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Potential New Walgreens in Randolph, Planning Board Discusses Traffic Implications

Matthew Salerno

Saturday, June 21, 2014 • 11:22pm

RANDOLPH, NJ- A new Walgreens Pharmacy could potentially be coming to Randolph Commons in the near future, pending the decision of the Randolph Planning Board.  A lawyer, two engineers and an architect associated with the potential new business appeared before the Planning Board on Monday June 2 to request variances on town ordinances and propose the new plan for the property behind the Randolph Diner.

The Planning Board found several issues with the proposed Walgreens, thus the team is heading back to the drawing board and will appear with changes again next month.  The proposed Walgreens asked for multiple variances on town ordinances such as parking spaces, sign heights, sidewalk space and more.

Despite several issues, the board found the issue of the potential traffic impacts on the intersection with Rt. 10 and Cedar Grove Road the most important to discuss.  The Walgreens’ two proposed entrances/exits would be directly from Rt. 10 and through the Randolph Diner parking lot onto Center Grove Road.  The board thought the traffic from those exiting the Walgreens on to Cedar Grove Road to try and make a left on to Rt. 10 West could be significantly increased without changes.  The board also found that the traffic within Randolph Commons would be more congested if Walgreens customers were cutting through the diner parking lot and vice versa.

The traffic engineer maintained that the traffic caused by the Walgreens, even at peak traveling hour, would be rather insignificant and backed it up with a report.  According to the report, the Walgreens customers would add less than 2 percent additional traffic during the busiest hours.  Many of the board members seemed skeptical of this however and suggested the report may not take into account how busy the intersection actually is.

Jim Marsaka, chairman of the Traffic Advisory Committee, was present at the Planning Board meeting and made his thoughts on the traffic impacts known.  “Coming out from the diner is already a nightmare, and this just adds to it,” said Marsaka.

On Tuesday June 3 the Traffic Advisory Committee met and expressed concerns with excess traffic from the Walgreens.  However, state law prohibits local planning boards from having a say in external traffic, giving the planning board jurisdiction only on the traffic inside Randolph Commons, not at the traffic light.

Another issue with the Planning Board arose when the architect proposed an LED sign that would show daily specials that the store was offering.  Chairman Art Lee stated that the board was not in favor of LED signs advertising products and did not want Randolph to take on, “The Coney Island look.”

Overall, the potential for a Walgreens at the intersection of Rt. 10 and Center Grove Road could add a valuable shopping spot to Randolph Commons, but certain details need to be worked out before the board can approve the construction.  The engineers, architect and lawyer associated with the potential new Walgreens will appear again before the planning board on July 21 at 7 p.m.

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