(7/27) Many Emmitsburg residents are delighted that
something is finally being done about the intersection of Md. Route 140 and
Silo Hill Road.
The town board voted during a town meeting on July 17 to ask the State Highway
Administration to install a fully operational traffic light to replace the
Though residents have been calling for such a light for years, Catherine
Forrence, a town resident and Streets and Transportation Committee member, sent
the state photos of recent crashes at the intersection, giving new urgency to
The town board then met with state officials to discuss a full stoplight, and
the state conducted traffic studies, which concluded the light would be
A fully operational light is expected to be installed in seven to nine
‘‘It’s about time,” said Martin Miller of Emmitsburg. ‘‘I’m still a little
upset that it’s taken so long, because the blinker there is set up for a
traffic light. I could understand a month or so, but nine months? The state’s
probably going to come out and have to research how long they should have the
light green for 140. I mean, I understand that, but ...”
Town officials have said the time delay is due to the number of other
intersections waiting for a light.
Miller lives on Second Avenue in town, and tried years ago to petition the town
to do something about the intersection. When nothing happened, he gave up.
‘‘The state’s been falling behind, that much I’ll admit,” he said.
Some, however, wanted a traffic circle instead of a stoplight. Commissioner
Chris Staiger voted against the light because he said it would make it next-to
impossible to get a traffic circle, which would be more aesthetically pleasing.
In addition, Staiger said that, according to his conversations with state
officials, traffic circles work better to slow down traffic and prevent
accidents. Commissioner Glenn Blanchard was absent from the meeting.
But others said the area is too small for a traffic circle, and having trucks
go around a circle could cause them to tip over. That would make the
intersection more hazardous than it is now, some say.
Forrence spoke in favor of the board’s support of a light.
‘‘I don’t think there’s enough space for a circle there, as far as
tractor-trailers having to go around that bend,” she said. ‘‘How much land are
we going to have to take from the person that owns the Jubilee and the person
across the street?”
She said the town should ask for state money for a bypass, not a circle. The
circle, town officials said, could take anywhere from three to 10 years to
construct. In the meantime, accidents would still occur.
Miller, a licensed truck driver, agreed. ‘‘Getting a bypass ... would probably
solve most of Emmitsburg’s traffic problems.”
In addition, placing a circle at the intersection could cause environmental
problems, Forrence said. ‘‘There’s a creek right down the hill from there, and
we talked about runoff and all those issues,” she said.
Miller pointed out that the surge in development in Pennsylvania, just north of
Emmitsburg, in the past few years is the primary cause of the town’s traffic
‘‘Somebody needs to speak up and say, ‘Hey, there’s a problem and it needs to
be addressed,’ and of course we all know it’s traffic in general,” he said.
‘‘Of course, the 1,400 homes that are supposed to come in from Pennsylvania,
that would just crush us. They’re going to have to do something up there as
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