- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A new park-and-ride lot for commuters heading to work in the Washington, D.C., metro area is coming to Charlotte Hall.
Reliable Contracting of Millersville won the $4.1 million construction bid for the Charlotte Hall park-and-ride lot on May 2 at the Maryland Board of Public Works meeting.
The 11-acre site will have room for 500 vehicles on land purchased for $1.5 million on the north side of Golden Beach Road. A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday.
Currently, commuters taking MTA buses park at a shopping center owned by Ben Burroughs. That lease for 600 parking spots expires on Sept. 30, 2015, said Terry Owens, spokesman with the Maryland Transit Authority.
St. Mary’s County Commissioner Dan Morris (R) said recently he is concerned with the amount of traffic that will be generated on Golden Beach Road by the new park-and-ride lot once it is built.
“Is there going to be a back road?” he asked.
Plans include two access points to Golden Beach Road, one of which is an extension of Market Drive.
To get out to the intersection with Route 5, Golden Beach Road needs to be four lanes ideally, Morris said. “You gotta have ways to get in and out.” The state has no plans to widen Golden Beach Road.
Meanwhile, plans for an additional park-and-ride lot are back in the works in New Market, at the same location that county planners first turned it down years ago.
Earlier this year, the county commissioners gave the state approval to enter county government-owned property in New Market at Route 6 and Route 5 to restart work for a park-and-ride lot there.
Morris at the time said that lot should be designed smaller than for 500 spaces. “Look at the size of this and the effect it’ll have on the overall traffic patterns, that should be considered,” he said.
“Why create another problem when a little restraint at the beginning can help the process?” he asked.
In May, Morris said, “I just wish the area was planned in total instead of ‘Hey, we’re going to put a park-and-ride here.’ It would be unwise to put a 500 [-parking space] park-and-ride lot there.” Space for 250 would make more sense, he said.
County planners initially turned down the New Market park-and-ride lot in April 2007 because of concerns with the intersection at Route 5. Cars stack in the middle of the intersection to go west on Route 6.
“That intersection will be congested, no question,” Morris said. “If the state roads will please work with us.”
The New Market lot is still in the preliminary planning stages, Owens said.
The land for the Charlotte Hall park-and-ride was sold by F. Elliott “Sonny” Burch Jr. The state came to him looking for land about five years ago.
Burch said he didn’t think then that the process would have taken as long as it did. Some of the time spent was for an archaeological study of the site. Burch said the search found “nothing of significance,” just a half of an old plowing disc.
Documents presented to the Maryland Board of Public Works said, “MTA’s Commuter Bus service from Southern Maryland to Washington, D.C., has experienced steady and strong growth in recent years, as higher gasoline prices and an influx of population to the area have stimulated ridership demand.”