During Monday night’s town council meeting, Owen Bailey, Town Projects Manager for Eastern Shore Land Conservancy presented a concept, “Open Streets,” for reimagining how town streets could become more pedestrian friendly.
Bailey says that the uptick in pedestrian deaths during the pandemic has spurred the ESLC into revisioning how town street spaces could be modified to accommodate safer foot traffic and offer more areas for people to be safely outside.
“It’s a long-range vision,” Bailey says. Citing examples of other towns, Bailey would like the Chestertown to consider implementing “Demos,” short-term trial runs of modified thoroughfares similar to the cordoning off the Saturday Market.
Mayor Cerino stated that such a plan has been entertained for years but that many of Chestertown’s streets and roads are State controlled. He also mentioned widening or adding sidewalks are prohibitively expensive. Bailey said that other States have worked out a relationship between communities and State Roads.
Bailey believes that initial modifications are relatively inexpensive. Cordoning off sections of town similar to the way outdoor dining spaces have been implemented are low-cost. Areas like Park Row were suggested as a possible location for short-term test-runs barring vehicular traffic. Ward 2 Councilman Tom Herz said that some of his constituents have enquired about a short-term closing off of lower High Street to the river.
This video offers a few points from Bailey’s presentation. The full presentation is on the Town website here.
This video is approximately six minutes in length.