Traffic concerns near Belmont Shopping Center

MANHEIM TOWNSHIP, Pa. — With Christmas just days away, many folks are rushing to get that last minute shopping done. The new Belmont shopping center is seeing an uptick in traffic. But some people in the area said it has nothing to do with the holiday season.

Is it the number of cars or the traffic lights causing the problem? There’s a reason officials don’t have an answer.

The Belmont shopping center is located across from the Red Rose Commons shopping complex, and was built within the last year. More than a dozen stores have been added.

“Oh yeah it’s been very positive for the Township,” Sgt. Michael Piacentino with the Manheim Township Police Department, said. “We’ve seen an increase in productivity, we’ve seen an increase in jobs, we’ve seen an increase in money that come into the town and people are going there because they are enjoying the experience of the shopping center. So it has been a positive experience.”

Maybe once you're there. But getting in or out…

“It makes you not want to really go out shopping,” Sylvia Kilheffer, who lives in Lancaster, said. “Either you go out really really early or really really late in the evening but it makes it difficult. I understand that’s the way things are and that’s the way the world is going right now.”

“I mean I think it’s a build up of traffic with it being a new complex and everything,” Joe Blouch, who also lives in Lancaster, said. “But the traffic lights do seem to be a little bit wonky. There is a little bit of a back log every once in a while.”

Many drivers said they feel the three traffic lights beginning at the entrance of the shopping centers extending north on Fruitville Pike under Route 30 aren't in sync.  Even when you get a green a light, you can't always go. Plus crashes have gone up.

“The roadway was widened, there’s more lanes, there’s more vehicles, there’s more people,” Piacentino said “There’s more activity that’s going on, and when those things increase crashes are going to increase.”

So is the problem the traffic lights? Or simply the number of cars on the road? Police said they don't know.

“Because this is all new, the shopping center is new, this our first holiday season with this shopping center,” Piacentino said. “All the data that’s coming in is very fresh. So we want to make sure that, number one, the data is correct before we make an assumption on something. And then once we have the good data and we know what the problem is and we can put our finger on what the actual problem is then we will target the problem.”

PennDOT said the lights aren't adaptive signals, which means they are on a timer. If there is an issue with the syncing, it's the Township's responsibility. PennDOT believes the issue isn’t the lights, but the heavy traffic.

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