By MATTHEW UMSTEAD
10:39 PM EST, November 8, 2012
Several parking spaces along Race and Raleigh streets in Martinsburg are being eliminated to make way for the addition of turn lanes and traffic lane changes that are part of the Raleigh Street Extension project.
Martinsburg City Council Thursday night approved four modifications that state Division of Highways traffic engineer Kenneth L. Clohan said after the meeting would result in the loss of six or seven parking spaces.
Paul Turner of 222 N. Raleigh St., who was the only resident to air concerns about the proposed parking reduction at the meeting, was able to convince city council to preserve one of three spaces slated for elimination near his home.
Without the change, Turner said he and his wife would have been left without a place to park near their home. Turner told city leaders that his wife has an asthma condition that is worsening and said he was already planning to ask the city to designate one space as handicapped parking for her.
The council voted 6-1 to modify one of the four DOH changes proposed to preserve one space in front of Turner’s residence, but the modification reduced the length of a northbound turn lane planned for Raleigh Street at the Race Street intersection.
The shortened turn lane concerned Ward 5 councilmember Jason Baker who voted against the change after he voiced concerns about congestion at the intersection. Baker also suggested parking alternatives be explored and backed an unsuccessful motion to table the issue to try to find another solution.
Turner said he was told by state transportation officials at a public meeting before construction began on the 1.2-mile road project that he would not lose parking as a result of the extension of Raleigh Street from Race Street to Edwin Miller Boulevard.
The 1.2-mile project, which is slated to open next summer, includes the addition of turn lanes on the existing section of Raleigh Street at the Martin and Race street intersections, according to highway officials.
Highway officials told city officials they hope to mill, pave, stripe and paint curb yellow in the effected areas of the Raleigh and Race streets the week after Thanksgiving.
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