Stop bars returned because one person took action

PAT FRIDGEN

The stop bars were on Carlisle Street forever, then they were obliterated during Greencastle’s infamous year of streetwork, and now they are back.

However, the return of the guide lines occurred because one concerned citizen made one phone call.

Karin Johnson attended the Dec. 7 meeting of Greencastle Borough Council and asked the status of the stop bars. Council members said Carlisle Street belonged to the state but they weren’t sure the bars were even legal. They only knew the traffic regulators had been in place for a long time and were helpful as vehicles waited at Center Square to make turns or go straight across.

Johnson was concerned because drivers were often confused when they entered the square from north or south Carlisle Street, especially if they were from out of town. They didn’t know where to stop.

She suggested someone call Rep. Todd Rock for assistance. A few days later she did it herself.

Rock got the message from his office staff and called the Franklin County office of PennDOT. They referred him to Jason Bewley, District 8 Traffic Engineer in Harrisburg.

“It wasn’t real complicated,” said Rock. “I just made a few phone calls.”

Bewley said the presence of stop bars was a judgment call because they are not mandatory. He said someone involved in the paving of Baltimore Street over the summer made a field decision not to repaint the lines.

“Based on requests, we took another look and thought it prudent to put them back in. We came up with a solution people are satisfied with.”

Johnson received an email that the lines would be back within 30 days but was delighted to see them in place in two days.

The old lines “were a simple, good thing,” she said, and since mid-December the new ones are serving the same purpose.

In their absence, “people didn’t know where to stop. Some would pull up to check oncoming Baltimore Street traffic and get right into the travel lane. The bars orient you to right and left,” said Johnson

Police Chief John Phillippy is also able to clear up any misconceptions as to where to stop. The law requires vehicles to stop at any posted stop sign before entering the crosswalk, and then to proceed when safe, he said. Stop signs are at the corners of Carlisle Street.

“The additional stop line is more of a reminder to reinforce the safety aspect. It also provides a visual guide line as to where you are in the intersection.”

He agreed there was confusion when the lines were gone, likely because people were so used to them.

“In general, I don’t believe they provide a great deal of legal justification, but I do believe they help make the intersection safer.”