If you live in Delaware County, it’s impossible to drive for more than five miles without passing a Wawa. If you live in some parts of Radnor, soon you won’t be able to drive three-quarters of a mile. Convenience store powerhouse Wawa Food Markets, Inc., has announced its intentions to lease an almost 55,000 square foot plot of land in East Wayne to build a new “super Wawa,” a 24-hour location that serves both food and gas customers.
Although this Wawa may seem amazing, local residents raise many concerns relating to the increase in traffic, both during and after construction. The main concerns apply to the traffic and how it will affect traffic flow on Lancaster Avenue and St. Katharine of Siena School, a primary school of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, located just across Aberdeen Avenue.
“While many people enjoy Wawa and the services it can provide, we are… concerned about the increased amount of traffic that will occur, most especially in the morning drop off and dismissal times,” said St. Katharine of Siena School principal Mr. Bud Tosti. “Both the intersections of Lancaster and Aberdeen and Aberdeen and Midland are highly congested already at morning drop off and afternoon dismissal with many school buses and cars for our students. We have discussed these issues with the representatives from both Wawa and Radnor Township.”
Another concern regarding the increase in traffic is student safety. Mr. Tosti said, “With the increased traffic flow that [the new Super Wawa] will bring, we are concerned for the safety of students from both St. Katharine of Siena School and Radnor Middle School.”
Tosti worries that the increase in cars and buses increases the risk of accidents and put pedestrians in danger. Members of the St. Katharine of Siena School community are not alone in their concerns — East Wayne residents fear that their neighborhood will become far too congested for comfort.
At a Board of Commissioners meeting, East Wayne resident Dr. Michael Beers pointed out a neighborhood in Upper Darby where a Super Wawa was recently built. “There’s a super Wawa there, very similar to this. … You should see what it did to the neighborhood,” said Dr. Beers. “To the point where they had to make one of the streets next to it a one-way out only.”
The streets surrounding the land for the proposed Wawa are all neighborhoods with many families and children. Since this new Wawa would be the closest to the highway exit, navigation apps would direct truckers to this new super Wawa, flooding the thin streets of East Wayne with eighteen-wheelers.
On the other hand, the addition of a super Wawa in East Wayne would result in a gas station and convenience store that many perceive as fair priced and friendly atmosphere. The ease and cleanliness of Wawa stores make it challenging to dislike it. Wawa is an easy place to make a quick stop for coffee, large or small meals or clean bathrooms.