Morning Call posted a story today “Upper Macungie to push for new I-78 interchange to relieve truck traffic“
“We’ve got to get another interchange in here,” township Supervisor Kathy Rader said. “In the next 20 years, they expect freight to double in this area. … The statistics are staggering.” – UMT Supervisor Kathy Radar
I generally agree. This interchange is critical. It must happen. We’ve built ourselves into a corner. But in order to avoid repeating the same mistake it must happen with the following caveats:
1. Warehouses and warehouse developers that generate the need and count on the free flow of freight should contribute to design and construction. Sounds like that’s happening to an extent with design. This offsets fact these businesses are a net drain on local economies. As I often say relating to muni budgets they’re fiscal parasites.
2. Zoning must be in place in combination with a farmland preservation strategy to prevent the area around any proposed intersection from building out in the same fashion as Rt. 100.
What can’t happen is for a new interchange to induce even more warehousing further westward. This would totally negate any benefits aimed at freeing up Rt. 100.
Think of roads as a system of pipes. In the day and age of GPS more so than ever before congestion will flow to where it’s least backed up. Rt. 100 is now a severe kink in the pipe. For this to work a new interchange must clearly be the path of least resistance. If we allow sprawling growth to surround a new interchange we will be having the same conversation 20 years from now. We have to stop the induced congestion cycle. Any new intersection must be accompanied with growth boundaries.
We have to break the cycle. A new interchange should be built for the purpose for handling existing traffic on Rt. 100. It can not be seen as vehicle to induce even more warehouses west of Fogelsville. This also relates to capacity on Rt. 22. We are already spending a BILLION dollars on the current widening project. The next induced widening may be impossibly expensive. Therefore we must get land use under control.
We have reached peak warehouse. We’ve built ourselves into a corner. The next steps will determine our quality of life relating to traffic, air quality and safety moving forward.