What's wrong with this picture?

January 30, 2011
  • The intersection of Main Street and Mechanic Street in Sharpsburg is dangerous, says a nearby resident who has seen "too many close calls" there.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer

The problem: The intersection at the square in Sharpsburg is “very dangerous,” a resident who lives nearby wrote in an e-mail.

“You have to stop if you are coming from either side (on) Mechanic Street, but the Main Street does not have a stop sign or a signal,” she wrote. “Vehicles park along both sides of the street almost to the corner and you cannot see around the vehicles to see oncoming traffic.”

The resident said she has seen “too many close calls” and once witnessed a car pulling out in front of a motorcycle, hitting the motorcycle.

“I understand the town doesn’t want to put up a stoplight because it is not conducive with the old-town feeling,” she wrote.

Who could fix it: Maryland State Highway Administration

What they say: Sharpsburg Mayor Hal Spielman said the town has no control over the matter because Md. 34 is a state road.

“We have talked about it and we’ve asked for a couple of surveys, but they’ve always told us there’s not enough traffic to warrant a stoplight,” Spielman said.

SHA spokeswoman Kellie Boulware confirmed Thursday that based on previous review and analysis, the intersection has not met the criteria for a traffic signal.

State and federal guidelines require an intersection to meet one of several criteria in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, based on factors such as traffic volume and crashes, before a signal is installed.

Boulware said “no-parking” signs were added near the intersection to restrict parking as part of some work from a few years ago.

She said SHA staff would discuss the resident’s concerns about parking and visibility issues at a meeting next month with the Washington County Traffic Advisory Council, a group of local partners such as law enforcement officials and town staff.

 — Compiled by Heather Keels
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