The following is a letter to the editor from the "Friends of Burlington Canyon" with their top issues with the Gutierrez Company's proposed Target plan:
Surprising that Burlington has not done independent study on a rezoning request of this scale
The traffic study was conducted by the developer themselves. The Director of this Gutierrez project is Scot Weiss, who previous was Director of the company who did the study. No independent traffic study was done by the town of Burlington.
The Gutierrez traffic study did not use peak traffic volume intervals.
VBH said they were peak volume data, but they measured the traffic in September not November to December months which have the peak traffic times.
Gutierrez’s traffic study did NOT include the effect they will have on the Route 95 extended entrance/exit ramps.
These extended entrance/exit ramps service both Route 95 and Route 3 and were part of a 2007 traffic study reported in 2010 by the BOSTON REGION METROPOLITAN PLANNING ORGANIZATION. This study showed during rush hours these roads already carry more than 200 cars / hour OVER their safe design limit. The result is that traffic backs up onto Route 95 and Route 3 and there are far more accidents on these ramps than average ramps.
Gutierrez’s traffic study clearly states that a Target of this size would generate 1180 cars/HOUR. Not daily – but hourly; and that most of this traffic would be added to these service roads.
How can Gutierrez ask the planning board members to recommend a plan that does not have emergency exit?
Gutierrez’s Traffic study ignored morning traffic impacts.
They indicated Target was a retail store and retail stores do not impact morning traffic. Not true. Targets OPENS at 8:00 am and truck/personal traffic starts at least an hour before that. Big box stores like Target/Wal-Mart are NOT normal retail stores which typically open at 10:00.
They are directing a major traffic flow across Middlesex turnpike directly onto a congested ramp
One particularly onerous aspect of the plan is that they intend to route a large stream of traffic exiting target directly across Middlesex turnpike into a chronically congested on-ramp. This will regularly strand cars in the intersection and further block Middlesex Turnpike traffic. A similar problem already exists where cars queueing up to turn in the H-Mart are stranded in the intersection and then block traffic entering from Adams street.
The Wheeler Road intersection is geographically constrained.
The fundamental problem is that there is no reasonably priced strategy that works at that location because of the ridged site constraints. The Wheeler / Middlesex intersection site make any reasonably prices mitigation impossible; there is simply not enough real-estate available to lay down the needed asphalt. Any truly effective traffic mitigation will involve new overpasses and / or added access ramps which would make the whole project financially unworkable.
Reduction in Burlington home values
Location is key to Real Estate values, and this will make our location far less attractive.
Our lost housing values will not affect Gutierrez balance sheet but is very real to us.
As real estate values decrease so will Burlington’s tax revenues.
Consider just the 300 Burlington residences south of Rt 95 and 300 home just north of Route 95 that access Route 95 via Middlesex Turnpike.
Assuming they are average prices homes for Burlington: $400K.
600 homes * $400K = $240M in real-estate value.
Assume a 20% loss in value do to their now far less desirable location.
$240M * 20% loss in value: $48M loss in Burlington real-estate value.
The reputation that Burlington is undesirable place to live because of the horrible traffic is likely going to affect Burlington home values even far from this traffic quagmire.
Loss in residential tax revenue
A 20% reduction in home value of just 600 homes would result in an annual loss in tax revenue: $552K so the $750K that Gutierrez promise should be highly discounted.