Posted on: November 30, 2017

City Awarded Transportation Grants for School Safety, Bicycling

The City Hagerstown is proud to announce the award of two state and federal grants that will help improve transportation connectivity and safety in the Hub City. The funds will facilitate upgraded traffic crossings for students walking to school and improve awareness of shared streets for bicyclists and motorists.

As part of the Maryland State Highway Association's Safe Routes to School program, the City of Hagerstown is awarded $264,000 to design and construct traffic signal improvements at the intersection of Potomac Street and Howard Street. These enhancements will provide increased safety for students who are walking or biking to and from Bester Elementary School. The current traffic system is antiquated, and the reconstruction will include pedestrian signals, a full handicapped-accessible signal system, and improvements to the adjacent sidewalks and sidewalk ramps. This work is expected to occur in 2019.

Additional safety improvements have been completed around Bester Elementary School recently, funded with Safe Routes to School grants. The intersection of Frederick Street at Mill Street was reconstructed at a cost of $321,435, and in 2015 the multi-use path from Bester to the intersection of Frederick St. and Memorial Blvd. was installed. The Frederick/Memorial intersection was also reconstructed at a cost of $287,617 that year. To date, the City has received $873,052 in funding through the Safe Routes to School program for these safety enhancements in this area of the city. Funding for the Safe Routes to Schools program is provided through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), a federal aid funding program that is administered through metropolitan planning organizations and the State.

The City also received a grant for $48,000 through the Maryland Bikeways Program. This funding will be used to implement the second phase of the 2016 Bicycle Master Plan, created by the Hagerstown-Eastern Panhandle Metropolitan Planning Organization (HEPMPO). The master plan evaluated the existing bicycle infrastructure, assessed bicycle comfort levels of various streets, and developed an interactive map where the public could provide input on destinations and areas where they want bike lanes or other bicycle-related infrastructure. This data was then compiled and priorities were established. These funds will be used specifically to purchase and install bicycle racks at popular locations and to add bicycle lane "sharrows" on various city streets. Sharrows are pavement markings that indicate to motorists and cyclists that the street is a shared lane for both modes of transportation.

The areas for installation of sharrows include:

  • 0.69 miles of sharrows on Antietam Street
  • 0.60 miles of sharrows on Nottingham Road
  • 0.12 miles of sharrows on Pennsylvania Avenue
  • 0.23 miles of sharrows on Lee Street
  • 0.88 miles of bi-directional bike lane on Potomac Avenue

The Safe Routes to School grant requires a 20% contribution from the City, which will be funded by the Capital Improvement Program. The Maryland Bikeways Grant does not require a match or contribution from the City. For more information about these grant awards, contact City Engineer Rodney Tissue at 301-739-8577 ext. 128 or email rtissue@hagerstownmd.org.

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