WALLINGFORD — After reviewing a revised traffic plan, the Planning and Zoning Commission approved an application for Amazon Logistics to operate a warehouse and distribution center on South Cherry Street.
The shipping and delivery service uses third-party contractors to pick up and deliver customer orders, called by Amazon its “last mile delivery.”
Packages would arrive at the 425 S. Cherry St. warehouse, called a delivery station, on tractor-trailer trucks from Amazon fulfillment and sortation centers. From there, the packages would be sorted by zip code for delivery by vans and personal cars.
The plan, approved unanimously, includes leased parking at 528 S. Cherry St. on property owned by Allnex.
The 7.6-acre parcel has a one-story 83,754-square-foot warehouse on the site, built in 1963. The site is accessible from South Cherry Street, Ball Street and Pent Road.
The commission voted in March to postpone a decision on Amazon’s special permit application. At the time, commission members were concerned that they had not been given a revised traffic impact study prior to the meeting.
Members had raised concerns about additional vehicles entering and exiting the facility during peak delivery periods, like “Prime Day,” an annual promotion in which discounts are offered to Amazon Prime subscribers, or during the Christmas shopping season. There was particular concern over the turning radius at Ball Street and Pent Road and potential issues with traffic at the John Street and Route 5 intersection.
Michael Dion, traffic engineer at BL Cos. in Meriden, said during Monday’s meeting that as part of the traffic impact study, his firm conducted traffic counts at six intersections during morning, afternoon and Saturday peak shopping hours, used photos to verify roadway geometry and lane arrangements from the state Department of Transportation and looked at previous 24-hour traffic counts to create an analysis.
The analysis included revised trip distribution and generation per commission member comments and coordinated with Kermit Hua, owner of KWH Enterprises and peer reviewer for the commission.
A trip is defined as a vehicle either entering or exiting a facility. The PZC generally pays close attention to the number of trips a site generates overall and during peak hours of operation when considering site plan applications and permits.
Dion said additional traffic during the peak seasons, which would add about 100 more vehicles to operations, would be spread out between the hour before and the hour after the typical start and last driver arrival times. The first wave of van drivers typically would arrive around 10 a.m. and the last around 1 p.m., so the extended days would run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Hua said he was satisfied by Dion’s explanation of the additional peak season trips and that there is spare capacity available on Quinnipiac and Ward streets to accommodate the additional trips.
He recommends that new stop sign locations at the Pent Road and Ball Street intersection be reflected in the site plans, and that proposed landscaping doesn’t block driver vision.
He expressed concerns about tractor-trailer trucks on Route 5 turning left on John Street, and recommended “some kind of improvements” to the intersection, such as adding a left-hand turning lane.