Traffic appears to be a challenge, and a key, as plans for the future development of the Village of Holland are created, debated and potentially implemented in the coming months.
Two members of the Bucks County Planning Commission presented their findings to residents and supervisors at a town hall meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 4 aimed at explaining possibilities and obtaining feedback for business, natural and traffic developments and improvements. Traffic issues on roads passing through the area, particularly Buck and Old Bristol Roads were at the forefront for many.
“The residents all said transportation, transportation, transportation, and we agree with that,” said Michael Roedig, a planner with the commission.
Among the ideas brought to the table was the lowering of the Old Bristol Road intersection with Buck Road, which would provide more room for a left-hand turn lane and for traffic to pass around waiting vehicles more easily. Another suggestion came from Township Manager Robert Pellegrino, who said constructing left turn lanes for both Old Bristol and Buck Roads would create more room. He estimates this project would cost $600,000.
However, one possible easement that will not occur is the widening of the Mill Creek Bridge due to lack of funds from the state for such repairs.
“The bridge is a problem. The problem beyond that is there’s no money to do anything with the bridge,” Pellegrino said. “I would say forget about the bridge widening because it’s never going to happen in our lifetime.”
Some residents favored simpler solutions to the congestion issues before tackling a wider plan for improvements. Judy Jolly, for instance, hoped repairing the drainage system underneath the Buck Road train tunnel and syncing the traffic lights could lead to a relief of the troubles.
“Those two by themselves would move a lot of traffic,” said Jolly, a Mallard Road resident who also favored trying to bring more public transportation options back to Holland. “Now if you’re going anywhere, you have to have a car.”
Over the next few years, at least the start of a broad-based plan “aimed at making the village a more attractive place to do business,” according to Roedig, could begin. Besides traffic improvements, making better use of open and preserved space for public access and recreation is a goal.
One proposal included a “green link” pathway to connect the Churchville Nature Center to Playwicki Park as part of an environmental education objective. To branch off that, a portion of open space in-between those locations, known as Bellwood Preserve, could also be used as a spot for public accessibility and use.
Business wise, planners proposed several ideas to residents and allowed them to select the options they favored most for the area. In regards to non-residential development, public opinion supported adaptive reuse, mixed use and locally-owned stores as the best choices. Those in attendance also favored bettering the streetscape of the area and pedestrian crossings as elements to improve Holland’s business environment.
Residents also said they felt the village’s historic character, sense of community, streetscape and open space and parks were critical attributes for the area.
“We have to put all the options out there,” said Richard Brahler, a senior transportation planner with the commission.
Future meetings to develop a plan will be advertised and open to the public. The Planning Commission intended on collecting feedback from the public and implementing it into its solutions. In addition to meetings, a survey seeking more ideas from the public will be available on the township’s wbsite within a few days, according to Roedig.