news 6 days ago

Bordentown OKs new CVS off Route 130

Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J. — Jarrad Saffren Burlington County Times, Willingboro, N.J.

Feb. 14-- Feb. 14--BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP -- A 9,600-square-foot CVS facility is coming to Farnsworth Avenue at the corner of Route 130 despite concerns of residents.

Township planning board Thursday approved Pomona Development Group's proposal to build the pharmacy after hearing repeated traffic concerns from residents in recent months.

Bordentown Mayor Steve Benowitz, however, said the CVS would actually ease congestion at the heavily traveled intersection.

Pomona is willing to work with the New Jersey Department of Transportation on road improvements that would speed up the flow of traffic, Benowitz said, while the previous occupant of the lot was not willing to do that.

"This project, I have to believe, is going to improve the situation at that intersection, which hasn't been improved in forever," he said.

Construction of the CVS is expected to begin in early 2021, said Pomona officials. They hope to finish by the end of 2021 or the beginning of 2022.

The intersection of Farnsworth Avenue and Route 130 is widely acknowledged as a traffic nightmare, especially during the peak hours of 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m.

Nathan Mosley, the engineer who presented the traffic study for Pomona on Thursday night, gave the spot a D grade in his study.

At the December planning board meeting, Farnsworth Avenue resident Joan Borocz presented her own traffic numbers for the road during peak hours.

While sitting on her porch one morning last September, Borocz counted 1,020 vehicles from 7 to 9 a.m. About a week later, she counted during peak evening hours and tracked 1,216 vehicles.

A CVS would add traffic to the area. But with those DOT projects, it wouldn't add that much, said Pomona officials.

The intersection sees between 2,000 and 3,000 cars during peak hours, Mosley said, and the CVS would add "1, maybe 1.5% to that."

But one of the DOT projects in particular would actually make the traffic flow much faster, and therefore improve congestion, according to Mosley.

The DOT is planning on adding a left turn lane for cars driving on Farnsworth Avenue toward Route 130. The lane will include a green arrow at the intersection's traffic light, offering about 14 seconds for four to five cars to turn off Farnsworth Ave.

There will be about 36 of these arrows every hour, allowing almost 200 cars to flow off the road at peak times, according to Mosley.

"Operationally you will get a lot more people through this intersection," Mosley said.

"I am satisfied," said James Kochenour, the traffic engineer for the township.

But residents still were concerned. Five spoke at Thursday's meeting and raised the same issue: CVS will likely start and finish construction before the DOT adds the left turning lane.

"Seeing the improvements done prior to the construction would be much easier to understand," Borocz said.

"We can't proceed with CVS until they fix that intersection," added Simmee Darpino, another Farnsworth Avenue resident.

Residents were also upset about CVS potentially hurting local pharmacies, like Boyd's Pharmacy in Bordentown City. Clark Boyd, the owner of Boyd's, and his daughter, Caron Boyd Cullen, attended the meeting Thursday night.

"CVS saturates the market and doesn't contribute to the community," said Cullen. "They have the potential of putting my family business out of business after 45 years of serving the community."

But legal precedent would not allow township officials to consider CVS's potential impact on local businesses, officials said.

"I can't take into consideration what this will do to other businesses," Benowitz said.

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