An open letter to Senator Addie Eckardt:
Madam: It is with equal parts frustration and hope that I write to you about a seemingly small problem for you but a great problem for the folk of Talbot County. We have one grocery store between St. Michaels and Tilghman and while we are grateful for its very existence at the edge of St. Michaels, turning left out of the parking lot and onto hwy 33 has proved to be a kama-kazi venture.
We locals whose habitats range from St. Michaels, McDaniel, Wittman, Sherwood and through to Tilghman have long bemoaned the risks involved in turning left out of Grauls; tourist season or not. The danger results from the competing cavalcades of traffic. While the traffic into St. Michaels is slowing down to 35 mph, the traffic out of St. Michaels is speeding up to 50 mph. Clearly, a traffic light at the nearby intersection of Pea Neck Road would do much to help life and limb. I understood from one of the older employees of Grauls that fatal accidents have occurred making that most dangerous left turn.
Last week I read an article in the Star Democrat about the funding requirements for the perilous traffic issues on hwy 50 in Easton and the priorities to which the Talbot County Council would give to it. Unfortunately, nothing was said about hwy 33. I wrote to the Talbot County council expressing my (and really all my friends at the Sherwood seminar group, the St. Michaels Women’s Club group and a couple of book clubs in between). We are all of like mind on this issue.
Pete Lesher was the only TCC member to respond, promising to send the request to the district highway engineer. (I will forward his email shortly.) Hearing nothing further, I called and spoke with Autumn from the District Highway department and was told that this issue was not their department.
However, she sent me to: Kelsey in the district office of the state highway (410-822-3525); a lovely lady by the way. She kindly prepared a Service Request SR -0457293 for the customer care management system CCMS and then sent me to:
Richard Baker in the district office (410-778-3061) who nicely informed me that he would prepare a two day study; I suggested Fridays and Mondays since those are the most highly tourist trafficked days. And the locals are anticipating a high amount of tourism this year, now that the covid restrictions have been lifted; new area restaurants and hotels have opened in anticipation.
I thanked Baker profusely until he then stated that federal warrants would need to take place to have the lights installed because federal money is used. Federal money? How much money does this take? Further, as you know, a federal warrant is a condition that an intersection must meet to justify a signal installation. (I am not certain what constitutes such a justification but I will happily research the requirement in the near future.)
Baker then stated that if the outcome is positive, then a design request will take place, which is then sent to the office of traffic and safety.
Last, he stated that this will take about a year. A year!!!!! Recall how many deaths and near deaths took place at Black Dog Alley in Easton until a signal was installed. We (and I believe that I do speak for the residents of the area) are hoping that something can be done to speed this process to a few short months rather than a year.
I look forward to your response. Thank you.