Reducing Highway Speed Limit Not Necessary

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There were a number of suggestions to make Route 113 safer in Berlin bantered about this week, but one that does not merit consideration is a speed limit reduction.
That may seem harsh in the wake of last Friday’s fatality involving a local teen, whose older brother was also critically injured in the accident with a Maryland State Police trooper.
We simply do not think attempts to drastically reduce the speed limit along Route 113 from Germantown Road to Old Ocean City Blvd. should be considered. It’s unnecessary and not the sole reason why safety concerns exist along this stretch of highway.
What instead should be the focus are traffic calming devices at the three major intersections in Berlin — Old Ocean City Blvd., Bay Street and Germantown Road. Additionally, intersection safety enhancements at each of these would be helpful, starting with improved lighting.
This week’s community reaction to last Friday’s fatality was warming to observe at Tuesday’s Mayor and Council meeting. Many who attended aired their concerns and how they think the Bay Street and Route 113 r intersection can be made safer for both motorists and pedestrians.
What’s likely next is a study of the area that will take months to complete before any sort of solution is brought forward. The short-term fix of having an electronic mobile sign near the intersection may heighten safety on some fronts immediately, but it’s not a long-term solution, and that’s what really needs to be the goal here.
Vehicle volume numbers will go a long way toward determining what kind of enhancements can be made. However, we learned with the Routes 113 and 12 intersection issue in Snow Hill that vehicle data is not everything the State Highway Administration considers when making a decision. Accident figures — 60 in 13 years at the Bay Street intersection — as well as community demands also are factored in heavily.
It will take time to figure all that out, and that’s ironic because time is the only aspect that can bring any type of healing to the families affected by last Friday’s fatality. Our hope for them is that they find peace in the memories of their loved one and that the older brother injured in the accident is able to recover to the greatest extent possible. Additionally, we extend well wishes to the Maryland State Trooper who was driving the vehicle involved in the accident with the two local residents. The 21-year-old trooper is surely dealing with immeasurable grief and guilt and he deserves consideration from the community as well.
There are no winners in this sad story, but we hope long-term good can from this tragedy. A safety study is a logical first step.

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