The improvements presented by the developer's traffic expert, Scott Kennel, include the following:
Central Avenue: The road will be widened to six lanes in the area of the traffic light at Raritan Road to add an additional left-turn lane at both approaches (there is only one left-turn lane at each approach currently). This will be done through gaining easements for property from Rite Aid and Bally's at one approach and Exxon and an adjacent office building at the other.
On Raritan Road, with Rite Aid on right: The road will be widened to add a dedicated right-turn lane for right turns onto Central Avenue.
Raritan Road at ShopRite/Rite Aid light and old rail tracks: This area will also be widened to add dedicated left-turn lanes in both directions to enter either the ShopRite or the Rite Aid/Bally's. The abandoned rail tracks will be removed. The light will remain.
Hyatt Hills entrances and exits: The main entrance/exit will be moved closer to Raritan Road to line up with the complex's main entrance/exit. The old entrance/exit will remain as a right turn in, right turn out.
Clark Commons entrances and exits: The complex will have four entrances and exits, one on Walnut Avenue (across from Suburban Road) and three on Raritan Road. The main entrance would be the one across from the adjusted Hyatt Hills Golf Course entrance with a traffic light. The other two entrances/exits on Raritan Road would be at each corner of the property but will be right turn in, right turn out only. The entrance/exit on Walnut Avenue would allow left and right turns in, but only right turns out.
Raritan Road along the complex and Hyatt Hills: This area will also be widened by one additional lane and a traffic light will be installed at the main entrance/exit on Raritan Road, across from Hyatt Hills. The Hyatt Hills entrance will be moved several feet closer to Walnut Avenue to line up with the complex's main entrance/exit. There will be dedicated left-turn lanes on each approach for entering either the complex or Hyatt Hills.
Traffic signal timing: Several residents at the meeting questioned whether having so many traffic lights in less than a half mile of road would really help traffic. Kennel replied that traffic signals in the area will be coordinated to allow for better movement through Raritan Road.
A new light at Sunset Drive/Lexington Avenue and Raritan Road intersection?: Kennel explained that a traffic light may be necessary here (if Clark wants one and the county agrees to it) and that the developer is willing to add it.
Road restriping on Raritan Road at Walnut Avenue light: The board requested that Raritan Road at Walnut Avenue be restriped by extending solid lane lines at the light further back to discourage drivers exiting the complex's corner exit from crossing over multiple lanes to turn left onto Walnut Avenue, heading into Cranford. To make that left from Raritan onto Walnut, drivers should exit the main entrance/exit with the light, said Kennel.
Road restriping on Walnut: Walnut Avenue will be restriped to allow for left turns into the complex's entrance, across from Suburban Road.
Kennel said these improvements will more than accommodate any increased traffic from the development and that "traffic conditions will operate equal to or in some places better than current conditions."
Kennel noted that the intersection of Central Avenue and Raritan Road currently operates at an F level of service, according to traffic classifications, and widening and adding the additional left-turn lanes will increase it to level E.
"This is a package of roadway improvements that in my opinion goes beyond the applicant’s fair share and makes conditions better than they are today in several areas," said Kennel, noting that many of these improvements were not required by the traffic impact assessment, but rather are being undertaken voluntarily by the developer.
Developer William Krame told Patch the road improvements will cost several million dollars on top of the project cost, which is approximately $50 million.
All of these road changes must also be approved by the county, a process that will begin now that the project has been approved.
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