Lined with stately trees and pleasant, spacious homes, Central Avenue seems to offer a glimpse back to a more peaceful time, when children rode bikes and played tag in the street.
Residents would like to keep it that way, but the four-block stretch in the heart of Glen Burnie has become a major traffic route.
From dawn to late at night, a steady stream of cars whizzes by the homes between Crain Highway and Dorsey Road. Parents warn their children to avoid crossing the street alone. Many homeowners steer clear of parking by the curb.
"The speeding is the biggest thing," said one long-time Central Avenue resident, who asked not to be identified. "Sometimes the police set up speed traps, which helps periodically. Most of the time, it's pretty bad."
She and other neighbors said they fear the strip will become more of a raceway once a new, synchronized traffic light is installed at the intersection with Crain Highway.
The light is sorely needed for Central Avenue motorists making a left turn onto busy Crain. But many believe the traffic signal, which will include flashing lights for the Glen Burnie Firehouse and a pedestrian signal, also will lead more commuters than ever to use Central Avenue as a shortcut to Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard.
"Basically, right now there's a gridlock at the (Crain Highway) intersection," said Victor A. Sulin, head of the Glen Burnie Urban Renewal Administration. "Some residents are concerned there will be an increase in traffic when they put the light in."
The Glen Burnie Improvement Association has scheduled a meeting for 7:30 p.m. Monday to discuss ways to slow traffic along Central Avenue. Proposed solutions include building an island in the center of the street and installing more stop signs.
"We want to do something to keep it safe," said Kathy DeGrange, who chairs the association's public works committee.
Representatives from the traffic engineering division of the county Public Works Department have promised to discuss solutions to the speeding dilemma before installing the light, she said.
Sulin, who will be taking in seat in the General Assembly come December after finishing third in Tuesday's primary, also plans to attend the meeting at the association's headquarters at First Avenue and Crain Highway.
"Anything that will make the street function better as far as the community goes will be acceptable to us," he said.