"During rush hour, the only way to make this left turn is after the light has turned red, and then, of course, several cars go through the red light," Ms. Fielder writes. "This appears to be a very dangerous situation; it certainly is frustrating."
Intrepid Commuter applauds Ms. Fielder's interest in the intersection, not to mention her correct use of the semicolon. More importantly, we want to help her do something about the intersection.
The State Highway Administration has agreed to study the problem if it receives a written request. Unfortunately, we are informed that this column doesn't serve the purpose. Instead, Ms. Fielder could write Charles R. Harrison, the District 4 engineer, at the address in the accompanying box.
The study would include a 12-hour traffic count, some on-site observations by traffic experts and a three-year review of accident records for the intersection.
Highway planners already intend to make some changes in the vicinity. Next spring, they will realign a small portion of Frederick Road, lessening the effects of a curve just west of the intersection.
But, of course, there's no guarantee that they will decide to alter the intersection. There may even be reasons why they shouldn't.
The traffic congestion at that crossroads is already rated at a Level D by the state on a scale that gives an A to lightly traveled roads and an F to the most traffic-clogged. That means it automatically gets a review each year by the district office.
The problem right now is that left-turners are held up by oncoming traffic. But if an arrow were added, then left-turners would hold up westbound traffic -- creating a new problem for motorists.
"The road isn't wide enough for a left-turn lane," says Steve Weber, Baltimore County's assistant traffic engineer. "This is a problem that you have in a lot of the busy intersections in the county."
There are two lessons to be learned in this. The first is really a reminder: People who want to make a left-hand turn have a right to enter the intersection while waiting for a break in traffic.
Even if the light turns against them, the left-turner who has entered the intersection must be allowed to clear the intersection by the traffic that has just been given the green light. So some left-turning traffic should always get through on each cycle.
Secondly, we all have a right to suggest changes in the way our roads are managed.
In that spirit, we are including the names and addresses of all the SHA district engineers, and a counterpart for the city. If, like Ms. Fielder, you think an intersection or state-managed road needs to be changed, write a letter. The agency prefers a written record of the complaint and a detailed description of the problem.
Plan B may help MARC riders transfer
The Mass Transit Administration is pondering a plan that could spell some relief for MARC commuters who need help getting from a Baltimore area train station to work.
Under the plan, customers who take a Maryland Rail Commuter train each day could use their MARC passes to transfer to a bus, the Metro or the light-rail system.
State officials insist the plan is preliminary. It must ultimately be approved by Transportation Secretary O. James Lighthizer as part of the MTA's pending bus, Metro and light-rail fare increase.
The proposed service, which could go into effect as early as Jan. 17, likely would cost participating MARC riders an extra $5 a week or $20 a month. Customers would be required to purchase a "B" sticker that is affixed to the MARC pass.
That may not seem a like a big deal to all you nontrain types, but it's a sign that the MTA is finally taking some steps to more fully integrate MARC into Baltimore's mass transit system.
Under the current arrangement, only MARC customers on the Penn North Line, which runs from Perryville into Baltimore's Pennsylvania Station, have the option of transferring to a bus. And even then, they only have the right to board a bus headed downtown in the morning and outbound to the station in the afternoon.
Initially, that transfer was free. But more recently, regular Penn North customers have had to pay the B sticker.
HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN WRITE
If you have a suggestion for improving a state road or intersection, write to these SHA district engineers:
District 1 (Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester)
Donnie Drewer, 660 West Road, P.O. Box 2679, Salisbury, MD 21802-1679
District 2 (Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's and Talbot)
Paul Armstrong, Morganic Road, Route 291, P.O. Box 299, Chestertown, MD 21620
District 3 (Montgomery and Prince George's)
Creston Mills, 9300 Kenilworth Ave., Greenbelt, MD 20770
District 4 (Baltimore and Harford)
Charles R. Harrison, 2323 W. Joppa Road, Brooklandville, MD 21022
District 5 (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's)
G; Edward Meehan, 138 Defense Highway, Annapolis, MD 21401
District 6 (Allegany, Garrett and Washington)
T. Wallace Beaulieu, Braddock Road and Route 49, P.O. Box 3347, LaVale, MD 21504
District 7 (Carroll, Frederick and Howard)
Doug Rose, P.O. Box 308, 5111 Buckeystown Pike, Frederick, MD 21701
Baltimore residents worried about city streets/intersections
James Causey, acting chief of Traffic Division, Baltimore Department of Public Works, Bureau of Transportation, Room 624, Charles L. Benton Jr. Building, Baltimore 21202