Town of Emmitsburg
300A S. Seton Ave Emmitsburg, Maryland

August 2004

Traffic problems on Main Street

Traffic concerns continue to be a topic of discussion among town residents and town officials. While many suggestions have been made and considered, money always seems to be the stopping block. Although there are many disagreements concerning the question; does Emmitsburg have a traffic problem? I see it both ways, if compared to other areas such as Frederick or Westminster, Emmitsburg may not have a traffic problem but, if compared to other towns of more similar size, it is more obvious to see if Emmitsburg doesn't already have a traffic problem, it soon will. No matter if you agree or disagree that Emmitsburg has a traffic problem, I believe you will agree that Emmitsburg needs to take steps now or in the near future to plan for additional traffic routes to decrease congestion. As we all know, a large amount of the traffic that comes through our Town is vehicles from Pennsylvania that we have no control over. As MD 140 and Business Rt. 15 (Seton Avenue) divides our town it makes Emmitsburg a major interchange.

Obviously we cannot relocate MD 140 or Rt. 15. Therefore, we must do our best to work with them to create the best advantage for our town. I am sure that almost every resident has at least one time or another said or heard that we need to build a by-pass to eliminate some of the traffic on Main Street (MD 140). At one time I was a supporter of that theory. Over the past 12 - 18 months I have had a change of thought on that theory. I still believe that our comprehensive plan should identify a possible by-pass route that would connect the west end of town to South Seton Avenue. However, I do not believe even if it were possible we should create a by-pass right away. The comprehensive plan is a 20-year plan (updated every 5 years) intended to provide long term planning based on community change and projected needs.

I am sure through other newspapers articles most of you are aware that I support a project that would alter the traffic flow through the town square and at the same time relocate as many as 12 - 20 parking spaces. The biggest source of contention about this project is the removal of parking spaces on Main Street. Some believe that this will cause businesses on Main Street to fail. We can't have it both ways, many small businesses in town survive on the traffic coming through town and seeing their businesses. If we build a by-pass and discourage traffic from coming through town these businesses will lose the everyday reminder that drivers get as they pass through town on their way home. Creating a by-pass will create the out of sight out of mind syndrome. If relocating parking spaces less than a 1000 feet from the square will cause businesses to fail, what will a by-pass do when businesses no longer gets the amount of visibility they are getting today?

If you have any questions, please feel free to call the town office, or e-mail me at

Jim Hoover

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