Council Rejects Proposed Changes To Intersection

SALISURY — Proposed changes to Onley Rd. and Bateman St. are going back to the drawing board after being rejected by the Salisbury City Council last week.

With a number of concerns ranging from an increase in congestion to possible blockage of Route 13, the council unanimously agreed that the current plan to alter the intersection between the streets was insufficient and asked the city’s administration to make changes before bringing it back to another work session.

“I believe the improvements to the Onley Rd. side are appropriate,” said Council Vice President Gary Comegys.

However, he did not agree with the proposed changes to Bateman St.

“We’re doing it halfway,” he said of the current plan. “There’s a better solution out there.”

Comegys’ main concern was that one of the few access corridors to Route 13 in that area of Salisbury would be cut off by the improvements to the intersection.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do to restrict it [access to Rt. 13],” he said.

Another issue with the area is bus traffic. As it stands, buses are already permitted on Onley Rd. The plan presented to the council last Monday would allow bus access to Bennett High School from that road.

“We have an obligation to improve that intersection … and buses are part of that,” said Comegys.

However, even though buses are already allowed to use that street, some members of the council still worried about the effects the vehicles could have on safety and congestion, especially since a traffic study requested years ago was never completed.

“I support anything else to make it [the intersection] safer,” said Councilwoman Eugenie Shields, expressing dissatisfaction with the fact buses were already allowed on Onley Rd.

“I think it’s terrible,” she said.

Public Works Director Teresa Gardner was sympathetic to the council, but said, while an official traffic study was never conducted, her department had looked into it.

“We [the administration] are in favor of moving ahead with this plan,” said City Administrator John Pick.

The council, however, was not willing to commit to the proposal.

Comegys suggested adding a left turn lane at Avery St. to lessen worries about blocking Route 13 and congestion. Adding the lane would not be expensive if the road is already wide enough to accommodate it, something Gardner promised to study before bringing a revised plan back to the council.