SALISBURY — While the Salisbury City Council agreed that Onley Rd. needs attention, members weren’t able to decide on what specifically should be done. However, the general consensus was that, whatever happens, drivers need to slow down.
“I think traffic flow is the primary thing here,” said Councilman Tim Spies.
Long a topic of debate, Onley Rd became a focal point for the council last month when the Wicomico Board of Education decided to go against the wishes of the city and reroute bus traffic down the road. While the new route will likely relieve congestions on College Ave, the increased traffic on Onley Rd caused the majority of the council to disagree with the decision. Even under disapproval, however, the buses will use Onley and the council agreed that the main concern now is how to improve that road for the future.
“This is kind of the hand we’ve been dealt,” said Council President Terry Cohen, who personally spent several hours observing hot spots along Onley. “The traffic patterns there are very interesting. In its current shape, it’s not a real good move to put more traffic on that street.”
Some of the suggestions for soothing Onley were traffic lighting, a traffic circle, crosswalk changes and prohibitive turning during certain times of day. Councilwoman Deborah Campbell commented that the road needs to be, “calmed and improved” by whatever measures the council decides on.
Her personal contribution to the discussion was to recommend looking into making certain turns onto other streets illegal depending on the time of day. Doing so would likely add time to a commute, but make the trip less hectic.
Councilwoman Eugenie Shields, though not in attendance during Tuesday’s session, left a comment expressing her desire to see the intersection of Onley Rd and Bateman Street improved.
“We have to do something with the intersection,” said Shields.
Whatever steps are taken, asserted Spies, they need to be implemented quickly.
“We really need to seriously look at this beyond what we’re doing now,” he said. “It [Onley Rd] is a lot of accidents waiting to happen.”
Spies also felt that fixing Onley would come from a combination of efforts, as opposed to one change.
“I don’t think there will be a one note solution to any of this,” he said.
Councilmember Laura Mitchell reminded the council that the measures they come up with are only as good as the amount of enforcement the city is willing to use to back them up.