Central Ave. gets stop signs in bid to curb speeding

September 16, 1992|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Staff Writer

The days of the Central Avenue speedway in Glen Burnie may be numbered.

Motorists have long found that the wide street, free of stop signs, is a quick shortcut between Dorsey Road and Crain Highway.

Neighbors have long complained that speeding traffic disturbs the tranquillity of the tree-lined, residential street.

Bowing to the wishes of residents, the county plans to put up four-way stop signs on Friday at Central Avenue intersections with Oak Lane and D Street.

Also, come Friday, Linden Lane will become one-way northbound between Central Avenue and Greenway.

The measures, which are being taken for a three-month trial, result from negotiations between a neighborhood committee and the county, said Roger Little, who headed the group of a dozen of his neighbors.

The committee formed last year after the State Highway Administration announced plans to put in a traffic light at Central Avenue and Crain Highway.

The light was installed in May.

"This is what we want to try first," Mr. Little said.

The 15-year resident of Central Avenue said he's seen traffic volume and speed increase, particularly at rush hours.

Traffic circles and islands are the more common solutions to the type of traffic problems on Central Avenue, said James Schroll, chief of the Traffic Engineering Division.

However, those traffic-slowing measures are questionable so close to a fire station, and there's one off Central Avenue near Crain Highway.

The county usually turns down requests to add stop signs to slow traffic, chiefly because drivers tend to roll cars through the intersections anyway and then hit the gas pedal.

"Our experience is that multiway stop signs are not effective in controlling speed," Mr. Schroll said.

However, due to constraints, his division agreed to try the stop signs and one-way before trying more costly measures.

For the changes to be considered effective, traffic volume must drop by 5 percent, the speed of 85 percent of the cars must drop by 5 mph and 65 percent of the cars on Central Avenue must come to a full stop at both stop signs, Mr. Schroll said.

At the end of the 90-day trial, the project will be evaluated.

Mr. Schroll said traffic counts done last spring showed 2,050 cars a day traveled the eastern end of Central Avenue and nearly 3,700 cars a day traveled the western end.

Clearly, "there are people who are cutting through to get either to I-97 or to get to Dorsey [Road]," he said.

Speed studies on the 25-mph street bore out residents' complaints that cars were zipping by.

Mr. Schroll said 85 percent of the traffic was moving at 32 mph or below on a June afternoon.

However, on a May morning, that rate climbed to 40 mph, with ZTC most cars clocking between 35 and 37 mph.

While the 32 mph "wouldn't be that unusual," he said, speeds in the mid- and upper 30s were safety concerns.

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