Sykesville proposes solutions to traffic Residents protest Obrecht Road entry

July 08, 1992|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,Staff Writer

SYKESVILLE -- Town officials are asking the county to review seven recommendations to head off traffic problems at the Obrecht Road entrance to the new Copper Ridge facility at Fairhaven.

A number who attended Monday night's Planning Commission meeting presented a petition containing 49 signatures of Hawk Ridge Farm subdivision residents who oppose locating Copper Ridge's entrance directly opposite Norris Avenue.

"Our main concern is traffic density. [Fairhaven] is saying 125 more cars will be traveling Obrecht Road, plus we get traffic from other areas and school buses," said Bob Ruane, a Norris Avenue resident.

"We're already experiencing heavy traffic on Norris because it's a nice, wide, straight stretch, and people are disobeying the [speed] laws," said Frank Longo, another Norris Avenue resident.

Copper Ridge, a nursing home and adult day-care facility for those with Alzheimer's disease and other disabling illnesses, will be built on the southwest end of the Fairhaven property, directly across from Hawk Ridge Farm.

The main entrance to Copper Ridge will be opposite Norris Avenue, a residential street and collector road in and out of the town.

Greg Burgen, project manager for Copper Ridge, told the commission that the one-story, 126,000- square-foot facility has been designed to blend in with the community.

The center will accommodate a maximum of 165 patients, none of whom will drive, and the full-time equivalent of 152 employees. Mr. Burgen estimated that 100 to 125 cars will enter and leave Copper Ridge between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. daily.

"The gates to the main entrance will be closed between 9 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.," Mr. Burgen said. "We already have a gatehouse for employee use during those times."

The peak times for traffic in and out of Copper Ridge would be at 7 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the nursing shifts change, he said. Other traffic would be caused by visitors to the facility.

In response to residents' protest against the additional traffic, Mr. Burgen said, "We're talking about eight cars an hour, and they're not turning down Norris."

Because Obrecht Road at Norris Avenue is a town street, the county asked the town to review the Copper Ridge plans, said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.

Mr. Schumacher presented the Planning Commission with seven recommendations for the intersection, including:

* Asking the developer to construct road improvements for the portion of Obrecht Road that is within town limits, according to the town's plans.

* Designing the intersection to allow a shared center turn lane in both directions.

* The developer securing a Public Works Agreement and having construction drawings approved by the mayor and Town Council for improvements to Third Avenue and Obrecht Road.

* Requesting a traffic study showing the direction of traffic flow and impact to Route 851 intersections with Springfield Avenue and Route 32 and all intervening roads.

Mr. Schumacher said the recommendations would be presented a public meeting at 10 a.m. Friday in Room 101 of the County Office Building. County transportation, development and engineering review representatives will attend the meeting.

"We would like to look at the possibility of another entrance, unless the county sees no need for it," Mr. Schumacher said.

But Ron Church, manager for the Engineering Review Division, said the county prefers that intersections be aligned directly across from each other for safety reasons.

"It makes traffic flow easier and less confusing for drivers," Mr. Church said.

"If they can't be across from each other, then we recommend intersections at least 250 feet apart. But if you do that, cross traffic would be going through an S-maneuver on Obrecht Road."

Those interested in Friday's meeting can call Mr. Schumacher at 795-6390 for details.

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