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State agrees to buy ‘park-and-ride’ site

(11/15) The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has entered into an agreement of sale to acquire land on which to create a park-and-ride site for the Emmitsburg area.

Emmitsburg town staff has been working for some time to entice the state into securing a location for a park-and-ride site to alleviate the use of Silo Bill Parkway and neighboring streets by commuters as an impromptu carpool parking area.

Heather Keels, community liaison for the SHA, told the News-Journal that the agency has entered into an “optional agreement of sale” to acquire a site south of Route 140 and East of Route 15 just outside of Emmitsburg for the proposed parking site.

Keels said the site is 11.3 acres in size, and the agreement of sale sets the price at “around $500,000.”

The land is to be purchased from owner Jeffrey Waybright, and both parties have signed the agreement, although the state has not yet closed on the property purchase. “This means we (both parties) have agreed to the sale but the sale has not taken place” at his point in time, she stated.

The deal agreement was approved by the state on October 30.

Keels said the SHA “just received the design funding, so it (site design and development) is in its very early stages.” However, she said, some details are available as to what the park and ride will consist of. “It (the proposed facility) will be a paved lot with lighting,” as well as a stormwater management system to control runoff from the site.

Keels said “typically” such facilities also include resources for bicycle parking. The number of vehicle parking spaces will not be determine until the design process progresses.

As for when area commuters can expect to be able to use the new park-and-side facility, the community liaison officer said, “The project not yet funded for construction. As we get further along, we’ll have an idea of about when it will be built.”

Keels did say, “I think the earliest we could expect to go to construction is summer 2015.”

Local interest in pursuing a park-and-ride facility outside of town had been spurred by make-shift, park-and-ride parking in town which generated various complaints over the past several years, and which ultimately resulted in the town designating Silo Hill Parkway for commuter parking.

Allowing local workers and commuters to park along the side of Silo Hill Parkway traces its origins to about four or five years ago when the town was approached by residents of the Silo Hill development concerned about their development roads being used as a sort of uninvited, make shift park-and-ride.

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