About 50 Annapolis residents have banded together to ask the city to reopen a hazardous road it closed last month.
The City Council closed Youngs Farm Road temporarily at the request of residents of The Landings, a 288-home development off Forest Drive.
Residents said cars had been speeding down Youngs Farm Road, which runs through the development, looking for a shortcut between Forest Drive and Hilltop Lane.
The intersection of Youngs Farm and Forest Drive had a high percentage of serious accidents involving cars turning onto Forest Drive from Youngs Farm.
Now other residents of The Landings want Youngs Farm Road reopened, and they also are using safety as a rallying cry. They are worried that emergency vehicles -- which can drive over the curb that now sits at Youngs Farm and Forest Drive -- will take longer to get to their homes. They've gathered petitions and held meetings, and last week, they took their case to the council.
"I think it's a travesty that that road was closed to begin with," said Bill Brown, a homeowner. "I don't think public safety should ever be ignored. There has been a great change of heart among the residents of the neighborhood, and there's been a lot of dissension in the neighborhood."
The heads of the police, fire and public works departments want the road reopened, but the final decision rests with the council, which will take up the issue again in January when the 90-day temporary closure expires.
For resident Pamela Davis, closing the road has been a quest for several years. She is no longer on the board of directors of the homeowners association, but she serves on a committee that sought to close Youngs Farm Road.
Davis is sympathetic to residents who want the road reopened, especially those on nearby Stone Creek Road, who have seen an increase in traffic on their road as people look for new shortcuts through the neighborhood. Half the people who signed the petition to reopen Youngs Farm Road live on Stone Creek Road.
"I am very sympathetic to both sides," Davis said. "We are asking people to give us the 90 days, then we will go out and survey the neighborhood, give them the information on the cost, and do whatever the majority wants us to do."
The residents have spent about $2,000 so far closing the road. The city has estimated it would cost about $20,000 to close the road permanently.
The residents own the road as part of their planned unit development.
Davis said closing Youngs Farm Road has made some residents happy. "From the people I've talked to, most are thrilled," said the mother of two small children. "As it is in life, people who are happy don't go out and say so."
The Landings homeowners association voted 146-40 by mail survey to close the road. About 220 homeowners are eligible to vote, so Davis said the turnout was good. About 70 homes are rented, and are exempted from voting.
Most renters live on the other side of the development from Youngs Farm Road. Homeowners association president Frank Florentine said many renters oppose closing the road, but didn't have a say in the closure.
Florentine wants the road reopened.
Meanwhile, residents have gotten good news -- the county plans to install a traffic light at Gemini Drive and Forest Drive. Gemini also runs through the Landings development, parallel to Youngs Farm Road. Residents said the light should slow down traffic on Forest Drive and allow residents to leave the Landings more easily.
The neighborhood's alderman, Carl O. Snowden, D-Ward 5, said the light should be installed within a year.