After several weeks of discussion, the Town of Walkersville voted Wednesday night to support the county’s proposed annual transportation priorities which put MD 194 at the top of its list for secondary highways. The issue first arose during a visit by County Executive Jan Gardner’s visit to a Walkersville Town Meeting earlier this year. Since then, the community and county as a whole have been debating the issue.
The last time the Burgess and Commissioners discussed the proposal, they could not come to a consensus. Burgess Ralph Whitmore communicated that and his own views during a recent County Council meeting. The County Council voted to support the proposal.
During the Walkersville Town Meeting, several residents rose and testified in support of MD 194 being the county’s top priority. Dick Brady and David Ennis, both members of the Walkersville Planning Commission, spoke in favor of the priorities as proposed. They noted that the proposal would fund studying solutions to the many issues on MD 194, which has one of the highest rates of accidents in the county.
Burgess Whitmore noted that no one who asked him to bring the matter up attended the meeting; he noted that those individuals opposed the proposal. Whitmore researched the history of safety concerns on MD 194. His research found that Walkersville asked the State Highway Administration to address safety concerns for more than thirty years with little action. He supports the proposal in hopes that safety concerns will be addressed. He noted Calvary Assembly of God’s entrance, Stauffer Road, Fountain Rock Road, and Crum Road should be priorities for the Town.
Town Commissioners provided input. Commissioner Debbie Zimmerman hopes that the entire stretch of road from MD 26 to Devilbiss Bridge Road will be studied and added the intersection with Deerfield’s entrance to a concern. Commissioner Russ Winch expressed his opposition to the proposal, because he thinks it will only support further development, will not solve congestion, and will further bisect the town. Commissioner Chad Weddle supports the plan, but noted it would be at least ten years before anything happens. Commissioner Gary Baker wants to do anything to improve safety on MD 194.
County Council member Billy Shreve and resident of Dearbought on MD 26, asked Whitmore to forward the town’s safety concerns to him. He has shared that information with the State Highway Administration. Town Planner Susan Hauver shared that the SHA had already contacted her to let the town know they received the concerns.
Commissioner Weddle moved to support the county’s transportation priorities as proposed. Commissioner Zimmerman seconded the proposal. With no discussion, the motion passed with only Commissioner Winch opposed.