And a more complete traffic study needs to be done
Some history for those who attended the Planning Board hearing (May 3rd): 1727 Division Road (directly across the entrance to Signal Ridge on Division Road) has been owned by Mr. Ned Capozzi (the developer of the proposed Division Road 400-unit development) since the late 1980s. He has owned it in partnership with former R.I. Governor Noel and another gentleman. They have applied three times to tear down this historic home (which is listed in the National Register as well mentioned in the E.G. Bicentennial book.
I believe that any condition to approve units for the proposed development should include preservation of this home. When I first moved to EG 23 years ago, that house was occupied. Mr. Capozzi and his group have claimed over and over that this home was beyond repair. They have purposely neglected the house, which is called demolition by neglect. The town cannot compel the developer to preserve this home and the state has no statute to preserve homes such as this. The only thing the town has been able to do is require them to secure the home, which they have. I have contacted the state, the State Preservation Board, Preserve RI (both of which Mr Capozzi and his family were members) etc.
The developer is waiting for this home to fall down so he can access the 30 acres behind it which are in West Warwick (which he also owns). That would allow him an egress in which (once again) EG would receive all the traffic. I have been at every meeting for years in which Mr Capozzi and his group have tried to take down this home.
In regards to the developer’s traffic study which was reviewed by Ana Novo (EG’s traffic expert), I sat on the “Route 2 Access Management” study in 2006. At that time the Division and Route 2 intersection was slated to fail (LOS F) by Ms. Novo by the year 2020. She also stated at peak hours that intersection (in 2006) experienced a 67 percent to 74 percent increase in traffic capacity. The RIDOT “Highway Safety Improvement Program – Fiscal Year 2013” study mentions both the entrance to Route 95 off of New London Turnpike and Routes 4 and 95 combo off of Division Road as being of major concern. RIDOT has done minor improvements in these areas but I suspect that the volume of traffic is much higher currently. There is a lot of unanticipated development coming from other towns which affect our capacity and also pedestrian traffic in this area. NEIT students as well as local residents use the Division /Shippeetown/Moosehorn roads. The speeds at which traffic travels on these roads was calculated, both in 2006 and the developer’s more recent traffic study, to be 80 percent over the posted speeds. With a narrow shoulder and no sidewalks, this area has become increasingly dangerous.
Division Road has four exits on it or nearby that access Routes 95/4. My neighbors who live on main roads and I can attest that at least once per week there is an accident on this stretch of Route 95. The minute that happens, we can tell by the amount of cars that use Division/Shippeetown/Crompton/Moosehorn as cut-throughs. An accident last week in which a truck overturned on Rt 95S backed up traffic for over 2 hours. During the summer months, it is a constant problem during heavy beach traffic days. Division Road is a winding road but those coming off the highway will attempt to travel at highway speeds. It is also a state road (as are Main St/Post Rd, South County Trail, and half of Frenchtown) and I would like to see a comprehensive traffic study as part of this proposal as well.
I would urge residents to please stay involved as this is the largest development to be proposed in East Greenwich. For those of us who live on Division or other main roads, we are predominantly affected.
Renu Englehart is a member of the Town Council.