Hanover Pike Task Force seeking strategies to reduce traffic jams

January 26, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Staff Writer

The Hanover Pike Task Force will meet tomorrow at 2:30 p.m. in the Hampstead town hall to work on short-term strategies to reduce traffic congestion on Route 30.

Task force members include transportation officials from Maryland and Pennsylvania, planners from Carroll County and from York County, Pa., and representatives of towns along Route 30.

Steve Horn, senior transportation planner for Carroll County, said the task force is trying to review "some of the more feasible strategies" for beating congestion, other than construction of new roads. He said the task force hopes to make specific recommendations by June.

State Highway Administration officials have said that Manchester and Hampstead bypasses are years away.

Land and construction costs for the Hampstead bypass are expected to reach $35 million. So far, the state has set aside only $25,000 for engineering work on the bypass.

No money has been budgeted for the Manchester bypass. Highway officials estimate its cost at $25 million to $30 million.

At tomorrow's meeting, Mr. Horn said, he will give an update of Carroll County's progress in battling Route 30 congestion. York County officials will report on their progress, he said, and the task force will also discuss what steps to take next.

Mr. Horn said the Carroll County planning office will soon begin a survey of Route 30 commuters, to learn where they come from and where they go. He said task force members will discuss survey methods tomorrow, and Carroll planners will also try to coordinate the survey work with Pennsylvania Department of Transportation officials.

On another front, traffic consultants Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, P.A., are studying short-term measures that could reduce Route 30 congestion within the town of Manchester. The Maryland State Highway Administration is paying for the study, which is expected to be completed in early 1994, Mr. Horn said.

Last August, Johnson, Mirmiran and Thompson, P.A., released a study of strategies that could alleviate Route 30 traffic problems in Hampstead. That study was also commissioned by the State Highway Administration.

The Hampstead study recommended several measures, including the synchronization of traffic signals, the elimination of some parking spaces along Route 30, the closure of Black Rock Road from Gill Avenue to Route 30, and the formation of a committee to explore whether car pools and van pools would help ease congestion.

At Monday's Hampstead Town Council meeting, Councilman Dwight Womer reported that a committee he convened to study those recommendations has rejected some of them and endorsed others. The committee's findings will be taken up by the mayor and Town Council.

The committee agreed that Hampstead's traffic lights should be synchronized, but rejected the idea of closing lower Black Rock Road.

The committee also disagreed with some recommendations to eliminate parking spaces on Route 30. Hampstead businesses cannot afford to lose the number of parking spaces that would be eliminated if all the recommendations were followed, the committee report said.

Also, the report said, the elimination of parking spaces on Route 30 would leave some residents who lack off-street parking without any place for their vehicles.

Mr. Womer's committee had recommended that the town of Hampstead buy two vacant lots on Route 30 to use for municipal parking lots. One is next to the former Hyatt's Animal Boutique, and the other is next to Bob's Variety Store.

The committee called for employees of Black & Decker U.S. Inc. and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers to take car pools to work, and it repeated a call for a Hampstead bypass.

"These changes are only a Band-Aid approach to correct what needs major surgery," the report said.

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