Armchair observers are speculating what effect these 8,000 cars could have when added to existing traffic in the general area of the four Stoltz projects. Better than theorizing, you are invited to make a quick tour of the four sites, especially during rush hour. After taking the tour you may want to explore, on your own, the narrow country roads in the area which drivers may elect to take when traffic on the main roads becomes unpleasant.
Start at any point as you take this circular tour. Do note that the area is not served by any interstate or limited access highways. Bear in mind that successful operations at the four sites will require employees traveling from distant homes. Also there will be an additional unknown number of trucks and commercial vehicles servicing the sites. This all means the traffic impact will extend far back from the immediate area of the four sites.
Now for the tour. One starting point could be Barley Mill Plaza, at the intersection of Rte. 141 Center Rd. & Lancaster Ave, Rte. 141 & 48. This former DuPont facility consists of 2,846,000 sq. ft. and is envisioned as a mixed use development with office, residential and commercial tenants. All existing buildings will be demolished with new structures up to 11 stories tall added, including a number of multi-story parking garages.
Leaving this site, go along Center Rd. toward Pennsylvania Ave. Proceed under the avenue and turn right at the light. This is the intersection with Montchanin Rd. Rte. 100. Look quickly to your left and note the beautiful 20 Montchanin campus with the office building at the far end. This building will be rehabilitated and a new 138,000 sq. ft. medical office building built at the edge of Montchanin Rd. to afford greater visibility for tenants.
Passing 20 Montchanin, make a right turn at the intersection with Pennsylvania Ave, Rte. 52. This will take you just beyond the interchange and to Greenville Center. This compact site, to your right at the intersection with Buck Rd, is intended to be revamped as a mixed use development with 138,770 sq. ft of office, retail and residential. One plan is to tear down 44,477 sq. ft. of office and add 128,500 sq. ft. of retail and residential in two 6 story buildings.
Drive through the Center and exit onto Buck Rd.1, turning left onto Buck Rd, and proceed to the next traffic light - Montchanin Rd. Turn right on Montchanin and go the next light for a left turn onto Powder Mill Road Rte. 141. Proceed carefully down the hill as the road narrows to one lane for crossing over the Brandywine Creek. The road turns sharply to your left at the entrance to the DuPont Experimental Station, continuing on to the intersection with Murphy Rd at the entrance to A.I. DuPont Children's Hospital. Keep to the left approaching the intersection and turn left onto Murphy Rd. Go a short distance through the AstraZeneca Campus and turn left at the intersection with Concord Pike, Rte. 202. Follow 202 through two miles of time-integrated lights to the intersection with Naamans Rd. Route 92. There to your left is the site for the proposed Shops at Brandywine Valley.
You cannot safely stop in the area of the Shops for an extended look. This is an incredibly busy intersection complete with red light traffic cameras. It is envisioned as a 527,800 sq. ft. mixed use facility with hotel, residential, and retail tenants. Plan to look quickly, for your safety, as you make a left turn at the light and begin going along what now becomes Beaver Valley Rd. Go the next traffic light and turn left onto Ramsey Rd. which becomes Thompson Bridge Rd, then Montchanin Rd, while remaining Rte.92 and eventually intersecting with Barley Mill Rd. Rte 141. Turn right and quickly you're back to your starting point.
1 - Some commuters are already beginning to use an alternate route from the Greenville Center to the Shops at Brandywine site, rather than make the troubled left turn from the Center onto Buck Rd. and subsequently endure the Tyler McConnell Bridge traffic backups. Do prepare for a tortuous but scenic route as you right exit from the Center onto Kennett Pike Rte. 52 and go to the light at Kirk Rd. Turn right and go to the dead end, turn left onto Rockland Rd. and go down the hill to the Brandywine Creek. Cross over the bridge and make a sharp left turn up onto Mt. Lebanon Rd This will take you to Concord Pike Rte. 202, for a left turn and then on to the Shops at Brandywine.
The Stoltz organization operates sites across the nation, which you'll find detailed at www.stoltzusa.com. This displays their success in meshing the desires of their tenants with the harmony of surrounding neighborhoods. It is this balance which we are seeking as development of their four sites proceeds in Northern Delaware. You and the various civic groups involved in this process may be the major factors, which eventually determine whether the developed sites reach a balance that preserves the integrity of our traffic network and the beauty of the Brandywine Valley or instead, marks the beginning of a major acceleration in the decline of both. You can help by being informed and by letting your elected officials at every level know that you want responsible growth in Northern New Castle County.
For more information, see the December issue of the County Comments