By Tony E. Windsor

Laurel council is debating whether to respond to a concern about traffic flow on one street in the community. The town received a request to have a section of Elm Street, between 7th and Center streets changed to one-way vehicle traffic to match the remainder of the street which is already one-way traffic.

The request came due to a concern about vehicles parking on both sides of the street, creating a safety concern for motorists traveling along the roadway. Town Manager Jamie Smith said during the April 15 meeting of Mayor and Council that she along with representatives of the police and public works departments have reviewed the issue and visited the area and find that they feel changing the traffic pattern to one-way “makes sense.”

Smith said, however, the town’s Street Committee will need to meet and make a decision. This will then be forwarded to the full council as a recommendation. Councilman Jonathan Kellam, chairman of the Street Committee, said he has spoken to some residents in the area and one concern expressed has to do with the impact on traffic during a funeral.

The management at nearby Hannigan-Short-Disharoon Funeral Home of West Street told Kellam that a change in traffic pattern on Elm Street would impact how they line up vehicles in preparation for a funeral procession. Vehicles are typically parked in the funeral home’s back parking lot and when the funeral procession is organized, vehicles are able to exit the parking lot and travel out to West Street.

Kellam said once there is more discussion and the street committee meets, he will notify them so they are able to make plans for how they will manage the new traffic flow in regard to future funeral processions. “It is important that we talk to as many residents in that area as possible so when we make a decision, we are making it based on input from everyone, not just one resident,” he said.

Councilwoman Robin Fisher-Cornish said if the request was being made by one resident to address concerns about traffic parking on both sides of the road, maybe it would be more prudent to simply place signs prohibiting parking on one side of the street. The section of the street could then remain open to two-way traffic.

Smith said the issues can be further addressed by the Street Committee and a recommendation can most likely come back before the mayor and council in the May public meeting.

Also in council discussions, Town Manager Smith told the council that in the next few weeks, the remainder of equipment will be delivered to complete the amenities being constructed in Tidewater Park, along Central Avenue and Broad Creek.

Currently, swings, a pavilion and other structures have been built in the park. “In the next four weeks the equipment should be delivered and installed,” she said. “This will enable the park to be 100 percent complete. However, with the new equipment being installed, there may be some additional things we may want for Tidewater Park.”