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Plan sought for safer crossroad Task force considers Uniontown Road for main traffic route; A 'confusing' intersection; Project is in tandem with WMC hopes to lessen vehicle flow


Uniontown Road could become the main traffic channel at a multistreet intersection in western Westminster, leaving West Main Street as a side road primarily serving Western Maryland College traffic.

The West Main Street Highway Administration, city government, college and citizen representatives is wrestling with ways to improve the point where West Main Street, Uniontown Road and Old New Windsor Road converge.

"The problem is, it's a tough intersection to deal with," said B. Jacqueline Finch, a West Main Street resident since 1959 and citizen member of the panel.

She said she prefers the redirection of traffic to an earlier proposal to lower the crown of the hill on West Main Street at the college to make it safer to cross.

The complex intersection doesn't generate many traffic accidents, city police said. "I think a lot of that has to do with it's sort of confusing and a lot of people slow down when they maneuver that intersection, and maybe that's why it's not a high accident rate intersection," said police spokesman Lt. Randy Barnes.

Changes in the intersection will be part of an SHA reconstruction of West Main Street that is budgeted for design, although not for construction.

Consulting engineers showed the task force a design that would channel West Main Street traffic onto Uniontown Road, starting at the Union Street intersection east of the three-way junction. West Main Street would become an intersecting street, said Thomas B. Beyard, city planning and public works director.

The idea fits well with the college's plan to reduce car traffic and make the campus more pedestrian-friendly, said Edgar Sell Jr., WMC director of facilities planning and capital projects.

Mr. Beyard said a city project to improve Uniontown Road between the intersection and Route 31 will be done along with the West Main Street project.

The project will include few changes in the existing road between The Forks and the Union Street intersection. It may include redesign of the three-way intersection and possibly sidewalks and a shoulder for parking along West Main Street from the campus entrance at Alumni Hall to the football field.

Mr. Sell said he will solicitan opinion on the sidewalks and shoulder from WMC buildings and grounds trustees.

The task force planned the Pennsylvania Avenue reconstruction that began in April and is scheduled to be finished by Thanksgiving.

Task force members expect to review a nearly complete proposal at their next meeting Nov. 8.

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