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Will the final roundnet square solution?

September 06, 2002|by BOB MAGINNIS

It took Major League Baseball less time to solve its latest labor dispute than it has taken for Waynesboro to decide what to do about its town square. When borough officials travel to Harrisburg next Tuesday to meet with PennDOT on the issue, they should be ready to offer a compromise.

Back in 1999, PennDOT proposed streamling the intersection at Main and Church Streets by eliminating 18 angled parking spaces. The council in office at that time agreed, though the vote wasn't unanimous.

But following the election of a new member, the forces opposed to change gained the upper hand. Earlier this year, council members worried that if they stuck to that position, it might cost the borough some state aid. Now PennDOT Is threatening to bill them for $60,000, for engineering work that's already been done.

It's time to resolve the problem, because the dispute has delayed the state's plan to update the downtown traffic-control system for more than a year.

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In April, we proposed that borough officials pitch the following compromise solution to PennDOT:

Outlaw parking in the spaces adjacent to the square during the morning and afternoon rush hours, and prohibit those who leave the spaces from entering the main street directly. Instead, those drivers would exit the square and re-enter the town's main street by going around the block and rejoining traffic at a signalized intersection.

Obviously, PennDOT officials have the leverage of state aid to force a solution. But so far they haven't tried to do that, and so should be open to a compromise that preserves the parking, but adds restrictions to keep traffic moving safely.

As we said in April, we would urge borough officials not to agree to any plan that just speeds up traffic flow. Downtown needs to be a destination, not just a place to pass through on the way to somewhere else.

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