Vice President Jonathan Spadt replied.
“We’re working with Limerick, and we’re trying to look at Route 422 and the Sanatoga interchange holistically,” Spadt said. “Tolling’s a relevant factor in that.”
Commissioner Stephen Klotz, however, noted that “tolling the road in and of itself doesn’t fix anything.” One of his worries for the township, unless issues with 422 are addressed comprehensively, is that tolling would simply divert congestion “by throwing traffic up on Ridge Pike and Route 724,” Klotz said. Those roadways parallel 422 on its north and south sides, respectively.
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