| 21 Sep 2017 | 01:35

    As part of the approval process for the 3,600-square foot, 202-seat bar/restaurant on Elm Street in the Village of Warwick, the Village Planning Board requested a study of the current traffic on that street. The traffic study was completed in June and presented to the Board in August with few comments or questions.
    After reviewing the results of the study it is unclear why the board decided not to consider the Orchard Street access to Elm Street. By ignoring this point of access, the traffic evaluation did not “count” the cars that enter at Orchard to go to either Mitchel Corners or the car wash/gas station and leave by the same route. This traffic needs to be specifically accounted for when evaluating the impact of the 16 Elm Street bar/restaurant.
    In addition, potential customers for 16 Elm Street traveling from south of the village will be directed by the various mapping applications to turn left on to Orchard to get to Elm Street. Anyone familiar with traffic in the village knows that Orchard is narrow with many parked cars. The turn on to Elm Street from Orchard is an off-set four-way stop at the intersections of Orchard, Elm, and Welling that is frequently ignored or rolled through. Those of us who live in the neighborhood are very aware of the danger at that intersection at all times and we approach it very carefully. Visitors to Warwick will not be aware of this potentially dangerous intersection and will add to the safety concerns.
    Study findings
    Using the weekday average and weekend actual traffic counts as the base, it appears as if the anticipated traffic volume will increase by as much as 50 percent at midday during the week and even more on the weekend afternoons. The anticipated evening volume will be much greater with the addition of an evening and late night business on Elm Street. The anticipated peak hour on Saturday evening could lead to an almost 100 percent increase during the dinner hour on a Saturday.
    The current businesses on Elm Street typically close at approximately 9 p.m. with current traffic decreasing throughout the evening to approximately 20 cars total between midnight and 2 a.m. The addition of a bar that intends to stay open until 2 a.m. will change the neighborhood into a late night destination with a considerable increase in traffic.
    The evaluation findings indicated that the traffic is within an acceptable design standard but a “C” rating is far from the best conditions indicated by an “A” rating. It should be further noted that the acceptable rating is based more on “roadway conditions” than on traffic volume. The Planning Board must carefully consider if the Village of Warwick wishes to live at a merely acceptable level or strive for the best conditions.
    M. E. McNeely