Street changes get green light from Martinsburg panel

March 30, 2004|by CANDICE BOSELY

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Members of the City Property Committee are moving forward with plans to turn Viking Way into a two-way street, reconfigure a back street that leads to Martinsburg Mall and Wal-Mart and alleviate congestion at a busy intersection.

Committee members Roger Lewis, Donald Anderson, Christopher Baker and Max Parkinson met Monday afternoon at City Hall to discuss the projects.

Viking Way, which is set to be renamed Van Wyk Way, is now a one-way street. Businesses on the street include Burger King, Pizza Hut, Chamber of Commerce offices, a hotel and a Shoney's restaurant.


City Manager Mark Baldwin said Chamber of Commerce officials have asked several times that the street be open to two-way traffic.

Committee members agreed to try opening it to two-way traffic temporarily. Cars wanting to turn from Viking Way onto King Street only will be allowed to turn right, however, which Baldwin said may not appease chamber officials.

Some sort of concrete island or other device needs to be in place to ensure people do not try to turn left, which would require cutting across several lanes of traffic, Baker said.

The committee's recommendation on Viking Way and on the other projects will be forwarded to the City Council for final approval.

Committee members also discussed reconfiguring the intersection of Winchester Avenue and Mall Drive - which many people use to access Wal-Mart, Martinsburg Mall and stores and restaurants on Foxcroft Avenue.

With no traffic light there, cars are often backed up.

A Winchester Avenue home, which is boarded up and behind a doctor's office, will be demolished as part of the project, said City Planner/Engineer Mike Covell.

Just past a set of railroad tracks on Mall Drive, traffic will be diverted onto two separate streets, which Covell said will feel similar to highway on-ramps.

When construction will begin depends on funding, but Covell said he believes it should be under way by the end of the year.

Plans for the project were unveiled four years ago, Baker said.

Elsewhere, at the busy intersection of High Street and Moler Avenue, committee members decided that, at certain times of the day, drivers there will be allowed only to turn right.

People attempting to turn left from High Street onto Moler Avenue or go straight across the intersection can cause long delays.

Martinsburg Police Department Chief Ted Anderson recommended that a right-hand-turn-only rule be in place from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Division of Highways employees conducted a traffic study at the intersection and said that no traffic light or four-way stop was needed.

Once utility poles at the intersection's corners are removed, a right-hand turn lane likely could be placed on High Street for those who want to turn onto Moler Avenue, heading east toward Shepherdstown.

Most drivers turn that way, Anderson said.

A traffic study Anderson put together showed that from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6 p.m., 811 drivers approached the intersection from North High Street. Of those, 530 turned right onto Moler Avenue, 217 went straight and 64 turned left.

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