BERLIN– The town’s iconic brick crosswalks are being eliminated in favor of safer alternatives now being used by the state.
Mayor Zack Tyndall advised council members this week that Maryland’s State Highway Administration (SHA) was no longer supporting brick crosswalks and would instead be installing the traditional black and white model going forward. Tyndall’s comments during Monday’s council meeting addressed the questions that have been circulating in the community since the brick crosswalk along Main Street in front of Berlin’s Town Hall was redone last week.
“What we see is what we’re going to be getting,” Tyndall said. “It meets the safety standards for the state.”
At the close of Monday’s council meeting, Councilman Jack Orris brought up the crosswalks and the fact that Tyndall had shared information regarding the new version on social media but hadn’t provided the council with an update. He said residents had come to him seeking information and he wanted to be able to answer their questions when issues came up.
“Folks are concerned about the crosswalks, that’s why I mentioned it, but I wasn’t really aware until they came to me,” he said. “Then I saw some chatter on Facebook where there was information available that just hadn’t gotten to us yet.”
He suggested Tyndall resume the “mayor’s report” that had once been regularly sent to council members.
Tyndall said he was sending emails as issues came up rather than a regular report. As far as the crosswalks, he said he’d reached out to SHA last week to ask why the thermoplastic crosswalk painted like brick in front of town hall had been replaced with a traditional black and white crosswalk. Tyndall said officials had advised him the thermoplastic crosswalks were no longer supported by the state.
“They’re not deemed to be safe and the crosswalk that we have is deemed to be safe so that is what you will be seeing on state roads throughout town,” he said. “They will be transitioning.”
Jimmy Charles, the town’s public works director, said the new style would be used throughout the state, not just in Berlin. He said they had more safety features than the old crosswalks.
“You know how you drive down the road and the lines are bright, these crosswalks will be the same,” he said. “They’ll have reflective glass in them so as you come up to them they’ll shine.”
Dave Engelhart, the town’s planning director, added that the thermoplastic crosswalks were expensive and didn’t hold up very long.
“Now the brick will be disappearing everywhere eventually,” he said. “I know it’s quaint, its rustic, but it’s not very durable.”