This week's topic: A blue ribbon panel was appointed by the Carroll County commissioners to decide whether a Route 140 bypass is justified and to consider alternatives and costs. The 13-member panel is expected to recommend that the state and county move forward with plans for an alternative to Route 140 through the county seat.
Do you think that a bypass around Route 140 in Westminster should be built?
Don't build a bypass; extend I-795 instead
As an analyst I learned first to define the problem. In the case of the "140 Bypass" this hasn't yet been accomplished. Here is the problem: Each weekday morning, cars from York and Adams counties (Pennsylvania) and northern Carroll and Baltimore counties (Maryland) travel to Baltimore city and vicinity, and return in the evening. The vast majority of these drivers are using Maryland routes 140 and 30 to connect with Interstate 795.
Making the commute worse - Maryland routes 140 and 30 are congested to the point of total saturation. Building a 140 Bypass around Westminster will do nothing to solve the problem; it will only create a short speedway from one congested area to the next.
There is only one logical solution - Interstate 795 should be extended into Pennsylvania so that it intersects with U.S. 15 near Fairplay (or U.S. 30 near New Oxford), with about five interchanges along the route.
So, my advice to the blue ribbon panel - Don't waste the taxpayers' money on a useless bypass. Force the state and federal departments of transportation to do their jobs. Don't let politicians stand in the way of doing what is right.
Jim Bard Westminster
Bypass wouldn't help local residents
I have driven Route 140 from Route 97 to Route 795 en route to Baltimore at nearly every time of day over the years and at this point I consider myself to be somewhat of an expert on the road's problems and potential future. I believe there should be no bypass for the following reasons:
1. Anyone who drives Route 140 on a frequent basis knows that Westminster is not the bottleneck some people say it is. The real problems with Route 140 exist in the southern, Baltimore County portion and the intersections at Dede Road, Route 91 and Suffolk Road. Westminster is the easiest portion of 140 to pass through. When the bridges are done later this year, it will be a breeze.
2. Any bypass created will only benefit two groups of people: Developers of new properties who will compound the existing problem by attracting more people, and Pennsylvania residents who are taking Maryland jobs in Baltimore already and are not paying to create or maintain any sort of Westminster bypass. Why should our tax dollars go toward benefiting the developers and out-of-staters?
3. Route 795 was once a bypass and now it is one of the most congested roads we travel on. It sounds silly, but if 140 remains a painful commute less people will be tempted to congest Carroll County.
In my opinion, any work done on Route 140 should focus on the southern portion near Dede Road and the reservoir and should specifically address safety, light timing and traffic flow issues. I think that the southern medianless portion of Route 140 is one of the most dangerous stretches of road I travel on today.
Joe Wood Westminster
We want your opinions
ISSUE: The Carroll County school system is considering changes to its policy on the use of cell phones and other electronic communication devices. Students are allowed to carry them, but they must be turned off during the school day. The new policy would stiffen the consequences for violators and would spell out whether time on school buses is considered part of the school day. Do you think that students should be allowed to use cell phones and other communication devices while on school buses? Do you think that school administrators should be allowed to confiscate the phones when students violate the policy?
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