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Innovation & Growth Initiative: Montgomery County Benchmark
Learn about Abington's Next Century. To access a white paper that compares Abington to the rest of Montgomery County, click here >
Candidate for Commissioner - Abington Township Ward 7
Download a PDF with responses by Democratic candidate Madeleine Dean and Republican Matthew Willis. RMCA is pleased to present responses from this candidate running for Commissioner. These are the opinions of the candidate and RMCA is not responsible for the accuracy of the statements or typographic errors.
RMCA: Abington’s Comprehensive Plan appears to represent a major redevelopment and revitalization effort. Consistent with that plan, the Fairway Transit District (FTD) was adopted. These plans are intended to impact the quality of life and tax base in Abington. If elected, how would you spend the next four years implementing or changing these plans? Please name three concrete steps you would take.
Matthew Willis: The adoption of the Fairway Transit District ordinance was the result of the threat of a lawsuit against the Township by the owner of the Baederwood Shopping Center. It was not adopted in order to comply with the Township's Comprehensive Plan. I oppose the Fairway Transit District. The construction of nearly 250 apartment units could lead to significant increases in school taxes, and the added traffic congestion will have a negative impact on the commercial entities in Ward 7.
I would propose repealing the Fairway Transit District ordinance that was adopted in January 2011. I would propose rezoning the property to eliminate the possibility of constructing high-density housing. Abington is already the second densest township in Montgomery County. We should be taking steps to reduce our population density, not increase it.
RMCA: Abington sponsored a traffic study in 2007 and identified nine failing intersections in the Township. The Comprehensive Plan calls for educational efforts and an increased use of public transit to impact traffic levels. How would you spend the next four years to improve infrastructure, traffic lights, street signs and crosswalks to reduce congestion, auto collisions and deaths? Please be specific about your priorities.
Matthew Willis: The traffic study conducted in 2007 found that 9 of 13 intersections were "failing" during one or more peak weekday hours. Several of these intersections are in Ward 7 or very close to Ward 7. The heavy traffic volume at these intersections is the largest contributor to the number of traffic accidents. The study did make some recommendations such as the addition of separate turning lanes and improved traffic signals. These recommendations should be implemented where possible.
The study also recommended public transportation as a means of reducing traffic congestion. I believe that public transportation for commuters into and out of Philadelphia has been successful. We should look for ways to increase access for commuters such as better parking at Township train stations. Many of our train station parking lots run at full or near-full capacity on most weekdays. We need to look to increase parking capacity at those stations that do not already contribute to the heavy traffic congestion.
I also believe that we need to look at how we can make improvements to Old York Rd. According to the traffic study, it is the most heavily traveled road in Abington. I would like to examine how we could make travel on Old York Road more efficient, such as improvements to the traffic signals. For example, certain feeder roads do not have as much traffic as others. We could adjust the timing of those traffic signals to allow more traffic to flow on Old York Rd during peak hours.
RMCA: A large number of residents have expressed dissatisfaction with 48 foot long billboards potentially being built in the midst of our community. In response, Abington Commissioners have entered into litigation with the sign company to stop or slow them down. How would you modify existing ordinances or craft future ordinances to avoid getting into similar situations with outside entities? Do you believe that we need to review all of our ordinances to ensure that they comply with current Commonwealth law?
Matthew Willis: I oppose billboards in Abington Township. I don't believe that they add any value to our community. I am absolutely opposed to outside entities attempting to dictate land-use decisions in Abington. I applaud the Board of Commissioners for taking a stand on the billboard issue; however, I think the FTD ordinance set a very bad precedent. The Board of Commissioners sent a message that if you threaten to sue the Township, you can negotiate a pretty good deal. We absolutely need to examine our zoning throughout the township to ensure that we get desirable development. Also, we shouldn't be afraid to enforce our existing zoning. Even if it means litigation.
Candidate for Ward 7 Commissioner
0 comments by Members are their personal opinions (see RMCA policies)