There have been several questions about the traffic light
needed at the Silo Hill intersection. The light currently
being installed will be a blinking warning light until such
time the State's minimum traffic conditions are met. At that
time, the State will then consider all operational factors
prior to installing a fully operating traffic light.
Maryland Route 140 (Main Street) is a State Road, therefore,
only the State can authorize a traffic light at this
intersection. The State of Maryland uses a national standard
for justifying traffic lights. These standards are written
into the Maryland Vehicle Law, that the State Highway
Administration shall follow the Manual of Uniform Traffic
Control Devices (MUTCD) standards that describe signal
justifications. Unfortunately, since we live in a society
where so many people want to take legal action against one
another for finical gain, the State must be very cautions
and not deviate from approved standards because of legal
liabilities. For those of us who live in Emmitsburg, we know
that there have been several accidents at this intersection.
However, most of the accidents that have occurred in this
intersection have not been documented with a police report.
Therefore, other than traffic counts, the State has very
little documentation to compile to justify a fully
operational traffic light at this time.
There has been several traffic studies (counts) done at this
intersection. The most recent one completed was in February
2003. Another study is tentatively scheduled for the fall of
2004 in conjunction with the reconfiguration of the North
Seton Avenue and Route 15 intersection. To complete a
traffic study, every car that operates through this
intersection in all directions is counted. At the Silo Hill
intersection, cars making a right turn from a dedicated
right turn lane are not counted in the study. Cars operating
straight through or making left turns are counted. When a
traffic count is conducted, the State assigns a team to
visit the intersection for a 14-hour period to count every
car and document the direction of travel for each. Once this
data is collected, it is then complied in a report form. For
the four-hour signal warrant, the focus is put on the four
hours with the highest traffic volume. For an example, there
must be 4 of the 14 hours with a volume of 75 cars
entering/exiting off Silo Hill Road and a volume of 800 cars
combined operating east and west on Maryland Route 140 to
meet the state standards. Although this intersection does
not meet the minimum traffic flows to justify the traffic
light, it does meet three out of the four hours necessary to
meet the four-hour justification. By the fall of this year,
2004, the remaining homes in Silo Hill will be occupied.
Also, with the increased business at the Sleep Inn, the car
wash and all the stores and shops on Silo Hill Road, I
believe we will most likely see this light in its fully
operational stages in the next nine to twelve months.
The current blinking light is being installed due to the
Town requiring the Sleep Inn Hotel to provide a traffic
light at this intersection before receiving final site plan
approval. The Sleep Inn Hotel has worked with the State to
meet their requirement. In an effort to improve this
intersection, the Sleep Inn has purchased and installed the
blinking light equipment to serve as an intermediate
solution until the State is able to approve the fully
operational light. All of the wiring and hardware with the
exception of the light fixtures and vehicle detection have
been installed to convert the blinking light to a fully
operational light as soon as the intersection is approved.
The Town has not incurred any cost to install this light,
nor will the Town be responsible for any cost to convert the
blinking light fixture to the three light fixtures.
If you have any questions, please
feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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