BERLIN – A crosswalk is coming to Route 113 at its intersection with Old Ocean City Boulevard in Berlin.
Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) officials confirmed this week that plans were underway for the installation of an automated pedestrian signal at a crosswalk on Route 113. The intersection is crossed regularly by pedestrians going to and from places like Food Lion and Rite Aid.
“The project is in the design phase, and once design has been finalized, we will move forward with funding the construction phase, which will replace the span wire signal with a traffic signal pole and incorporate the automated pedestrian signal at the crosswalk,” said Shanteé Felix, SHA’s assistant media relations manager.
Earlier this month, Tony Weeg of We Heart Berlin, the local nonprofit working to increase recreation opportunities in town, wrote to Sen. Mary Beth Carozza asking for her help in bringing safety improvements to the intersection.
“This is something long overdue for Berlin, and her residents, and if we do not step up, I am not sure who else will,” he wrote. “It’s been since 1952 that this highway Route 113 has separated our town, and the least we can do as a first step is create crosswalks where they currently do not exist.”
Weeg also brought up the footpath — which is even visible on Google Maps — that residents of the Decatur Apartments traverse as they go to and from Food Lion.
“I have personally witnessed sexagenarians walking through the field, crossing the highway, hopping the median barrier, and finally doing the same thing on the other side to get to the grocery store,” he wrote.
Weeg isn’t the only Berlin resident who’s been expressing concern about safety on local roadways. Last week, in the wake of a serious accident at the intersection of Route 50 and Route 818, resident Tom Simon used social media to urge his fellow citizens to contact SHA.
“The intersection of (Route) 50 and Main Street is dangerous,” Simon wrote Nov. 20. “It was absolute chaos yesterday around 5:15… There were several near misses while I sat there for 15 min. At times there were 7 cars in the median. It’s no wonder there are bad accidents there on the regular.”
The safety of the intersection has also come up in discussions of a townhouse community proposed in the vicinity. While some residents say a stoplight would be the answer, town officials said last month SHA didn’t have plans for one.
“We have had meetings with SHA and they have said there will never be a red light there,” Berlin Planning Director Dave Engelhart said during last month’s planning commission meeting.
Felix said this week SHA was aware of local concerns and was evaluating options.
“MDOT SHA has received customer concerns about the US 50/MD 818 intersection and we are continuing to evaluate the traffic circulation to determine the best path forward,” Felix said. “As development in this area expands, the district office will monitor the impacts and determine what mitigative measures will be necessary to maintain the state’s standard levels of safety and mobility.”