Streetscape plan may snarl traffic

April 08, 1998|By JULIE E. GREENE

Maryland State Highway Administration officials might have to curb part of their plans to renovate downtown Hagerstown's streetscape next spring.

City officials told them Tuesday that plans to expand curbs and sidewalks into the street at several intersections could create traffic jams because tractor trailers might no longer have room to turn.

Bill Park, the state's project engineer, said he was looking for that kind of feedback from city officials and the public.

Each intersection will be reviewed to ensure there is room for turning trucks, Park said.

Yolanda Takesian, the Maryland Department of Transportation's neighborhood conservation program coordinator, said Hagerstown's streetscape was chosen for the $1 million renovation because of community support. She wanted to ensure that support was still present before the state proceeded.


Councilman Lewis C. Metzner said he believes the community supports the project.

Project officials also are proposing closing the portion of East Franklin Street that links Cannon Avenue to westbound U.S. 40. The area would be landscaped similarly to the city-owned land across East Franklin Street to beautify the east entrance to downtown.

Councilman J. Wallace McClure said he worried about how many on-street parking spaces would be lost if the curbs were expanded into the street at intersections.

The curb expansions and textured crosswalks are proposed for every intersection on Franklin and Washington streets between Potomac Street and Cannon Avenue.

The crosswalks could be concrete bands or brick, said City Engineer Bruce Johnston. Some concerns about brick crosswalks are maintenance costs and noise created when traffic crosses them, he said.

The streetscape renovation is to begin May 3, 1999, and be done by winter, Park said. The project includes milling and resurfacing Washington and Frederick streets between Potomac Street and Cannon Avenue.

Park said crews would be sensitive to maintaining pedestrian and motor traffic to downtown businesses during the work.

The project will include replacing trees in poor condition, adding trees and small planters, making intersection curbs handicap-accessible, and replacing curbs and sidewalks where needed.

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