The existing Mt Ephraim Wawa convenience store on the Black Horse Pike is looking to add an additional driveway access for the property by connecting to the nearby Valley Rd. side street.
Valley Road is lined with homes on both sides so to make this plan work, one home closest to the traffic light intersection would be demolished, and a new driveway road connecting the Wawa to Valley Road would be created to run behind an existing corner commercial building.
It is expected they will appear before the Mt Ephraim Land Use Board on March 13, 2023
For Wawa, it appears there would be several benefits to this plan.
First, traffic exiting the Wawa parking lot looking to head South on to the Black Horse Pike (left) could exit to Valley Road instead and utilize the existing traffic signal to make a safer lefthand turn.
Secondly residents living behind the Wawa in Audubon and other neighborhoods to the East could move in and out of the Wawa parking area without having to access the busy Black Horse Pike.
I would imagine that some potential customers currently avoid this Wawa knowing of the difficulties with turning left when exiting to turn down Black Horse Pike South.
Some local residents though aren’t fully in favor of this plan as they feel it could negatively impact traffic flow on a block that is lined with over 20 homes on either side of the roadway.
Residents concerns include that Valley Rd. is already heavily traveled by local residents and those living in Audubon.
Valley Road is also the main and sole roadway to and from the Mt Ephraim Youth Sports Complex.
Simply, residents are concerned that Wawa customers being added into the mix of Valley Road would negatively increase the traffic volume and impact the residents living on the Valley Road block.
This Wawa plan was previously scheduled for review by the Mount Ephraim Land Use Board in January, but was postponed. The new date is expected to be March 13th, but as of today the official meeting agenda has not been published yet (it’s still early).
The South Jersey Observer news site also covered this story ahead of the original (rescheduled) January date.
Wawa Mount Ephraim – Black Horse Pike
A June 2003 Philadelphia Inquirer article describes the last night of dancing at Mount Ephraim’s Degenhardt’s Restaurant and Dance club.
Degenhardt’s was a large restaurant and bar which sat at the location where the Mt Ephraim Wawa is today.
Not too long after the publication of that 2003 article the beloved restaurant was demolished, and the Wawa was developed and opened almost 20 years ago.
Considering that the first Wawa gas station store opened in 1996, while the Mt Ephraim location was several years later it was still one of the earlier stores in the Camden County area to feature what we now know is a common model… “Super Wawa” sized store plus gas station pumps.
It’s likely that at the time Wawa and local town planners weren’t fully aware of how popular the superstore concept would be in regards to the amount of traffic flowing In and out of the store’s parking lots.
Today it seems common sense that a newly proposed Wawa Superstore would have at least 2 driveway access points, but this early Wawa superstore for Mount Ephraim was approved with just one driveway access in and out. Plus that sole access point does not have a traffic signal.
So while accessing Wawa from the North side of the Black Horse Pike is very easy, as mentioned the challenge begins when those same customers want to return home and make a left out of the Wawa parking area.
While still considered a local road, the Black Horse Pike is highly traveled with significant traffic in both directions, and timing your left turn properly can be challenging at times.
So as mentioned the intent of this plan is to give Wawa the second driveway access between the parking lot and Valley Road… where a traffic signal is already located.
At the immediate corner of Valley Road and Black Horse Pike is a small commercial building which most recently was utilized as a office equipment sales and retail office.
Behind that building the line of more than 10 residential homes begins.
Wawa’s plan is to leave that commercial building in place, demolish the very first home located immediately behind the commercial building, and develop a new access roadway there from Valley Road to the Wawa parking lot.
To the immediate left of this existing commercial building additional parking (9 spots) would be developed which I imagine could be utilized for either Wawa customers or future tenants of that corner property.
For the next home in the line it will now be directly next to this new access road.
Site plans submitted to Mount Ephraim show that landscaping would be planted along the new roadway on the side adjacent to the remaining home.
An existing fire hydrant and utility pole would need to be relocated over to the right to make room for the new driveway. A new small Wawa sign would also be installed on Valley Road to identify the Wawa access point.
Links and Locations
Wawa – Mt Ephraim
602 North Black Horse Pike
Borough of Mount Ephraim
Mt Ephraim Land Use Board (Wawa project expected in March)
March 13, 2023 at 7:30pm
Mt Ephraim Borough Municipal Building – Court Room
121 S. Black Horse Pike
Mount Ephraim, NJ, 08059,