Lewis Lane work

Traffic tries to negotiate the busy intersection of Ontario Street extended and Ohio Street in Havre de Grace, a particular problem for motorists who use Chapel Road (in the foreground) to get from the west side of the city to Route 40 (in the background). (Nicole Munchel | Record Staff, Patuxent Homestead / May 1, 2012)

Havre de Grace City Council members have decided to hold a town hall meeting later this month for residents to voice suggestions for possible changes in traffic patterns along Joe Hill and Grace Manor drives in the Grace Manor neighborhood.

The council did not take action at its meeting Monday on a plan by the city's public works department to make each street one way in opposite directions, at least while the Lewis Lane railroad crossing is closed for planned repairs and upgrades.

In late April, Lewis Lane was scheduled to be closed for construction at the CSX crossing, but the project was pushed back after Grace Manor residents complained about the accompanying plans to make their streets one way between Chapel Road and an adjoining neighborhood, Havre de Hills.

Residents from the affected neighborhoods took up several rows of seats in the council chambers Monday.


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John Giganti was one of several residents who addressed the council, saying residents do did not want one-way streets but admittedly don't immediately have other solutions.

"I know one thing that we don't want in our community is one-way streets," Giganti said, "and we don't want 'no parking' signs."

Giganti also asked the city to look into a traffic study of that area, which Mayor Wane Dougherty said they would do.

Jim Clark, of Joe Hill Drive, the first Grace Manor Homeowners Association president, said he is also "dead set" against turning the roads into one-way streets and rerouting traffic, as public works had proposed.

Another resident, Stuart Hutchinson, said he had been coming to the council about the traffic issue in the area since September 2006.

Hutchinson said he is concerned with the high risk through traffic poses and is afraid the necessary progress will not be made in finding a solution.

Council President Bill Martin announced the plan to hold a town hall meeting on May 23 at 6 p.m. in city hall.

Martin said everyone, including but not limited to residents in the affected neighborhoods, will have an opportunity to be heard and share ideas, explaining the "sole purpose" of the meeting is to address community traffic concerns.

The $300,000 project at the railroad crossing will raise the grade of Lewis Lane to make the crossing easier for vehicles to navigate and will also involve installing drainage systems, a median turn lane and sidewalks.

The crossing closure was noted in an earlier letter to residents from the city, which also notified them of the temporary traffic changes to make Grace Manor Drive from Chapel Road to Joe Hill Drive one way and Joe Hill Drive the opposite one way to Chapel Road.

Public Works Director Larry Parks said previously that the changes would be temporary and would make travel safer for the roughly 300 cars that exit from Chapel Road through Lewis Lane daily.

Although residents expressed concerns about the street changes becoming permanent, Parks said that would still require city council approval.