WESTMINSTER — The director of a Baltimore regional planning organization said his agency supports Carroll's effort to conduct a two-state study of the heavily traveled Hanover Pike corridor, the site of about 30 fatalities the last seven years.
County transportation planner Rob Yingling introduced his proposal for the joint Maryland-Pennsylvania study of the two-lane highway from Hanover, Pa., through Carroll to Interstate 795, at a meeting of the Baltimore Regional Council of Governmentsat Carroll Community College Friday.
The opening nearly five years ago of I-795 -- the highway connecting the Baltimore Beltway to outlying suburbs -- has spurred residential growth in northern Carroll and southern Pennsylvania, dramatically increasing Baltimore-bound commuter traffic on the Hanover Pike.
"The proposal is an excellent idea," said Guy W. Hager, BRCOG executive director. "A regional study needs to be done."
Yingling's draft proposal recommends participation of officials from York County, Pa., Carroll and Baltimore counties, the Maryland State Highway Administration and BRCOG, a six-jurisdiction coalition that studies public policy issues and develops regional goals.
In his initial draft, Yingling describes the Hanover Pike -- Route 30 in Maryland and Route 94 in Pennsylvania -- as an "antiquated highway characterized by extremely heavy commuter traffic, uncontrolled and almost unlimited access, and high accident and fatality rates." The highway also is inadequate to support several large tracts of industrial-zoned land in Carroll and York County, the draft says.
The jurisdictions through whichthe highway runs have had little communication with each other to ensure that planned upgrades or construction projects will be consistent and result in overall improvements, rather than benefits for one area to the detriment of another, the draft says.
The study would beintended to develop long-range, land-use and traffic projections; determine the best possible transportation facilities along the route; estimate air pollution effects and evaluate reduction measures; identify ways to enhance economic development, and improve chances to obtain federal highway money by emphasizing a regional approach.
"It would also set the stage for future projects," said Yingling, mentioning a possible collaboration with Adams County, Pa., which also sends commuters to Carroll.
Yingling said the study should not have an effect on long-delayed plans to build a Route 30 bypass around Hampstead, or on a revised Manchester comprehensive zoning plan that includes a bypass route. That plan has yet to be adopted.
Hager said he would like to include in a study an evaluation of the land-use changesspurred by constructing I-795.
Several other county officials made presentations to the gathering that included BRCOG staff, business leaders, Carroll's commissioners and elected officials from other jurisdictions.
* Carroll Department of Economic and Community Development Director James C. Threatte explained his agency's philosophy toward economic development and the obstacles it faces. An insufficient transportation network hinders Carroll's efforts to attract industry,he said. Job opportunities within the county thus are limited for residents with advanced educations.
Threatte said he envisions Carroll as having potential to become a center for high-tech industry. Forexample, the Johns Hopkins University research could be developed commercially by businesses in outlying areas such as Carroll, he said.
The county and BRCOG should investigate alternative financing methods for constructing roads since federal and state money is drying up, he said.
"If we want to do it, we need to do it ourselves," he said.
* Carroll Department of Management and Budget Director StevenD. Powell discussed the town/county partnership conference, a seriesof meetings between officials from the two levels of government to coordinate policies concerning farmland preservation, housing and infrastructure.
* Carroll Bureau of Water Resource Management Chief Catherine Rappe described the county's innovative water protection program, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pilot project using integrated mapping and data collection techniques.