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Annapolis' Upper West Street to become pedestrian friendly

Thursday - 3/22/2012, 12:35pm  ET

Amy Freedman, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Living in Edgewater, Md., I frequently walk the historic streets of Annapolis, be it for shopping or just window browsing, downtown Annapolis is a lovely place to walk. Once above Westgate Circle on West Street, or “Upper West Street”, however, the charm subsides and the feeling of pedestrian friendliness ends with the charm.

The shame of it is, that mixed in with the scattering of car dealerships are some very nice shops and restaurants not to mention my favorite bagel place in the entire region. As I try to cross West street to go from the fantastic thrift store to the main branch of the Annapolis library I think “wouldn’t it be great if it felt more like you could walk around here?

It seems that the Maryland State Highway Administration heard my thoughts because beginning Sunday, March 25, they begin building new wider sidewalks with clearer walking paths and pedestrian crossing signals along West Street(also known as MD 450) between Westgate Circle and Route 2 Solomon’s Island Road!

While it may sound simple this is no small task as utilities will have to be moved and in some places sidewalks completely dug out and relocated in order to facilitate the changes. This sort of construction will have an impact on traffic through this area which already can be congested.

To minimize traffic impacts, SHA has structured work phases to coincide with the three different sections of West Street, MD 450.

In the two-lane section (east end) and four-lane section (west end), all work will take place during overnight hours, 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

In the middle three-lane section, work will take place during daytime hours (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.) but only during summer months when Anne Arundel County public schools are not in session.

In each section, work areas will be limited to one block or approximately 1,000 feet at a time.

Pedestrian, business and home access will be maintained at all times during construction.

SHA is asking residents and businesses to bear in mind that while it may be inconvenient in the short term. In the long run this will improve the area significantly and will be good for real estate values and business volume.

For me, I’ll just be happy that I don’t feel as though I have to drive from the bagel place to the great thrift store just down the block.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)