Incomplete and inconclusive Traffic Expert testimony at recent Zoning Board hearing

 At the hearing on January 18th, 2023, Ms. Stern presented a traffic expert who made claims that the proposed commercial complex would have a “negligible impact” to Fiddlers Creek Rd and residents. She came to this conclusion using very conservative estimates of number of guests and made no mention of the extremely narrow winding rural road meant for light residential traffic. The traffic expert also acknowledged that she made arbitrary guesses as to the traffic volume on certain parts of the Fiddlers Creek Rd.

A recent local news article highlighted only the expert’s claims about low impact and made no mention of the missing or inconclusive data. 

So what is the real world traffic impact? If you know the road and area, it is absurd to think any hotel and a 60+ seat restaurant will have a “negligible impact.” The public, attorneys, and Zoning Board members questioned the traffic expert for more than an hour which helped uncover glaring omissions in her analysis. Here are some insightful exchanges:

QUESTIONER:  So, what are those based on, those distributions, as opposed to taking River Road?

TRAFFIC EXPERT:  It’s — it’s an estimation. I think that the majority of guests to this location would end up using River Road, but it would be unfair of me to not assess some orientation to and from the northeast, and so it was an estimate.


QUESTIONER:  And the intersection that you studied was the one — Fiddler’s Creek and 29/River Road?

TRAFFIC EXPERT:  Correct, yes.

QUESTIONER:  Not any of the other intersections. Okay, so you didn’t look at Church Road, for example, and the intersection of Fiddler’s Creek and Church —



QUESTIONER:  Okay. When you determined the traffic coming from Route 29 onto Fiddler’s Creek, and then traffic coming from the northeast, and you ended up with a figure of about 25 percent, if I’m not mistaken, coming from the northeast — was that, for lack of a better word, correct me if I’m off-base, was that a guess?

TRAFFIC EXPERT:  It’s an estimate. I had said that in my testimony earlier, it’s an estimate.


TRAFFIC EXPERT:  But it is an estimate, there’s — there’s no way to precisely determine that. There’s — traffic engineering is, in part, judgment-based


QUESTIONER: Ms. Dolan, could you tell us whether or not you took into account any pedestrian traffic?

TRAFFIC EXPERT:  I did not prepare any pedestrian trip generation. I’ve not assessed any — any pedestrian activity, no.

QUESTIONER: And no bicycling activity either was reviewed?



QUESTIONER: Okay. There was some discussion earlier about — I believe the Chairperson asked about a — some traffic controls. Did you take into account or think that it’d be necessary to mitigate any of the traffic impacts to Fiddler’s Creek Road for purposes of safety or otherwise?

TRAFFIC EXPERT:  I looked at the impact of site-generated traffic. I looked at the intersection of the site driveway, again, as one location, putting all traffic at one driveway location and the capacity, and that was the extent of my analysis.


QUESTIONER: Right, but you don’t know how many bicyclists and pedestrians walk up and down Fiddler’s Creek Road on a daily basis though.

TRAFFIC EXPERT: No, again, I — I studied peak hour activity. There was a question earlier, and if the Board felt it appropriate to study 24-hour activity, we could — we could do that.

Please help us continue this fight to uncover the facts about this proposed commercial complex.

Please remember to attend the next Zoning Board meeting on Wednesday, February 1st, 2023 at 7:00pm on zoom.

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