Friday, July 8, 2011

Council puts brakes on Maytown Road-South Market Street proposal

At its workshop meeting last night, Elizabethtown Borough Council put the brakes on a proposal to create a series of one-way streets at and around the intersection of Maytown Road and South Market Street.

The Elizabethtown Area Regional Authority (EARA), formed to help implement a regional comprehensive plan approved by the borough and Conoy, Mount Joy and West Donegal townships, discussed the plan at its meeting last month. Traffic engineer Steve Gault presented the plan as an option that would keep traffic flowing at the intersection by using existing streets and doing limited construction.

Last night, Council President Phil Clark and I, both of whom represent the borough on the EARA board along with Councilman Dale Treese (who was absent from last night's meeting), briefed Borough Council on the plans. It was the first time that other members had heard details about it.

After listening to the details and examining a drawing of the plan, Councilman Meade Bierly said he didn't think it would be an improvement to the intersection. He said there are other projects in the community -- such as a bridge in the Conoy Crossing development that will extend Masonic Drive through to Maytown Road -- that ultimately will have an impact on traffic.

Bierly also said this proposed project would not be a good first one for EARA. He thinks -- and it's a good thought -- that EARA's first project needs to be something that garners widespread community support. The intersection changes would cause more consternation and get EARA off to a bad start.

Others councilmen said the proposal raised some safety issues, particularly because northbound traffic would be directed onto Spruce Street. A resident who lives at the corner has addressed Borough Council in the past year because drivers that turn right onto Spruce Street often take the corner too fast. If the proposed plan were implemented, some councilman feel it would not alleviate that problem.

After I blogged about the plan the other week, I heard from some residents, who weren't happy with the proposal. They said it would create an unsafe condition for drivers on Maytown Road that wanted to head into downtown because it would force them to turn right onto Market Street and cross traffic to make an immediate left onto Lemon Street.

EARA had authorized Gault to proceed with exploring grant funding for the project, but consensus among Borough Council last night was not to proceed with that. 

While at first glance, I felt this plan was an innovative approach to the intersection, I join my council colleagues in wanting to put the brakes on the plan. I do think it might be worthwhile considering at some point -- but not without careful and deliberate consideration of the issues that we talked about last night and that residents have raised with me.


  1. Real simple, Jeff. Connect Mount Joy Street with the road behind K-Mrt.

    Scott Little

  2. Point well taken, Scott. In fact, I support the idea of a bridge connecting Mount Joy Street, as do others on Borough Council.

    Here's the issue:

    Real simple + At least a million bucks = Pretty darn complicated.

  3. Why do anything?

    I have discovered, as I suspect most people in town have, a half dozen other options than using Market St when it's busy.

    As for everyone else, we should want them to pass by all of our local businesses nice and slow!

  4. It's not just southbound traffic on Market. It's people making left turns from Spruce onto Market (one of the dumbest, most unsafe things I can think of). For people who want to head to Kmart or Giant or Weis, going south on Market at busy times can be excruciating. This would keep traffic moving

    That said, it's a moot point for now since the consensus among council is not to proceed.


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