No ruling from Council on square

February 07, 2002

No ruling from Council on square

Waynesboro, Pa.

By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

The issue of whether to modify Waynesboro's Public Square is still up in the air following a brief discussion at Wednesday's Borough Council meeting.

In 1999 the council, on a 4-3 vote, agreed to modify or close in the square for safety reasons and to facilitate a $1.2 million renovation of the traffic light system planned by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

The modification would convert much of what is now dedicated to vehicular traffic on the square into sidewalks for pedestrians. It would also eliminate nine parking spaces.


The makeup of the council shifted with the November election, and opponents of the modification are not in the majority.

Council President Doug Tengler, who favors an open square, reopened the issue Wednesday. He said he would not call for a new vote until the council learns whether it would have to pay for new engineering studies if the vote were to be reversed.

Tengler said he didn't know how long it would take to find out.

PennDOT has spent more than $200,000 on engineering studies based on the council's earlier vote to close the square.

Any square modifications plus construction of a new synchronized traffic control system through Main Street are included in an approved $1.2 million appropriation. The current stop light system can be confusing to motorists who have to cross through the square in both directions.

The square intersects Pa. 16, the east-west thoroughfare through the borough. It's also the borough's Main Street. Church Street runs north and south through the square.

Council Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the project has to be completed in three years or the grant will expire. The earliest bids could go out would be September 2003, PennDOT officials said.

All the council members agree that the new traffic control system is needed.

PennDOT officials have said that while they prefer that the square be closed in, the new traffic control system would still work, although not as well.

The state would pay for any modifications to the square.

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