Charlestown Township, Chester County, PA

 
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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens

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March 16, 1998

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August 13, 1997
  
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Turnpike Slip Ramp


Sample Letters to
Governor Ridge



 
 
Dear Governor:
 
I am strongly opposed to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's proposal to build slip ramps in Charlestown Township. We have been told that the proposed unmanned slip ramps intended purpose is to alleviate back-ups at the nearby King of Prussia and Downingtown interchanges by utilizing a new "E-Z Pass" technology. Please consider the following.
 
Any turnpike interchange brings with it more development. The King of Prussia turnpike interchange (and adjacent highways) resulted in the construction and evolution of the King of Prussia Mall which is now one of the largest malls in the country. The King of Prussia area is now densely developed and has massive traffic problems. PennDOT is starting the reconstruction of route 202 by widening the highway and improving its access ramps to alleviate back-ups.
 
Charlestown Township is a very small rural township with a population of approximately 3,000 residents, little industry and NO POLICE FORCE. Who would respond to accidents or to traffic problems? The only police protection in our township is the Pennsylvania State Police Embreeville barracks in Coatesville (approximately 40 minutes away).
 
Institute "E-Z Pass" system at all existing turnpike interchanges then monitor their effect on back-ups prior to further pursuing slip ramps.
 
Consider eliminating tolls and toll booths on the turnpike to eliminate traffic back-ups. Why subject taxpayers to the inconvenience of backups solely to collect these user fees. I am not against user fees that do not inconvenience.
 
Charlestown Township should not be penalized for development in adjacent townships.
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Dear Governor Ridge,
 
Please accept this as another letter from Pennsylvania residents opposed to the addition of a new interchange on the Pennsylvania Turnpike in Charlestown.
 
One of the great strengths of the State of Pennsylvania is its combination of large, metropolitan areas and scenic rural areas. Charlestown is a rural community, and its residents would like to maintain its charm and beauty. The addition of a new turnpike interchange in Charlestown, and the accompanying increase in traffic loads on nearby roadways, would significantly alter the nature of this community in a way that is inconsistent with the desires of its residents.
 
It is likely that no community in the State of Pennsylvania wants to be the home of a new turnpike interchange. Maybe the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission should take this as a clue that the addition of new interchanges is not the best solution to the problems of congestion and delays. Alternative measures (the addition of E-Z Pass lanes at existing interchanges is just one example) are certain to have more appeal for the residents of the State.
 
Governor Ridge, we ask for your support and your diligent efforts to convince the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission that the proposed interchange in Charlestown is a bad idea that should not go forward.
 
Let's all work to truly improve the State of Pennsylvania, not just change it.
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Dear Governor Thomas J. Ridge:
 
My husband and I are writing in opposition to the proposed turnpike slip ramp near the intersection of Route 29 and the PA Turnpike in Charlestown Township, Chester County.
 
As twenty-five (25) year residents of the nationally registered Historic District of Charlestown Village on Charlestown Road, we are greatly concerned with how the increased traffic on this access road will affect the historic buildings in the district. I am a member of the Historical and Architectural Review Board, which oversees changes to the district. I know that these buildings are protected by ordinances set forth by the United States Department of Interior, National Register of Historic Places. Since the houses and buildings in the district are very close to Charlestown Road, the road cannot be widened. There are also streams running directly along and under the road, which would prevent its widening. Charlestown Road is currently over burdened by commuter traffic from outside the township and the slip ramp would only increase the delays and gridlock
 
There are only four (4) roads in Charlestown Township which access the proposed slip ramp. These are rural scenic roads and the increased traffic from outside the township would change forever the rural and historic climate we have worked so hard to preserve.
 
We hope you will support our opposition.
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Dear Governor Ridge;
 
I am writing to you as a resident of Charlestown Township.
 
I am concerned with the proposed interchange of the turnpike near Route 29 and Whitehorse Rd. in Chester County.
 
Already we have heavy congestion in this area from both traffic and noise. As a resident who moved to a specifically quieter area to live, I dislike the idea that quiet space and open land is being sacrificed yet again for convenience.
 
Another deep concern is that because no Federal funds will be used in this proposed construction, I understand there will be no Environmental Impact Study. In my mind this is a serious abandonment of our responsibilities to safeguard the environment.
 
I am hopeful that you, as an elected official, will endeavor to represent all of your constituents, not just those concerned with their own immediate welfare and convenience.
 
Thank your for your time and attention.
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Dear Governor Ridge:
 
First and foremost, congratulations on your re-election. As a concerned citizen I am pleased to have a governor who protects the people he represents. Your positive stance on open space has become a crucial issue to rural areas such as ours and your continued support is needed now more than ever.
 
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has proposed a slip ramp or possibly a full interchange to be placed on an already tremendously congested back country road in Charlestown Township. The proposal is to have it placed at the intersection of Route 29 and Whitehorse Road. I am strongly opposed to this proposition. In this area we have an elementary school, single family homes, and numerous historical buildings. All the roads are single lane, and farms and skating ponds are a large part of the community. If you go out in the morning during the rush hour to Route 29, there is already an inordinate amount of congestion trying to get the kids to school. The buses are coming later and later because they can't get to our neighborhood through the traffic. This makes the kids late for school and poses a threat to their safety vying for road space with people who are going to work. I am not opposed to progress, but when my kids safety becomes an issue, I'll be the first in line to fight. If this ramp is built in the proposed destination of Whitehorse Rd. and Route 29, our entire community would suffer. Again, I must reiterate, I am strongly opposed to this proposition!
 
In the November elections there were over 700 signatures from our community opposing the proposition and I am confident that with your campaign to preserve open space you will help us to resolve this situation.
 
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
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Dear Governor Ridge:
 
You have served our state well. I must now turn to you for your help in a matter which it appears cannot be dealt with by township or county, but must go directly to your desk.
 
I appeal to you to assist the citizens, organizations and school systems of Charlestown Township in their near-universal strong opposition to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's proposal to build a slip-ramp here. The County Planning Commission is likewise opposed.
 
However, to date the Turnpike Commission has turned a deaf ear.
 
The slip ramp, proposed for the intersection of Route 29 and Whitehorse Road, will destroy irreplacable historical sites, pollute air and water in this still-rural township, negate the County Landscapes Plan, and make near-impassible our already congested and accident-prone rural roads, and above all, impact on the safety of the lives of our schoolchildren, whether in busses or afoot, since the slip-ramp location is in the area of or immediately adjacent to the schools of the Great Valley School system.
 
Let me speak to one or two of the above points only:
 
Charlestown's roads, designed for cart and horse, are already simply accidents waiting to happen, and they happen. Many will be fatal.
 
The intersection is within a few short miles of Valley Forge. Surely the State Historical personnel will demand review and archaeological exploration of the site of the Revolutionary War Paymaster, and others at this intersection.
 
As to the argument that this turnpike slip-ramp, perhaps soon a general exit and entrance, is good for business, speed traffic to the nearby Corporate centers in other townships attract development, profit many, bring in revenue to State, are not the human and environmental costs greater, and in the long run more profitable? Is the state not more concerned with all of the tourist industry of nearby Valley Forge and consequent profit.? Recently adjacent Phoenixville, PA here has been selected as a tourist center for the Schuylkill River Reach project. Tourists come for rural and historical experiences, not for shopping malls, those being both at Exton and King of Prussia aplenty. As to the profit of developers, the very "beautiful views" advertised are those we owners of still-undeveloped farm sites pay for from our own pockets and maintain with our taxes and labor at no cost to others, and if hard pressed and we cannot go on, these advertised "beautiful views" will be gone and insofar as the prized land-values are based on this township's rural character, the value, the profit to the state through new, highly assessed development homes, can only fall.
 
Let me, however, particularly underscore the present road congestion in the entire area in which such a slip-ramp might be placed. We have now on Route 29 and also on Charlestown Road and elsewhere a congested stream of school busses and small commuter cars sandwiched between oil trucks, quarry trucks, and huge cement trucks. These are roads already so narrow and so twisted that for two ordinary cars to pass one must often pull off into the road edge.
 
Given this already dangerous road and present traffic hazard here, should not studies first be made of the infrastructure here, and in the entire area here which the Turnpike Commission proposes now to burden with further traffic, and in time, no doubt, with much more?
 
In closing, I now thank you for all of the time you have already given to our welfare and urge you to put an end to the Turnpike's slip ramp, (and perhaps later a full ramp) project which will serve to destroy another rural township and impact not only on our township, but on the entire area tourist industry. There are other and better plans to conduct business traffic to its destinations with no danger to life and limb and no destruction of our rural township.
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Dear Governor Ridge,
 
I am a resident of Charlestown Township, and I am writing to you to express my strong opposition to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission's proposed slip ramp or interchange at Route 29 and Whitehorse Road in Charlestown Township. We live within one mile of the proposed Route 29 site, and we believe that our community will suffer irreparable harm if the plan goes forward.
 
Charlestown is essentially rural in character with country lanes and open spaces. This is why many of us moved here, and this character would be destroyed by the increased traffic and commercial development that a slip ramp/interchange would bring. Our nearby roads - Whitehorse Road, Yellow Springs Road, Charlestown Road and Phoenixville Pike - cannot handle any increase in traffic, much less the volume that would result from the Turnpike Commission plan.
 
The area under consideration is very near our schools - Charlestown Elementary, Great Valley High, and the new middle school under construction - and the increase in traffic will greatly increase the risk to our children. The roads immediately surrounding the location of the proposed slip ramp/interchange are major school bus routes. Moreover, no consideration has been given to the environmental impact of the slip ramp/interchange. The loss of open space, the air and noise pollution, and the effect on our historic structures will dramatically reduce the quality of our life in Charlestown.
 
As our Governor, we are counting on you to protect the interests of the citizens of Charlestown Township and vigorously oppose this project. We hope you will express to the Turnpike Commission how detrimental the slip ramp/interchange would be, and that it must not be built here.
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Dear Governor Ridge,
 
I am writing to express strong opposition to the PA Turnpike Commission's proposal to build a "slip ramp" at Route 29 in Chester County. Based on the limited information put forth by the PA Turnpike Commission identifying their perception of the traffic problems in this area, we residents can not see the placement of a "slip ramp" in any of these semi-rural townships as a viable and well reasoned solution.
 
The short and long term effects of a "slip-ramp" or future full service interchange on Charlestown Township (where I reside) as well as the surrounding townships of Schuylkill, Tredyffrin, and East Whiteland (all predominately Republican Townships) will be devastating. Traffic will be drawn to the ramp through already over burdened narrow, winding country roads such as Yellow Springs Road, Whitehorse Road, and Charlestown Road. Other residents' issues with the proposed "slip-ramp" include its 1/2 mile proximity to Charlestown Elementary School and the bus yard, historical properties including Revolutionary War-era structures in the area of the proposed site, and potential for sink hole formation in the local carbonate geology.
 
Because of the legitimate concerns of the residents, stated above, and because the PA Turnpike Commission's justifications for imposing a "slip-ramp" on these Townships thus far have been incomplete at best and flawed at worst, we respectfully request your office to please help us stop this unwanted project.
 
The residents and elected officials of Charlestown Township have expressed their opposition by way of a 700 signature petition (this petition was taken at the polls on Election Day 1998 and represents 700 of the approximately 925 recorded voters) forwarded to you under a cover letter from the township supervisors unanimously opposing the project. As a resident of Charlestown and a Republican, I respectfully request that the Governor's office urge the PA Turnpike Commission to listen to the voice of the people of the affected townships.
 
Thank you for your consideration.
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Dear Governor Ridge,
 
I am writing to you to voice my strong opposition to the Proposed Turnpike Interchange near Route 29 and Whitehorse Road. I live in a development on Whitehorse Road and witness the traffic that already exists. Turning from Whitehorse Rd. onto route 29 at rush hour is so slow now! It can take me 20 minutes or more to drive my children to school a mile and a half away. At rush hour route 29 is currently a parking lot. I drive far out of my way to avoid route 29 from 4:30 to 6:30 pm. I am not the only one taking a detour. Many other cars do the same making the narrow, winding country roads in this area dangerous.
 
I have been informed that no Environmental Impact Statement needs to be done, since no Federal funds will be used to construct the Interchange. That is so ridiculous! We are working so hard in this township to preserve the rural atmosphere in this area. What right does the Turnpike Commission have to disregard the environment? I have also heard that there will be no opportunity for a Public Hearing by the Turnpike Commission. Why?
 
I am having a very hard time understanding how the Interchange can be built with such strong local opposition and existing traffic nightmares! PLEASE, come take a drive around this area at 5:00 pm. some day soon. Witness the current congestion and picture even more traffic.
 
Governor Ridge, please do all you can to stop this Interchange from being built.
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Dear Governor Ridge,
 
The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission is continuing with its plans for a Proposed Interchange near Route 29 and Whitehorse Road in Chester County, just north of the Great Valley Corporate Center.
 
It is my understanding that no provisions have been made for a Public Hearing by the Turnpike Commission. Therefore, an addition to the interstate road system which will affect thousands of residents and business owners in the area may be built without those individuals' ability to voice their opinion on the efficacy of the addition.
 
As a resident of Charlestown Township whose home is relatively close to the proposed location, I wish to express my objection to that location. It is about 1/4 mile from a local elementary school, which is on the main access road to the proposed interchange.
 
Although I understand the Turnpike Commission's need to alleviate the heavy flow of traffic through the Valley Forge Interchange, I would hope that a location other than next to a school could be found.
 
Further, the citizens' voices should be allowed to be heard, as they are with other proposals for planning, zoning or facility placement that will impact their daily lives.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration of this issue.


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