County officials are forcing an unwanted, expensive road through a quiet Glen Burnie neighborhood, while ignoring speeding on existing roads, nearby residents have complained.
"You have blinders on," Linda Brandt, whose daughter was hit by a car last November when she was crossing Thelma Avenue, told the head of the county's traffic engineering division Tuesday night.
"Even if you did build the road, which the community doesn't want, what's going to happen until '97?" she asked, referring to the year the road would be finished. "How many children are going to get killed?"
Jim Schroll, the traffic engineering chief, told the Glen Burnie Improvement Association the $3.1 million project would connect Stewart Avenue, just south of Dorsey Road, to Thelma Avenue, near the intersection of Quarterfield Road.
It would improve access from Aviation Boulevard near Baltimore-Washington International Airport across Stewart Avenue and to Crain and Ritchie highways, he said.
The two-lane road, on the county's books for at least 20 years, offers the only solution to severe traffic congestion on narrow residential streets used by some 6,000 cars a day, he said.
"It is not safe for pedestrians," he said. "It's difficult to get in and out of your driveway if you have access to one of those roads."
But residents complained bitterly that the proposed road would cut through their back yards, split their neighborhood and draw more traffic onto residential streets.
Besides, many pointed out, because the road would not be built for several years, it would do nothing to stop the cars that now speed on Thelma Avenue to and from Dorsey Road, Route 100 and Crain Highway.
"The county could spend less than $1,000 to put stop signs up, and you're telling us that won't slow down the volume?" asked an incredulous Reginald Person, who lives on Stewart Avenue.
Mr. Schroll, ruled out the stop signs, arguing that drivers would speed between them, anyway. Road closures would only force traffic onto equally substandard neighborhood roads, he added. And rebuilt roads would encroach on residents' front yards, he said.
In other action, the organization also passed a resolution, introduced by former state Sen. Al Lipin, asking the state to extend the light-rail line from Dorsey Road to Glen Burnie's town center. Mr. Lipin, who said the rail extension would bring business to the downtown area, said public hearings would be scheduled before any route could be decided upon.