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Greater Philadelphia Expo Center Opens, Immediately Causes Huge Traffic Issues

On Saturday, the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center opened its doors in Oaks. Intended to replace the Fort Washington Expo Center, it held two events this past weekend, The World’s Greatest Hobby on Tour, essentially a model train show, and a Weapons Show. These two, fortunately, were in different parts of the expo center. However, it quickly became clear that ample traffic studies were not performed prior to the opening of the center.

Anyone who drives 422 during rush hour knows how bad traffic can get. Now imagine all of that traffic getting off at one exit. That's pretty much what you had Saturday (and presumably Sunday).

My wife, son and I went to the train exhibit at around 12:15 on Saturday. A quick listen to KYW 1060 told us that traffic was backed up for five miles heading in from King of Prussia and three miles coming from Pottstown. Standing in line, I overheard one guy say it took him an hour and a half to get from KOP, a half hour of which was spent after getting off of 422 on Egypt Rd. Add to that an apparent lack of parking and the situation was truly a mess. By the time we left, at around 2:30, things hadn't improved. In fact, by the time we returned to Phoenixville, it appeared the backup on Egypt Rd. had extended onto Bridge Street.

Its bad enough that attendees to these events have to deal with this sort of traffic, I can't imagine how inconvenienced those that live in that area were. Its not as if that area was lacking for weekend traffic before the center's opening.

I'd be interested to see how they plan to address this but for now, my advice is to check each weekend before making plans to go anywhere near 422 and/or Oaks.


Anonymous said…
Traffic was a nightmare. I can only hope there are lessons learned and they get some weekend police or fire company assistance to direct traffic, control red lights and keep things moving better. It's nice it was so successful but it won't last if they don't do better controlling and moving traffic in and out of the facility.
Erin said…
Oh my word, it was ridiculous. We live five minutes from the new expo center and at first thought it was so great -- train shows, quilt shows, all kinds of neat stuff essentially right in our backyard. To get there we just had to drive south on Egypt Rd. which was not bad. Our "mistake" was that we had to stop at the bank so instead of just going to the train show we drove down to the new Wachovia. Egypt Rd. was backed up all that way. We snuck around some "secret" back roads and that is what I dread - that soon enough visitors will find these other ways to get around and make it a nightmare for those of us who live in this area. :-/

Aside from the traffic, the whole ticketing scenario was also a nightmare -- only letting people come in through one door, no sign for ticket sales...everyone herded through a too-small area to get in. My husband said they should just put ticket sales at each possible entrance.

I also wonder how the businesses like BounceU and Arnold's are going to deal with parking - there was NOWHERE to park when we went on Saturday. I can't imagine if we just wanted to leisurely visit BounceU or Arnold's - which we have done on weekends in the past. No more!

Hopefully they'll get it all worked out soon.
Jools said…
I'd missed the news about this. Imagine my surprise when I turned up for a birthday party at Bounce U at 1.15 on Saturday! Normally it's a desolate waste. That day? Cars as far as the eye could see!
Anonymous said…
We took a walk late on Sunday afternoon and couldn't believe all the traffic on Starr and Bridge Streets, going up to Egypt Road.

We figured it was an accident on 422. Obviously, if this Expo is to be successful, they need to work on the traffic.
Anonymous said…
This was absolutely awful, and very angering!

We sat on Egypt road for over an hour, to go two miles. This is unacceptable, and if I lived closer to the area, I would be in an outrage to the township.

I guess we won't be utilizing the dog park anymore on expo weekends.
Sue said…
I just spoke with Kathleen from the township, and apparently a big meeting was held last night and there are certain things that the center will have to comply with by Thursday in order to not have their permits taken away. we will see . . .stay tuned.
JW said…
Here is a link to a report about said meeting

Anonymous said…
still don't think we need more funding for public transit? :)
Anonymous said…
I wanted, operative word wanted, to attend the train show on Saturday. Live in Chadds Ford and have never been on 422 before. Thought I would get to the show just after 12 noon. As soon as I left 202 and got onto 422 the back-up started. Stupidly never brought a map with me to see alternative back road routes. So around 3:00pm finally got to the Oakes exit, and lo and behold it was closed by the State Police (pity the locals!). Up to the next exit, back on 422 East and of course another 1/2 hour back-up at least, to get off at the Oaks exit, let alone how long to get to the expo on the jammed local roads. So just went home in desperate need of a bathroom break. Interesting there were at least 5 troopers on the closed exit side just standing and chatting to each other-so much for useful police attention to a massive traffic problem.

Crossed the Expo of my list forever-unless drastic improvements ar emade to the infrastructure (Barack we need you!)
Kristina said…
Will it be like this every weekend?

I went to Pottsville from Philly on that Saturday, and thought it was an accident.

The signs on 76 said "slow traffic -- use alternate route" but it was more like completely stopped traffic. 1 1/2 hours to go 6 miles. CRAZY!

I hope they get their permits pulled for lack of planning. I feel bad for the other businesses in that complex (movies, the Dump). They're all bound to be losing business over this mess.

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