Traffic light, roundabout proposed for Taneytown

February 10, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

The State Highway Administration wants to solve Taneytown's traffic problems by installing a traffic light at one troublesome intersection and constructing a roundabout at another.

The section of East Baltimore Street that intersects Grand Drive will get the traffic light.

The more complicated intersection of routes 832 at 140 will get a roundabout, or traffic circle.

Traffic will have to circulate counterclockwise around a central island, with circulating traffic having the right of way.

"The way I understand it, we are supposed to get the traffic light in the spring and get the roundabout next spring," said Linda M. Hess, city clerk-treasurer. "We've always complained that the alignment [of the current intersections] is bad."

During a meeting last spring with SHA traffic engineers Doug Rose and Gene Straub, city officials discussed the traffic light at Grand Drive and East Baltimore Street and the roundabout option for the other intersection, Ms. Hess said.

The city has recognized for a long time the need to control the traffic turning onto and out of Grand Drive, which leads to the Taneytown library and the small Green Meadows subdivision behind the Taneytown Shopping Center.

The council had discussed extending Grand Drive through the subdivision and out to Trevanion Road to alleviate some of the traffic congestion at the East Baltimore Street intersection, but officials have since asked the county planning depatment to delete the extension from the master plan, Ms. Hess said.

The road configuration of routes 140 at 832 has always been a problem for motorists because it is the point where four roads meet and a fifth road enters onto Route 140 very close to the intersection, Ms. Hess said.

Route 140 bears right into Taneytown and becomes East Baltimore Street at the blinking light at the intersection. East Baltimore Street becomes Route 832 east of the light.

South of the light -- and straight across from Route 140 before it bears right -- the road becomes Antrim Boulevard.

Sells Mill Road meets Route 140 less than an eighth of a mile west of the intersection.

"It was identified as a high-accident intersection," said John Concannon, an SHA traffic engineer for the region that includes Carroll County. "The majority of the accidents were right-angle collisions involving left-hand turns in the [morning] and corresponding right turns in the [evening]."

There is less chance of serious broadside collisions at a roundabout because all motorists must merge into the same lane that goes around the circle, instead of crossing the path of other motorists, engineers say.

The Taneytown roundabout will be roughly 120 feet in diameter and will only have one lane, unlike larger, multilane roundabouts in Washington, D.C.

It will be much like Maryland's first roundabout, built in April at the intersection of routes 94 and 144 in Lisbon, south of the Carroll-Howard line.

The state decided to convert that temporary Lisbon roundabout into a permanent structure after seeing how efficiently it controlled traffic.

Officials are now considering installing a second Howard roundabout at Shaker Drive and Seneca Drive next to Allview Estates, to solve the problem of limited sight distance for drivers coming across the Shaker Drive bridge over U.S. 29.

"I think this thing is starting to catch on," Mr. Rose said of roundabouts in a Sun article.

Mr. Concannon agreed.

"The community [in Lisbon] has embraced it. It has reduced accidents and speed in that area and has been operating very well," he said.

"A roundabout now is an option we have looked at aggressively any place where a signal would be considered."

Mr. Concannon said the SHA has tentatively scheduled to put the Taneytown roundabout project out for bid in April 1995, with construction to begin about three months later.

"The actual construction could be completed sooner," Mr. Concannon said.

"They [town officials ] actually like the idea and wanted to know how quickly it could be put in."

He said he believed that once plans were "firmed up," Taneytown city and SHA officials would conduct a meeting for residents "to let them know what to expect out there."

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