Friday, November 11, 2005

New York Suburb Worried About Super Wal-Mart

A Wal-Mart Supercenter planned for Monsey in Rockland County (a place we know very well) is generating controversy especially because of its potential traffic impact. Residents and officials worry that the main access point, Route 59, is virtually impassable during peak times and that adding a 215,000 sq. ft. store will only make things worse:

It's already impossible to go down Route 59 there," [Spring Valley Mayor George] Darden said yesterday. "I think it's the wrong place and the wrong time. It's not a good idea.
Let’s just say that we have been stuck on that section of Route 59 enough times to know how valid that fear is. Even a more supportive Sruly Goldstein, a candy and gift shop owner, thinks that the traffic issue is key:

It's going to create a lot of traffic," he said. "They have to do something about it. On Friday afternoons, you can't even go past one block.
The problem is that there isn’t much Wal-Mart can do to fix this problem, despite claims to the contrary. As we’ve pointed out, the company will say they can assuage congestion through the addition of turn lanes and better timed traffic signals but the fact remains that adding thousands of cars an hour to an already clogged road exacerbates the situation.

That part of Rockland is also home to a number of small businesses and it will be interesting to see if, unlike Mr. Goldstein, they react negatively to the store. In that tightly knit Jewish community, people will definitely not tolerate Wal-Mart if they feel like it will lead to the closing of their neighborhood stores.