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City won't change left-most lanes

July 10, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday decided by consensus not to pursue a state proposal to change parts of the left-most travel lanes into parking spaces along West Franklin and West Washington streets between Burhans Boulevard and West Side Avenue.

Council members decided against the proposal at the suggestion of Hagerstown City Engineer Rodney Tissue.

While the change would add parking spaces and might reduce the number of people speeding, it could also increase the number of pedestrian and car accidents, Tissue said.

The city held a public hearing May 15 to gauge public reaction to the suggestion of the Maryland State Highway Administration.

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Out of 19 people present at the hearing, about 65 percent of them said they supported the change, Tissue said.

But the Hagerstown Fire Department chief and the Board of Traffic and Parking oppose the change, he said.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker's concerns about the change include an effect on response time.

An October study by The Traffic Group, a state consultant, said that only 10 percent of traffic uses the extreme left or curb lane and those are usually the more aggressive drivers.

But the consultant also said the number of accidents involving parked vehicles is predicted to increase, Tissue said in a written report. Those types of accidents usually involve property damage but not personal injury, Tissue said.

Councilwoman Penny Nigh said she was concerned children in the area would be more likely to be hit by cars if the proposal was adopted.

The change would have added 25 parking spaces on Washington Street and 43 on Franklin Street, according to The Traffic Group's recommendation.

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