ELDERSBURG — Some residents of Sweet Air Estates have a message for the growing number of motorists who've been zooming through the neighborhood recently: Slow down or else.
About 25 residents from the 85-home community held a meeting last Thursday at the Eldersburg library to discusstraffic and other community issues, such as crime.
"This neighborhood was never intended to be a thruway, but that's what it's becoming," said Patricia Zuniga, a Sunset Drive resident.
The residents say motorists traveling between Carroll and Baltimore counties are using Sunset Drive and Marriottsville Road No. 2 as a shortcut between Route 26 to the north and Route 99 and Interstate 70to south.
Sunset Drive -- a short street with a 25 mph speed limit -- runs from Old Liberty Road, just off Route 26, to MarriottsvilleRoad No. 2, which in turn intersects with Ridge Road.
Ridge Road is intended to be the thruway to Liberty Road, said Scott Fischer, county planner, who attended the meeting to discuss Carroll's road plans.
Marriottsville Road No. 2 intersects Marriottsville Road just north of the Howard County line. Marriottsville Road is a major link to Route 99 and I-70.
"We had a traffic count done (by the county public works department), and they told me 1,300 cars pass by my houseeach day," Zuniga said, adding that she estimated that some cars were going 50 mph.
Zuniga's main concern is the safety of the neighborhood's growing number of children, including her two preschoolers. She said she has contacted county agencies and requested police patrols and "Children at Play" signs. She also asked about closing off Marriottsville Road No. 2.
Fisher said one solution -- to be constructed by Stratton Woods Ltd. Partnership, the developer of the proposed Stratton Woods subdivision -- would realign Marriottsville Road No. 2to tie it back to Ridge Road and add a cul-de-sac north of Ridge Road.
But the plan fell through when the developer filed for bankruptcy, halting the Stratton Woods project indefinitely, he said.
"Theroads were intended (by the county) to be built by the developers soall the taxpayers wouldn't be paying for them," he said.
County Public Works Director John T. "Jack" Sterling said the completion of Stratton Woods could be four or five years away.
Instead, he suggested that the community petition the county commissioners to reclassify Sunset Drive and Marriottsville Road No. 2 north of Ridge Road as private roads, maintained by Sweet Air Estates, he said.
If the residents took over the roads, they could block them off at a point thatwould close the shortcut.
"I don't know if it would pass the commissioners or not," said Sterling, who is retiring Jan. 2. "It would be fine with me because it would be one less road for the county to maintain."
Carolyn Fairbank, president of the Carroll Highlands Homeowners Association, also attended the meeting and offered support to Sweet Air Estates residents.
"Carroll Highlands Drive also is being used as a shortcut between Ridge Road and Liberty Road," she said. "Cars have been clocked there at 67 miles per hour in a 25-mile-an-hour zone."
At the meeting, a crime watch program also was discussed. Zuniga said the program, which residents could establish with help from state police, could protect homes against crime.
Sweet Air Estates residents who want information on either project can call Zuniga at 795-5997.