A section of Main Street known for its sharp curve will be updated to improve its safety and appearance, State Highway Administration officials said.
The $2 million project will bring new street lights as well as an updated sidewalk and road from Stocksdale Avenue to Glyndon Avenue, according to an SHA press release announced May 21.
"The [additions] will improve the overall appearance, but at the same time improve the safety in terms of the traffic," said Del. Adrienne Jones, who helped ensure the Maryland Department of Transportation could fund the project.
SHA workers already repainted lines from Stocksdale to Woodley Avenue as part of the first phase of the project, which they plan to finish by late fall 2014. They will continue to change the sidewalk, curb and driveways of this area by late fall. Alongside the new LED lights, officials will install a new historically-inspired town sign at the intersection of the two streets.
"The panels of the lamps can over time become discolored, and you couldn't even see the bulbs by them. It will be much better than it was previously," Reisterstown Improvement Association President Glenn Barnes said.
Workers will then add similar changes from Woodley Avenue to Glyndon Drive beginning next spring to be completed by fall 2015. In this stretch workers will add bricks to the curb to give drivers a visual cue to separate the road and the sidewalk.
The sidewalks will also be widened to become more handicap-accessible and compatible with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Barnes said the project, which is the first major update of Main Street since 1997, will provide more room and clearer lines for drivers, as well as allow for more light and sidewalk space for pedestrians.
"There has been a problem in the past with drivers speeding on Main Street, and people passing cars, trying to make turns, and by striping it, it will make people aware that you can park on Main Street," he said.
Irwin Kramer, managing attorney of Kramer and Connolly, a law firm next to Woodley Avenue, said he saw two near-fatal incidents caused by the sharp curve in the road. In 2012, a car crashed into a telephone pole, causing it to almost fall on a pedestrian. He also said a car crashed into Stuart T. Zaller Dentistry next to the curve. The road has even received the nickname of Dead Man's Curve, he said.
"The bottom line is that people have not always respected the low speed limit," said Kramer, who is also program chair of the Design Committee for the Main Street Maryland Program, and has worked with SHA to create the changes. "We didn't want to wait for a tragedy to happen before we changed."
Marlon Hill, who works at the Jiffy Lube on Main Street, said that better lighting would make him feel a lot safer while walking. He also said he constantly sees cars speeding across the curve, which endanger both the drivers and the school-children who walk nearby.
"A lot of people come flying around the curve and run up on the curb," he said. "Some even drive like there's two-lanes when there's one."
While the SHA builds the additions, Jones said she is communicating with the business owners near the curve to ensure construction impacts them the least, and will try to not have construction during business hours.
While Jones said future road and transportation updates are hard to predict until after elections and the budget is made, Barnes said he would like to see a community parking lot on Main Street, while Hill would like to implement the addition of speed cameras and signs to deter speeding. Already, SHA has begun a $762,000 project slated to finish in fall that will improve the roads and lighting to parts of Liberty Road.