Bath council asks DOH to reinstall the crosswalks amid safety concerns

by Trish Rudder

At the Bath Town Council meeting on October 3, Berkeley Springs Police Chief William Carper said the letter signed by all Town of Bath officials was sent to the state Division of Highways (DOH) informing them of the unsafe conditions in town without pedestrian crosswalks.

Washington Street or U.S. 522 is a state-maintained roadway. The crosswalks on U.S. 522 at Williams, Liberty and Market streets that intersect with U.S.522 were removed when the roadway was repaved last summer in June 2022.

Alex Teixeira, the owner of the Trail Depot, voiced his concerns about the absence of a crosswalk in that area. The Trail Depot is across from the Berkeley Springs Train Depot lot where the North Berkeley Rail Trail is currently in the bidding process for the trail’s construction, and the crosswalk was on Williams Street.

Teixeira told the town council in a recent meeting that “he had witnessed families running across U.S. 522 to avoid the heavy traffic and commercial vehicles.”

Teixeira said on Friday that he also wants the speed awareness sign next to the Berkeley Springs Post Office to begin working again to alert the vehicles to slow down. He said Police Chief Carper is working on the issue, and Teixeira said he will continue to talk with Carper to get it resolved.

The Liberty Street crosswalk on U.S. 522 enters into Berkeley Springs State Park and receives a large amount of foot traffic on the weekends and special events.

The Market Street crosswalk on U.S. 522 “serves as an access to The Country Inn from parking areas on the east side of U.S. 522.  This crossing receives a significant amount of pedestrian traffic during major events at The Country Inn,” the letter continued.

The Town of Bath is a “walking town” and the Bath officials ask that the DOH reinstall the pedestrian crossings at those three intersections.

“In addition, the Town currently has some existing crosswalk warning signs adjacent to these intersections. We will adjust the signage based on DOH current signage use. As an example, the attachment shows a current crosswalk and signage in Shepherdstown,” the letter stated.

Along with the Shepherdstown photo, photos of all three intersections with the crosswalks in place before repaving U.S. 522 were attached with the letter.

A crosswalk on German Street in Shepherdstown.

The letter also requested speed limit signs on the north and south side of Wilkes Street because of increased unsafe speed.

“The logical speed would be 15 miles per hour or less,” the letter states.

Mayor Scott Merki said in the meeting that he had to stop a driver on Wilkes Street that was driving too fast.

“We have a safety issue on Wilkes Street. I want the public to know that kids are walking to the park. Someone is going to get hurt,” he said.

Merki said these issues were addressed with the DOH but were not resolved.

The letter states if these issues “fail to be addressed and personal injury or a fatality should occur, the Town of Bath accepts no responsibility for such an incident.”