One of the ideas discussed at our recent Burtonsville design charrettes was a traffic light at the entrance to Burtonsville Town Square and re-routing the entrance to McDonald's across the street, as shown in the illustration below.
We formally posed this question SHA on January 26, 2017. They responded two weeks later stating that they would need to conduct a study, which could take up to 90 days, meaning May 10, 2017. We will share their response as soon as it becomes available.
How would a traffic signal here help?
An intersection and traffic light at this location could make it safer and easier to turn into or out of the Burtonsville Town Square, McDonald's, and 7-Eleven.
Local residents claim that this intersection is the most dangerous part of Burtonsville. In August 2016, there was a fatal collision at this location. At our fix198now events, some have suggested that crashes occur here several times a year (later we will ask SHA for crash history to confirm).
Unlike many of the other potential solutions described on this website, this improvement, if approved and funded, could be implemented in the near-term.
The criteria for consideration of the installation of a traffic control signal at an intersection involves the evaluation of the intersection in consideration of the nine traffic signal warrants as listed in the MUTCD. Typically if one of the warrants is satisfied, the installation of a traffic signal may be considered. The warrants are listed below:
As shown in Table 2 below, the current traffic volumes exceed the MUTCD criteria for Warrants 1, 2, and 3 by 40%, which suggests that a signal is clearly warranted.
Note: Volume recordings were obtained from turning volume study conducted by SHA on Tuesday 04/09/2013, from 6 am to 7 pm (original source).
If the MUTCD warrant is met, can we get a signal?
Not quite: the MUTCD states that meeting the criteria above is not enough justification for a traffic signal: "The satisfaction of a traffic signal warrant or warrants shall not in itself require the installation of a traffic control signal."
Installing a signal at this location would be complex for two reasons: 1) the proximity to another intersection, and 2) a new road on the south side of the intersection would be required.
The potential new intersection is 350 feet away from the existing signal at US 29A and MD 198, which is less than the half-mile (2,640 ft) minimum distance recommended by transportation engineers. Because the proximity is less than the recommended guidelines, the signals would have to be carefully coordinated with each other to reduce the impact on traffic operations so that vehicles would not be stopped twice.
The other challenge with the potential intersection is that it would require multiple property owners to share an entrance. As shown in the figure below from the Montgomery Planning map, the property owner of the mattress store (old Bedding Barn) would have to construct a new driveway and share it with the property owners of the McDonald's and 7-Eleven.
Although some property owners do not mind sharing entrances (Tony's Garage and Jerry's Subs in Burtonsville have offered to consolidate their entrances), there are some property owners can be reluctant or opposed to the idea.
According to County data, the property owner of the Bedding Barn is listed as "Dong Ya, LLC", however the company contact information was not listed, so we could not readily get a comment for this story.
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