What's wrong with this picture?

January 16, 2011
  • Vehicles enter the intersection of Western Maryland Parkway and Md. 144 (West Washington Street) in Hagerstown's West End.
By Ric Dugan/Staff Photographer

The problem: With no stops for traffic on Md. 144 (West Washington Street) at its intersection with Western Maryland Parkway, crossing the intersection or turning left from Western Maryland Parkway is a risky maneuver, Joe Maceira wrote.

“I know at least 2 co-workers, including myself, have had accidents there,” Maceira wrote.

Vehicles using the right-turn ramps block the view of cross traffic for those stopped at the stop signs, and traffic on Md. 144 tends to be traveling over the speed limit, he said.

Maceira said he thought the intersection should be converted to a four-way stop or signalized.

“I think the combination of the stop signs on one side coupled with the ramps creates more problem than it solves,” he wrote. “There is way too much going on at the intersection during high traffic periods that creates confusion.”

As of Friday, there had been 13 crashes reported at the intersection since Jan. 1, 2009, according to Cpl. Daniel Henley, supervisor of the Washington County Sheriff’s Department’s Traffic and Criminal Interdiction Unit. Five of those crashes involved injuries, Henley said.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration or Washington County Division of Public Works

What they say: Washington County has agreed to construct a roundabout at that intersection when required by development-generated traffic demands, according to correspondence between SHA and the county’s public works department provided by SHA spokesman David Buck.

As the area around the intersection is developed, the county will require developers to contribute funding for the roundabout, according to the Jan. 5 letter from SHA Access Management Chief Steven D. Foster to Washington County Public Works Director Joseph Kroboth III.

In the meantime, the intersection will remain a two-way stop, Buck said.

“Md. 144 is the main road and a four-way stop would cause confusion, add to delay on the main road (Md. 144) and likely increase rear-end crashes for the main road,” Buck wrote in an e-mail.

— Compiled by Heather Keels
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