The zip code was 19450. The town is called Mainland. Situate between Towamencin and Harleysville on Sumneytown Pike, Route 63, just off of exit 31 of the Northeast Extension of the PA Turnpike, this quaint, cozy little village had a daily traffic count of 22,000 cars a day. Pretty good exposure for a small town. Well, that has changed rather quickly!
With the construction of the new 309 Connector, Route 63 was diverted around Mainland with a new road. All traffic heading west off of the turnpike exit is now completely bypassing this small town. I am sure that this works much better for traffic flow, however, what about the businesses that have lost 20,500 cars passing by every day!
What about the value of the commercial properties along this corridor? The post office was shut down, so all 19450 mail is now directed to the Harleysville post office. Another property has been for sale for more than 3 years now. It is currently used as a residential property, however, under the zoning, it would have been perfect for commercial use. The Mainland Inn is now for sale; even though the closing of the business was prior to the redirection, how much is that property now worth?
When traffic was abundant, you could obtain huge exposure just by putting up a sign. That was worth money! Now, any business that is looking to move into that area, needs to be a destination spot.
What do I mean by saying a destination spot? If you have a retail business, and you are located on a main road, you are going to get passers-by that just stop in because they just happen to be passing by. A destination spot is a place where people will travel to directly, no matter where it is located, as they like that store or the products/services it provides. For instance, local dry cleaners are a destination. I do not think too many people drive past a dry cleaning establishment and say, “hey, lets stop in there”.
There were many meetings with PennDOT and the Township to discuss the impact of the redirection on the village of Mainland, but PennDOT does what it wants, when they want to. It is now very difficult to even get to Mainland from the east as you cannot enter off of Route 63 anymore. You need to head to the light at Wambold Road, and turn left.
Similar to Route 66, as portrayed in the cartoon movie Cars, it looks as if the village of Mainland will suffer a similar outcome. Especially for retail use. However, with its close proximity to the turnpike and other valuable amenities, both residential and office use can still thrive. I just hope it does!