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Traffic change sparks debate

October 06, 2000

Traffic change sparks debate



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Earlier this week, when the Greencastle Borough Council asked PennDot to change a traffic sign at the intersection of East Baltimore and South Washington streets, they angered a local businessman and pleased a mother of three.

The sign, until this week, restricted left turns onto South Washington from East Baltimore from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Its purpose was to move the heavy bubble of traffic that flowed through the borough in the late afternoon when first-shift workers at Grove Worldwide left the plant for the day.

Traffic overall is increasing through Greencastle, said Borough Manager Ken Myers. Traffic is increasingly being tied up at the South Washington Street intersection, he said.

As a result, the Borough Council voted to ask PennDot to ban left turns at the intersection 24 hours a day. Myers said it would also be easier to enforce the ban it if were always in effect.

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According to PennDot spokesman Greg Penny, the state studied the intersection and decided on a 12-hour ban, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. "The study showed a need for the restriction during the day, but not overnight," Penny said.

Pete Lucchino has owned the Greencastle Antique Mall at 345 S. Washington St. for 14 years. He said the new restrictions will hurt business because his customers will have trouble finding the mall.

Lucchino also said a billboard on Interstate 81 between Exits 2 and 3 advertising his mall gives directions to it by telling drivers to get off the interstate at Exit 3, go left onto Pa. 16 (East Baltimore Street) then left onto South Washington Street.

He said he doesn't know how to get customers to his store now. "I don't know what I'll do," he said.

Greencastle Borough Manager Ken Myers said Lucchino could send his customers farther east on Baltimore to the Public Square, left onto South Carlisle then left again onto Franklin and back to South Washington Street.

The new 12-hour sign will mean less traffic on South Washington Street and that pleases Susan Magee-Feldberg. She said she fears for the safety of children, including hers, on a street where she says cars whiz by, far exceeding the 35 mph speed limit.

"It has to help," Magee-Feldberg said.

Her family bought the big brick house at 161 S. Washington St. two years ago to get away from the noise and bustle of suburban Virginia, she said. "I didn't expect to find this here. I thought this was a user-friendly town until I noticed the traffic on this street. It's incredible."

"The drivers have little regard for safety," she added. "There were two accidents here just last week."

She said she asked the Borough Council several times to lower the speed limit to 25 mph but her pleas fell on deaf ears.

Myers said the borough has no jurisdiction because South Washington Street, like East Baltimore Street, is a state road. "We asked PennDot to lower the speed limits on two other streets, but they wouldn't do it," Myers said.

Magee-Feldberg said that she doesn't think the borough police department patrols her street enough.

Police Chief Terry Sanders said his officers do the best they can, trying to enforce speeding laws with just one cruiser. "It's not discriminatory," Sanders said. "They speed all over the borough."

Magee-Feldberg said her next step will be to round up some neighbors to petition the council.

"I'm an activist. I can do it," she said.

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