Kelly Jarvis can hear the roaring of the cars as they speed by her yoga studio, Fit2Shine, on Main Street in New Market.
“It’s consistent,” she said. “You can be sitting here doing work or engaging in conversation, and it might be every 10 cars that go by with a swoosh.”
By the time she looks up to get a glimpse of the car, it’s already whizzed by.
“It doesn’t feel good to hear that and have that thought in mind that people are flying by,” she said. “At any given moment, in this distracted world, they can look down at their phone and crash.”
Unfortunately, every so often, a car does crash.
About a month ago, a car overturned and hit three other cars — totaling them all. For residents, businesses and town officials, that crash was the final straw. A few days later, community members took to social media and posted “Please Drive 25” signs on Main Street as part of a grassroots effort to slow drivers down.
Town officials have also started to discuss implementing traffic-calming devices on the street, which are designed to slow down drivers as well as protect pedestrians.
An update on these efforts will be discussed at a town meeting Thursday at Town Hall at 7 p.m.
Long-term solution not near
Main Street is a slow section of Md. 144 that runs right through New Market. The posted speed limit is 30 mph. While the town markets itself as a destination — it is known as “the Antique Capital of Maryland” — Main Street is being used as a thruway for commuters.
A proposed bypass road that would extend Mussetter Road and connect commuters from Md. 144 to Md. 75, diverting traffic from Main Street, is a long way off. The project remains at a standstill as the town of New Market and Frederick County continue to debate a water and sewer amendment that would allow a New Market subdivision to be built off Boyers Mill Road.
Until then, the grassroots effort is trying to get motorists to slow down on Main Street.
For instance, Jarvis, a Lake Linganore resident, has also created a Facebook page — Drive 25 on Main Street — in hopes of changing motorists’ behavior and remind them to drive 25 mph.
“I genuinely believe that people want to be good to their neighbors and don’t mean to be inconsiderate drivers,” she said in an email. “I think they just need to be reminded that there are humans living and working there and it is not just the pass-through street.”
Frederick County Sheriff’s Office Lt. Jeff Eyler — who oversees the patrol deputies in New Market — said Main Street is a “consistent area” that those deputies focus on.
While he has seen an increase in traffic throughout the county, “that stretch of road sees a lot of traffic, in my opinion, on a daily basis,” he said.
“It’s fair to say that people speed on Main Street in New Market,” he said.
In addition, the town, along with engineers, is trying to lay out a plan to implement pedestrian nodes using bollards.
Bollards, short vertical posts that are commonly painted yellow, will be placed in the street near sidewalks to prevent cars from passing a vehicle in front of them when it is trying to turn left.
If implemented, the bollards will be placed at Prospect Alley near The Derby, Sixth Alley by Town Hall and Eighth Alley near Vintage.
New Market is also looking into pedestrian push lights to put on street posts.
Michelle Corpora, a member of the New Market Civic Partnership, a group dedicated to fostering the economic development of Main Street, said the partnership is looking into grants to fund a traffic study.
The study would address budgetary concerns, proximity to schools and emergency services, parking and other issues, she said.
The 30 mph speed limit will also be reduced immediately to 25 mph, according to Mayor Winslow F. Burhans III. New 25 mph speed limit signs will be ordered and changed over in the coming months.
To remind people to drive the speed limit, resident David Taylor — whose two cars were totaled in the most recent crash — bought 100 “Please Drive 25” signs and distributed them to residents and businesses to post.
He wants to see fines tripled “and let the people that choose to break the law get caught and pay dearly.”
“Is somebody going to have to die in this town before we slow down the people that don't live in this town, that don't care — the people that drive through here every single day [who] I guarantee don't spend $10 a year in town,” he said.
Burhans said that that’s something he has always pointed out.
“We want the destination traffic, not the commuter traffic,” he said.