Update 10/29/2014: Penndot has awarded $1.5 million in funding towards the traffic improvements. They will analyze which options below will be chosen (traffic circle vs traffic light).
“Borough of Carlisle – $1.5 million to replace the five-way intersection at Fairgrounds Avenue, Penn Street and North Hanover Street with a modernized roundabout or install a traffic signal to improve traffic flow and support the mixed-use redevelopment of three brownfield properties in the borough.”
PennDot Announcement Page
Borough Hall hosted Stromberg/Garrigan Associates for another open meeting related to the Carlisle Urban Redevelopment Plan. During this round, transportation was the focus. The transportation meeting was much more defined and had concrete options for a few key intersections. Even if you weren’t able to attend the meetings, please contact Stromberg/Garrigan and borough officials with your input on these options.
The first intersection is N. College and B Street. The plan is to open B Street up to Carlisle Springs Rd and there are 2 options on the table for the intersection. The first is to make it a 4 way stop. Currently traffic going N/S on College don’t have to stop but those turning left onto B Street have to wait for opposing traffic. The 4 way stop would make all cars come to a complete stop. Something to consider is how this would assist pedestrian traffic. This is a main route to the schools including Bellaire so some of our youngest students currently don’t take this route because it is far too dangerous. By moderating the traffic with stop signs, it would give greater access for pedestrians to safely cross.
The second option for that intersection is a roundabout. This mean that traffic in all directions never stop but roundabouts make traffic slow to about 20 miles per hour and all traffic goes in the same direction. During the meeting it was brought up that pedestrians only have to look in one direction while crossing. Cars would still have to focus on both the road and pedestrians while all are in motion though.
They had diagrams to show the number of contact points that could happen between cars and pedestrians in a traditional intersection and those in a roundabout. Although it does look like it is less likely to be hit, our concern is that a roundabout would change the current expectation of cars there. Since cars currently stop coming from B Street it wouldn’t be that big of a change to simply introduce a 4 way stop there. If it is a roundabout, cars will continue moving and it might be perceived that they have the right of way since they are constantly in motion.
The plans also gave extensive designs for B Street. There were bump outs to keep traffic at a reduced speed, comparable to other side streets. Four way stops were at most intersections along the route up to Fairground Ave. Again at Fairground Ave. the choices are between another 4 way stop and a mini roundabout.
The designs don’t get any easier as we move along to looking at Fairground Ave/N. Hanover intersection and N. Hanover and Carlisle Springs Rd. Intersection. There only seems to be one viable solution for each intersection but if you have ever driven through the current set up, none of them are currently ideal.
The 5 points intersection of Penn St., Fairground Ave & N. Hanover will have to be a roundabout. Currently 4 out of 5 points are entry points into the intersection. To make the intersection more manageable, both E. and W. Penn will be one ways going in opposite directions meaning that people will only be able to exit the roundabout onto these streets but there will be no entry point from these streets.
They did show an example of what a red light would be like there and it just seems like an over complex intersection that has the most possibilities for accidents
The intersection at Carlisle Springs Rd. is made even more difficult because of the railroad tracks. Safety requirements make it that the intersection can’t allow traffic to get stuck on the tracks because of traffic. This means that there are no waiting cars sitting on the track and only cars in motion will be going over them. Because of the limited space available, part of the new road is where the parking of the auto body shop currently lies. The shop itself would be intact.
Fairground Ave. would be widened significantly by cutting into the Masland factory site. It’s hard to see on the picture, but there is a line red line that is along the lower line of trees. That line shows how wide Fairground Ave. currently is. They said it is only about 10 feet wide but you can see from the picture how much larger the street will become. It will build in a buffer of green space and sidewalks along the houses that border it. On the factory side, there will be a pedestrian and bike path that will connect from Memorial Park and wrap up around to Hamilton School. The new intersection of the expanded Lincoln Street will be a 2 way stop. The railroad crossing will be cut down so there isn’t as much of a bump on the road. This will provide better sight on the street ahead in both directions.