ULI Philadelphia Blog

Urban Land Institute Philadelphia Releases Report on Woolwich Township Regional Center

Philadelphia, PA (October 6, 2014) –At the request of Woolwich Township, Urban Land Institute Philadelphia, the tri-state District Council of the global non-profit Urban Land Institute, conducted a Technical Assistance Panel (TAP) to study opportunities and challenges surrounding the development of the Woolwich Township Regional Center.  The report offers recommendations to reconfigure the existing center into three core areas of mixed-use, industrial and low impact rural/institutional zones; developing a trail system to leverage natural resources and rethinking design guidelines to make the center more walkable and accessible for both pedestrians and vehicles. Exit 2 of the TURNPIKE represents the only undeveloped (2.5 square miles) TPK Interchange remaining in the state, and as such, offers tremendous opportunities for highway and destination-based growth.

“An incredible amount of time and energy has gone into rethinking the Regional Center in order to create a more economically viable mixed use center that emphasizes prime location, walkability, recreation and the community’s bountiful agricultural resources,” said Mayor Samuel Maccarone. “These recommendations will help inform our process as we re-evaluate our Master Plan for the project later this year.”

That effort received a major infusion of support in September, when Township officials were informed that their grant application for the Unified Land Use and Transportation Master Plan submitted under the Transportation and Community Development Initiative (TCDI) of the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), had been approved for funding in the amount of $100,000.

“The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission’s TCDI program provides a mechanism for municipalities to take locally directed actions to improve their communities, which in turn helps build our vision for an economically strong and sustainable region,” said Patty Elkis, PP, AICP, Director of Planning at DVRPC.  “As one of the fastest growing municipalities in our region, we are pleased to support Woolwich Township’s Master Plan Re-Exam process, designed to facilitate a vibrant regional center while preserving surrounding farmland and the community’s agricultural heritage.”

“It is extremely encouraging to see this level of support for the kind of comprehensive and forward-thinking planning that the Township has been engaged in,” said Matt Blake, Woolwich Township Director of Community Development. “Clearly the Township’s proposal to DVRPC for the TCDI grant was strengthened by the ULI TAP Report and other valuable work that’s been done in preparation for the Master Plan re-examination, and we are thrilled by this news.”

The 10 person panel interviewed more than 35 individuals who shared their insights and observations about the Regional Center.  Specifically, the panel was asked to focus their recommendations on four key areas: land use; walkability/design to make it pedestrian friendly and encourage multi-modal use; marketing Woolwich as a regional destination; and how to leverage incentives, mechanisms and programs to support the project’s development.  These recommendations include:

  • Reconfigure the Center to form three core areas: Mixed Use Walkable, Small Box Industrial and Low-Impact Rural/Institutional areas
  • Tie natural resources to the Center with a trail system that transects the retail center.
  • Make the intersection of Kings Highway and Route 322 the Regional Center’s focal point; design Kings Highway’s streetscape for a safe pedestrian experience; design Route 322 with a parkway aesthetic and a shared use path; employ “complete streets” concepts.
  • Create gateways to the Center at either end of Route 322 and at the northern side of Kings Highway.
  • Engage the development community in rethinking design guidelines to promote quality design within the context of the local housing market’s capacity to absorb the additional associated costs.
  • Provide pedestrian access on all sides of the planned Main Street complex.
  • As the Regional Center evolves, maintain a focus on the long-term vision and make commercial areas the highest quality practical.

Click here to read the full report.

About Urban Land Institute Philadelphia

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute whose mission is to provide responsible leadership in the use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.  Established in 1936, ULI today has more than 33,000 members around the globe, representing the entire spectrum of land use and development disciplines.  Our members include developers, builders, property owners, investors, architects, public officials, planners, brokers, appraisers, attorneys, engineers, financiers, academics, students and librarians.

The Philadelphia District Council encompasses about 850 members throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania, the southern half of New Jersey and the State of Delaware.  It is one of the most robust District Councils in the country, experiencing strong growth and introducing new initiatives.  For more information please visit www.philadelphia.uli.org.

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Media Contact:

Meghan McGarrigle

mmcgarrigle@mavenagency.com

215-434-7195

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