City reviews options for Jonathan St. improvement

April 12, 2006|by ANDREW SCHOTZ


Plans for a $4 million Jonathan Street improvement project are moving ahead, Hagerstown City Engineer Rodney Tissue said Tuesday as he described to the City Council some upcoming choices.

The biggest question: Should the city add more than $1 million to the project cost to bury utility lines?

A summary section in the city administrator's proposed 2006-07 budget says $4 million is being allocated to the utility and streetscape project over the next two years.

Burying the utility lines is a choice of time and money.

Doing so would make the area look better and reduce the chance of falling limbs or vehicle crashes affecting power lines, said Scott Riddle, a senior project manager in design services for KCI Technologies.


KCI Technologies of Hunt Valley, Md., is designing the project for the city.

The downside, Tissue said, is that burying the lines will make the project more expensive and take about a year longer.

Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said the council needs to consider whether spending at least $1 million more and waiting an extra year will be worth it.

Electricity lines would be moved to the rear of properties and telephone lines would be buried in the ground, Riddle said. All of the property owners would have to approve having utility lines on their land.

Council members agreed Tuesday that Jonathan Street neighborhood residents need a chance to comment on the possibilities.

Tissue said many drivers treat the road as having two lanes. Actually, it has just one, but it's wide enough to handle two cars next to each other.

The road would continue to have parking on one side, taking up eight feet, he said.

With 17 feet remaining, the road would fall about three feet short of having two regular traffic lanes.

The city could move each sidewalk about 18 inches to create two lanes, Tissue said.

Or, the city could widen the sidewalk about four feet, cutting the road to 13 feet and one lane. However, delivery trucks and other stopped traffic might clog the road, especially for emergency vehicles, he said.

Tissue said he recommends a third option: striping the road for one traffic lane. About four feet of the road would be set aside for a separate lane for vehicles that temporarily stop or for bicycles.

The improvement project could include more trees, benches and a "mini-park" feel to an island that holds a monument, Tissue and KCI Technologies representatives said.

Councilwoman Alesia D. Parson-McBean said residents might object to more trees because of the birds they attract and to the benches, which might create a loitering problem.

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