At Monday’s Chestertown town council meeting, State Highway Administration (SHA) representatives Ken Fender and Rich Baker tackled the persisting issue of vehicle speed on Rt 213/Maple Avenue/Washington Avenue, alongside other intersection safety concerns across the town.
SHA, the Chestertown town council, along with Chestertown resident David Bowering and Michael McDowell have met once a month since last Fall to discuss Rt. 213 safety issues..
Baker, Assistant District Engineer of Traffic, shed light on various community apprehensions, backed by intensive studies conducted last December. These include speed checks, pedestrian movements, and accident data – the results of which are crucial in formulating protective measures for vulnerable users like pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists.
In a surprising find, data indicated a drop in the proportion of larger trucks since 2015, possibly due to signage on Rt 301 and changes brought on by construction activities in Centreville.
Key intersection improvements were discussed, particularly at 213 and Cross Street/Philosophers Terrace. One proposal involves splitting side roads to alleviate congestion and lessen accidents. While pedestrian signals for Kent and Queen did not meet approval, a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon was green-lighted to bolster pedestrian safety.
Temporary speed strips on Rt.213 near Queen St. and sidewalk enhancements on Rt. 20 were proposed as interim solutions to slow traffic and aid pedestrian movement, particularly around the basketball court and park area.
Despite these advances, some attendees expressed skepticism about the timing of the December study, citing the absence of college students and unfavorable weather conditions. In response, Fender assured the possibility of a repeat study.
Speed feedback camera signs were also floated as a stop-gap measure to control speeding, while longer-term solutions are in the pipeline.
David Bowering, who led the Rt. 213 study in 2015 expressed optimism about the collaborative efforts, stating, “Positive things have come out of our initial discussions and cooperation.”
The installation of pedestrian crossing signals and other safety measures hinge on meeting specific criteria and securing federal funding. The SHA remains instrumental in determining feasible actions, underlining the symbiotic relationship between town officials and state engineers.
The meeting wrapped up, acknowledging the constructive partnership and shared commitment to addressing the community’s concerns, signaling hope for safer Chestertown streets in the future.
This video is approximately eight minutes in length.