Traffic and Safety


Frequently Asked Questions

1.    CAN THE TOWN POST A LOWER SPEED LIMIT ON MY STREET TO SLOW DOWN TRAFFIC?

The Police Department works closely with the community to educate drivers and enforce speed laws in many areas of town. The police use a variety of enforcement techniques including saturation patrol, and selective enforcement by the patrol officers. Some believe speed limits reduce accidents and increase safety. Actually, research studies show there is no direct relationship between posted speed limits and the frequency of accidents. Appropriate speed limits establish a steady flow of traffic and simplifies enforcement.

The Town of Thurmont has posted speed limits that range from 25 to 40 miles per hour. These speeds are based on Traffic Engineering Surveys that take into consideration the roadway conditions, accident records, and the speed of drivers. The maximum speed limit for any passenger vehicle is 65 miles per hour. All speed limits below 65 are either set by the Maryland Vehicle Code (e.g. 25 miles per hour in business and residential areas), or have been established through a Traffic Engineering Survey. The speed limit is not always posted, but drivers are required to know to drive at a safe speed; as defined by the Maryland Vehicle Code. In Thurmont, the speed limit is 25 mph unless otherwise posted. The Town of Thurmont must meet the standards of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices to alter speed limits within the Town.

  1. HOW CAN I GET A STOP OR YIELD SIGN AT MY INTERSECTION?

    The Town follows the standards of the MUTCD, which requires specific signs for specific purposes. The true purpose of a stop sign is solely to assign right-of-way at an intersection. Various research studies indicate that stop signs do not reduce the overall speed of traffic. When stop signs are installed the speeds are reduced in the vicinity of the stop sign, but tend to be higher between the intersections as drivers try to make up for delays. The overuse of stop signs may cause general contempt for all traffic control devices, often with tragic consequences. Signs that don't fulfill a proper need get ignored. They don't command respect.

    Stop signs are installed at an intersection only after a traffic engineering study is completed that considers accident history, traffic volumes, speed of traffic, and sign distance problems. The following warrants must be met prior to installation of a two-way stop sign:
    • The intersection of a less important road with a main road where application of the normal right-of-way rule is unduly hazardous.
    • A street entering a through highway or street.
    • An un-signalized intersection in a signalized area.
    • Other intersections where a combination of high speed, restricted view, and serious accident record (defined by 5 or more collisions within a 12 month period) indicates a need for control by a stop sign.

The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of a 4-Way stop sign:

    • Where traffic signals are going to be placed soon and the intersection needs a temporary solution to control the traffic.
    • An intersection that has several crashes (5 or more correctable collisions in 12 months).
    • When an intersection has the following traffic volumes:
      • the total volume of traffic entering the intersection from all approaches must average at least 500 vehicles per hour for any eight hours of an average day;
      • the combined vehicular and pedestrian volume that enters the intersection from the minor street must average at least 200 units per hour for the same eight hours, with an average delay to the minor street traffic of at least 30 seconds per vehicle during the maximum hour;
      • the 85th percentile approach speed (this is the speed at or below which 85 percent of the vehicles travel on a given roadway) of the major street traffic exceeds 40 miles per hour, and the minimum vehicular volume warrant is 70% of the above requirements.

The following warrants must be met prior to the installation of a Yield sign:

    • On a minor road at the entrance to an intersection where it is necessary to assign right- of-way to the major road, but where a stop sign is not necessary at all times, and where the safe approach speed on the minor road exceeds 10 miles per hour.
    • On the entrance ramp to an expressway where an acceleration ramp is not provided.
    • Within an intersection with a divided highway, where a STOP sign is present at the entrance to the first roadway and further control is necessary at the entrance between the two roadways, and where the median width between the acceleration lane.
    • At an intersection where a special problem exists and where an engineering study indicates the problem to be susceptible to correction by use of the YIELD sign.

Every time a stop sign is considered, a less restrictive method such as a yield sign is first considered. Traffic accidents can be reduced with simple measures not involving signs like improving visibility and prohibiting parking close to the intersection. Unfortunately, there is no general solution to the problem of speeding traffic.


 

 

HOW DOES THE TOWN DECIDE WHERE TO PUT IN A TRAFFIC SIGNAL?

The purpose of a traffic signal is to assign right-of-way to opposing movements of traffic at an intersection. They work best are very busy streets. The busiest streets operated by counties, the State of Maryland or the Maryland State Toll Highway Authority. The warrants for a signal are much more stringent than for signs.

3.    WON'T SPEED BUMPS SLOW TRAFFIC ON OUR STREETS?

Speed bumps are not recognized by the State of Maryland as an official traffic control device, and as such the Town of Thurmont does not use them on public streets. Speed bumps adversely affect drainage and snow removal and are ineffective. The faster a car crosses a bump the less it is felt.

4.    CAN MY NEIGHBORHOOD GET A "CHILDREN AT PLAY" SIGN POSTED?

"Children at Play" signs are requested to provide added protection to their children near roadways. However, studies have shown that "Children at Play" signs in residential areas do not reduce vehicle speeds or pedestrian accidents. The use of these signs creates a false sense of security in both parents and children. "Children at Play" signs may suggest to children that it is acceptable to play in Town streets, which could lead to devastating results. It is important to teach children to respect moving vehicles and how to be a safe pedestrian. Most importantly, children should not play in or near roadways.

5.    CAN WE HAVE A CROSSWALK AT THIS INTERSECTION?

Crosswalks can either be "marked" with painted lines of white or yellow, or left "unmarked" at an intersection. The purpose of a "marked" crosswalk is to encourage pedestrians to use a particular crossing. Normally, crosswalks are "marked" at places where there is an abundance of pedestrian movement, at a signal, and where pedestrians cannot recognize a proper place to cross. However, if "marked" crosswalks are not frequently used by pedestrians, then drivers tend to forget that they exist. As a result, accidents can occur when pedestrians rely on crosswalk pavement markings to provide them with a safe barrier from traffic. It is important that pedestrians remain attentive and cautious of on-coming vehicles on a roadway before crossing a street, regardless of the presence, or lack of, a crosswalk.

6.    HOW DOES THE POLICE DEPARTMENT ADDRESS PROBLEMS OF SPEEDING VEHICLES?

Upon receipt of a citizen concern about speeding vehicles, the Police Department first must determine if indeed there is a speeding problem. This is done by conducting discreet speed survey.Officers monitor the traffic at the times specified by the complainant and determine if special speed enforcement is needed. If too many motorists are traveling over the posted limit, several methods of speed-reduction operations may be utilized. These include: Saturation Patrol and Selective Radar Enforcement.Saturation Patrol:When Officers have un-obligated time they will attempt to regularly patrol the target location area. Selective Enforcement:Selective Enforcement is the distribution of police manpower to a target location. Police Officers are assigned to this location in patrol vehicles and will issue citations to drivers for speeding and other traffic violations.

7.    WHY DON'T WE HAVE CROSSING GUARDS AT ALL SCHOOL CROSSINGS?

The primary objective at a pedestrian crossing used by students is the protection of children. The chances of meeting this objective increase if the school children and drivers can easily interpret, understand, and follow the traffic control directives in the area of the crossing. Keeping the signing and/or traffic control within school zones consistent throughout a particular jurisdiction accomplishes this understanding. Adult crossing guards are used at some school crossings in order to supply adequate crossing breaks in the traffic flow, but this type of traffic control can be expensive and the need must be closely evaluated. A properly designed route to school should not require the use of adult crossing guards. However, this depends on the location of the school, the roadway network, and the location of the child's home. Student should be careful when crossing the street and that not all drivers are necessarily watching out for them. Drivers need to be aware of the possibility of pedestrians in the area.

8.    IS IT ILLEGAL TO DRIVE WITHOUT A LICENSE PLATE ON THE FRONT OF MY CAR?

The Maryland Vehicle Code requires motor vehicles to display a valid registration plate on both the front and rear of a vehicle. Often times, drivers chose not to display a license plate in the front of their vehicle because it may not look appealing, or it has been lost; however, this practice is unlawful. If you have lost a license plate or believe it was stolen, report it to the police and Motor Vehicle Administration, so a duplicate may be issued.

License plates must be securely fastened in a horizontal position to the vehicle for which they are registered. You cannot use a license plate from a different vehicle without notifying the Motor Vehicle Administration and properly transferring the license plate.

The use of license plate covers is illegal. This includes tinted, colored, painted, marked, illuminated, and CLEAR covers that cover any characters of a motor vehicle's registration plate. This law also prohibits the sale of such plate covers.

Registration plates displayed on the rear of a vehicle must display valid stickers. Stickers are issued by the Motor Vehicle Administration and expire on the last date of the month displayed on the sticker (i.e., a sticker displaying 11-06 expires on Nov. 30th, 2006).

Additional information regarding vehicle registration may be obtained online through the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration.

 

 

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TOWN MEETING†††††††††††† †††††††††††††††††††††††††††† 10 FREDERICK ROAD

†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† Thurmont, Maryland

7:00 P.M

 

MARCH 14, 2011

 

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  1. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
  2. CLOSED SESSION STATEMENT FOR 3/7/11
  3. PRELIMINARY BUDGET UPDATES AND DISCUSSIONS
  4. COMMISSIONERSí COMMENTS

††††† a. Commissioner Muth

††††† b. Commissioner Hooper

††††† c. Commissioner Terpko

††††† d. Commissioner Lookingbill

††††† e. Mayor Burns

††††† f. Mr. Blakeslee

 

  1. PUBLIC COMMENTS
  2. CLOSED SESSION TO DISCUSS PERSONNEL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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