Resident Shares West Street Safety Concerns

BERLIN– A resident urged the town council to consider pedestrian safety improvements for West Street this week.

Westminster Drive resident Mary Hedlesky approached the council on Monday to share concerns about safety on West Street. She said she’d watched a jogger nearly get hit by a vehicle one recent morning.

“It was kind of scary,” she said.

Hedlesky told the council she was an early morning walker and regularly saw many people out and about. As she was walking one day last week she saw her neighbor, who was jogging, have to jump out of the way of a vehicle. She shared the incident on Facebook and asked other Berlin residents if they had any insight on how pedestrian safety could be improved.

“A lot of people came back with some really good ideas,” she said.

As a result, she said she’d compiled information regarding a variety of potential solutions, from speed bumps to sidewalks to reflective paint. She said she’d discovered some grant programs that could potentially help the town fund sidewalks for the street.

Mayor Zack Tyndall acknowledged her concerns.

“West Street has been a topic of discussion for a while regarding underlying infrastructure as well as the increased safety for pedestrians and bicycles,” he said. “It is something we’re looking at but we’re looking at it holistically in conjunction with the stormwater concerns. Our engineers are working on what those numbers would look like. And there are some stormwater projects that we’re working through the grant process for.”

West Street resident Marie Velong, who watched Monday’s meeting online, said she was glad to see the issue brought up. She said the road had a significant amount of traffic and yet sidewalks and street lights that only went so far. She said the stop signs that were added to West Street several years ago helped some but not as much as residents hoped they would.

“Everyone on the west side of the street has large driveways and should be parking in them not on the street,” she said. “That would make room for a sidewalk or a bicycle path. West Street is continually moved down the list when it comes to any work being done to alleviate these problems.”

When asked what exactly was underway as far as West Street following this week’s meeting, Tyndall said engineers were looking at a variety of things.

“We are working with our engineers to determine a preliminary cost to improve the underlying infrastructure along West Street, the cost of continuing sidewalks from Washington Street to Buckingham Lane, stormwater improvements, and any additional work that needs to be done to improve the functionality and safety of West Street,” he said.

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.