CIRCULATION AND TRANSPORTATION
Transportation networks and circulation patterns play an
important role in the Borough’s future planning process. The transportation
network must be maintained so that it functions effectively and respects the
urban character of the Borough. Policies relating to transportation and
circulation in West Chester are found in Section III, Plan Recommendations. A
history of transportation in West Chester Borough is included in the
Transportation networks through and around West Chester
Borough have been established in part because of commuting requirements
resulting from residential and employment center development in surrounding
townships. Several state routes not originally intended for heavy commuter
traffic have recently evolved into arterial roadways. Additionally, the Borough
offers a variety of employment, education and entertainment options that attract
visitors. The Borough’s amenities, its location and juxtaposition in the
regional highway network contribute to a significant increase in congestion on
many Borough streets at peak travel hours.
West Chester is less than twenty (20) miles from
Wilmington, Delaware and about twenty-five (25) miles from Philadelphia. It is
situated in eastern Chester County and several major roadways converge in the
Borough as shown on Map 1. The traffic network consists of a series of major
roads in the Borough and the surrounding area. A few smaller roads cross
through the West Chester region, but do not pass through the Borough. Route 3
(West Chester Pike) originates in West Chester forming the Gay Street and Market
Street east/west one-way pair and moves east to Philadelphia. U.S. Route 202
runs north/south along the eastern edge of the Borough and serves as the U.S.
Route 322 and Route 100 bypasses around West Chester. Route 100 runs generally
north/south through the Borough as High Street, Price Street, and Bradford
Avenue with a bypass to the east of the Borough along Route 202. U.S. Route 322
angles across the Borough northwest/southeast with a bypass route around Hannum
Avenue, Gay Street/Market Street and High Street. Route 52 also begins in West
Chester at the intersection of High Street and Price Street and runs southwest
along Price Street with PA Route 100 and turns south at Bradford Avenue. PA
Route 162 also begins in the Borough at the intersection of Strasburgh Road and
Hannum Avenue and heads west to Strasburgh in Lancaster County. PA Route 842
begins in the Borough at the intersection of High Street and Miner Street,
running southwest as Miner Street. Paoli Pike also begins in West Chester where
Gay and Market Streets meet West Chester Pike. Major roads in the region that do
not pass through the Borough include Route 926 (Street Road), Route 352, and
The comprehensive plan visioning process provided many
opinions and ideas regarding Borough transportation issues. Residents expressed
their desire to decrease traffic on certain routes and calm traffic throughout
the Borough. The business community wishes to ensure sufficient parking and
access to key shopping areas. Other comments from the visioning process were:
Encourage alternate traffic routes for trucks.
Lane changes throughout the Borough are inconsistent and not well
Pavement marking maintenance should be improved.
Provide validated parking for shoppers in the downtown business
Parking garage fees may be too expensive for non-profit agency
Off-street parking is unavailable in the southeast section of the
Public bus service should include late night returns.
Create a downtown pedestrian zone.
Explore the reinstatement of the “Run-A-Round” shuttle.
Additional bus service should be considered for the Great Valley
Corporate Center and Paoli.
Street signs are in poor repair.
Provide signage to locate important features throughout the
Provide a way finding kiosk in the Central Business District to
assist visitors and shoppers.
Several traffic studies have been prepared for the Borough
that concern various transportation-related issues and problems. They are
discussed in detail below.
Huth Engineers, 1988
The first traffic study, conducted in 1988 by Huth
Engineers described major components of the Borough’s transportation network and
defined required improvements to enable the network to function more
efficiently. This study indicates that the High Street intersections with Gay,
Price, Marshall, Miner and Linden Streets will have level of service (LOS)
grades of “F” or “F-” for the year 2010 with an improved network. LOS is
expressed using the letters “A” through “F”. Designation “A” is considered to
be the best possible driving situation in which drivers move freely and
generally unimpeded by other vehicles. As the LOS moves toward “F” driving
becomes more difficult. It becomes necessary to move at the same speed as other
vehicles, and maneuverability is limited. At LOS “F”, traffic volumes become
too large for the road capacity or intersection. Traffic volumes at LOS “F” are
extremely heavy and long backups, gridlock, and delays are common. Generally,
roads and intersections are designed to handle volumes at a LOS “C” in rural
conditions and LOS “D” in developed areas.
The LOS at these intersections may be improved through the
completion of West Chester Borough’s and West Goshen Township’s “closed loop”
traffic signal system coordination project. This project installs fiber optic
cables and a computer system to coordinate the timing of signals along the High
Street Corridor in the Borough and on key routes outside the Borough, such as
Paoli Pike and Route 3. This project will increase the efficiency of signal
timing and maximize the capacity of existing roadways.
Huth Engineers’ traffic study provides the following
summary suggestions for Borough intersections and circulation improvements:
Make High Street one-way northbound from Price to Marshall; Pair
with Church Street
Make Marshall Street one-way westbound from High to Church Street
Make Wayne Street one-way northbound from Gay to Washington Street
Make Brandywine Street one-way southbound from Chestnut to Gay
Extend Chestnut Street’s one-way restriction to Brandywine Street
Make Adams Street one-way southbound from Market to Union Street
Make Bolmar Street one-way northbound from Union to Market Street.
Amman and Whitney, 1998
The second study was also prepared in 1998 by Amman and
Whitney and provided background data for the traffic signalization project. The
Amman and Whitney report performed traffic volumes to characterize several
intersections. Data regarding existing LOS for major intersections in the
Borough is presented in Table 12 and on Map 11.
Level of Service - Major Intersections
West Chester Regional Planning Commission, 1988
The West Chester Regional Planning Commission prepared a
“Long Range Transportation Study” in 1988, which inventoried the regional
transportation network. The study made recommendations for minimizing
congestion problems, road improvements, trip congestion problems, trip reduction
strategies, strategies for maximizing the efficiency of the road network, and a
discussion of implementation recommendations. The study provided maps
indicating the PM peak hourly volumes for the year 2010 for High Street, with
and without improvements indicated in the study. In comparing the projected
2010 unimproved and improved network volumes, there is a 3.89% average reduction
of the overall expected traffic on High Street by rerouting through traffic
around the Borough. This figure does not account for reductions resulting from
the de-designation of Route 100. The reduction of pass-through traffic in the
Borough is achieved by improving access to the existing bypasses and by making
improvements to bypasses around the Borough.
Typical traffic volume characteristics of the area can be
summarized as heavy morning and evening peak hour traffic with reduced volumes
during midday and weekends. Night volumes are much lower, typical of most
Central Business District areas. The area also generates a substantial volume
of local residential and commercial traffic throughout the day. The highest
hourly volumes in the 1996 study were found at the intersection of High Street
and Market Street with an AM peak of 2,096 vehicles per hour and a PM peak of
2,248 vehicles per hour. Daily traffic volumes in the Borough necessitate that
roads be maintained adequately to ensure safety.
URS Greiner Woodward Clyde, 1999
URS Greiner Woodward Clyde (URSGWC) recently completed a
traffic analysis for this planning project. The URSGWC study and the visioning
process identified safety concerns at the intersection of Rosedale Avenue and
High Street. The study suggests increasing the turning radii at this
intersection or adding a turning lane to improve safety. Pennoni Associates is
also studying this intersection for improvements as part of the West Chester
University Master Planning Process.
- Tigue Road
Tigue Road was examined by URSGWC for improvements and use
as a bypass south of West Chester. Tigue Road connects Lenape Road (PA 52/dedesignation
PA Route 100) with New Street and High Street (Business U.S. Route 322) near the
U.S. Route 202/ U.S. Route 322 bypass interchange. If Tigue Road could be
improved and linked to the by-pass East of West Chester, it could relieve
congestion on High Street and Bradford Avenue by reducing through volumes.
Improving Tigue Road furthers the completion of a by-pass
system around the Borough. It would allow through traffic to access all but two
(PA Route 162 & PA Route 842) of the major routes that converge in the Borough
without having to actually enter the Borough. Improving Tigue Road would
complete the third of four sides of the beltway around the Borough. It would
allow Route 100 through traffic to use the Exton bypass, U.S. Route 202 and
Tigue Road to avoid the current High Street, Price Street, and Bradford Avenue
route it currently takes through the Borough. Traffic from U.S. Route 322,
Phoenixville and Paoli could also use this route to avoid entering the Borough
to continue south on PA Route 100 or PA Route 52.
URSGWC visited Tigue Road to assess its potential for
serving as a bypass. Tigue Road is a narrow, rolling, reasonably straight
roadway from PA Route 52 to New Street. It then runs through the Robert B.
Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies from New Street to High Street in
the southwest corner of West Goshen Township and West Chester University, South
Campus. URSGWC noted that sight distance is severely limited heading west on
Tigue Road at New Street. It is unlikely that Tigue Road could be improved and
used as a bypass through the Robert B. Gordon Natural Area due to environmental
restrictions. An alternate route around the Borough already exists. Motorists
and truck traffic could utilize the bypass and Route 926 (Street Road) to get
back to Route 100.
- West Market Street Angled Parking
URSGWC also examined the possibility of returning to
perpendicular parking in front of shops on West Market Street, between
Darlington Street and Church Street. Currently, W. Market Street has parallel
parking on both sides (14 spaces on the north side, 12 on the south side), with
a right turn lane to Church Street, and two eastbound through lanes. Based on
DVRPC digital orthophotography, West Market Street is roughly 60 feet wide.
URSGWC reviewed The American Institute of Architect’s (AIA)
"Architectural Graphic Standards" and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation
(PennDOT) Publication 201 "Engineering and Traffic Studies" for parking
dimensions. AIA's Parking Dimensions show a travel area of 32 feet for
45-degree angled parking and 48 feet for 90 degree angled parking. These
distances include 16 feet for the parking stall and provide a safe area for cars
to maneuver and park without conflicting with the travel lane. Publication 201
indicates the required elements of a traffic study and criteria to provide new
angled parking. Publication 201 shows maneuver area dimensions of 26 feet for
30-degree angle, 30 feet for 45-degree angle and 43 feet for 90-degree angled
In order to provide sufficient maneuvering and parking area
to accommodate angled parking, parallel parking on the other side of W. Market
Street might have to be eliminated, resulting in no change in the number of
available parking spaces. Additionally, provision of angled parking may lead to
alignment problems for the through lanes. Consistency is another issue to
consider, in that providing angled parking for this block and parallel parking
elsewhere may confuse motorists who do not expect cars to back out of the angled
- De-designation of Certain State Routes
The de-designation of certain state routes in the Borough
would place restrictions on direction of travel and vehicle types. The traffic
study prepared by URSGWC indicates that PA Route 52 (Price Street) is one area
of West Chester Borough that may benefit from such a de-designation. Residents
along Route 52 of this area would generally support such a de-designation. The
study also suggests that Tigue Road, once suggested as a Price Street rerouting
option, is not an ideal alternative in part because it passes through the Robert
B. Gordon Natural Area. This area will likely have significant limitations with
respect to the amount of allowable construction and re-grading.
De-designation of Route 100 through the Borough is another
option to reduce traffic volumes in by rerouting through traffic. URS Greiner
Woodward Clyde has estimated a possible five per cent (5%) reduction in traffic
loads from de-designation, and perhaps an even greater reduction in the volume
of long haul trucks.
It is imperative for West Chester Borough to have adequate
public transportation facilities in order to decrease reliance on the automobile
for travel. Currently, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority
(SEPTA) provides bus service in the Borough on the following routes:
Route 9--King of Prussia to the Parkway Shopping Center
Route 10--The 69th Street Terminal to West Chester
Route 11--Feltonville and Chester to West Chester
Route 31--Upper Chichester to Goshen Corporate Park
Krapf Bus Service, Inc. operates Route A, which runs along
Route 100 north to the Exton Mall and west along Route 30 to Coatesville. Bus
service is provided seven days a week and pick-ups are hourly. Ridership has
been estimated at approximately 100 people per day. Krapf Coaches provides bus
service to West Chester Borough, which runs to Downingtown and Coatesville.
Within the Borough, the now-defunct “Run-A-Round” was a locally funded shuttle
bus service also operated by Krapf’s Transit with stops in the center of West
Chester Borough (“the Inner Circuit”) and at local shopping centers (“the Outer
Circuit”). The Run-A-Round was sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce of Greater
West Chester and Chester County and provided discounts or waived fares for
County employees, senior citizens and West Chester University students. It
eventually became uneconomical and went out of service.
Paratransit services are provided to senior citizen
residents of the Borough of West Chester by Krapf Bus Companies, Inc. This
service is privately contracted and operated, but administered through the
Chester County Commissioners. Senior citizens can ride free through funding by
the State Lottery and Older Americans Act.
The SEPTA R-5 line
provides train service from Doylestown to Thorndale. SEPTA is also currently
exploring the possibility of an inter-suburban line that would connect West
Chester with Media. Amtrak provides regional train service from Philadelphia to