Speeders plague Whiskey Bottom Road NORTH LAUREL/SAVAGE

March 19, 1993|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff Writer

Tracie Hungerford is well aware of speeding cars on Whiskey Bottom Road. It's been a problem since she moved to North Laurel three years ago.

But three weeks ago it got a whole lot worse as a driver hit a patch of ice, lost control of his car and slammed into a tree in her front yard.

"If I didn't have that tree there he would have landed in my daughter's bedroom," Ms. Hungerford said.

Excessive speeding, heavy traffic and dangerous curves on Whiskey Bottom Road have residents concerned about their safety. And they're after Howard County and state officials to do something.

"The speeds are so great, I'm really afraid for the kids on the street," said Whiskey Bottom Road resident Lois Patrick.

Mrs. Patrick has written letters about the traffic problems to the governor, the county executive, state and county traffic officials, her County Council representative and state legislators.

She made some suggestions about how to improve road safety in the area, such as limiting tractor-trailer traffic, reducing the speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph and installing a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Whiskey Bottom and All Saints roads.

The response hasn't been encouraging, Mrs. Patrick said.

County traffic officials say they've been monitoring the road for the past two years because of increased development in the area.

However, the intersection of Whiskey Bottom and All Saints doesn't meet the requirements for installation of a traffic signal or a three-way stop sign.

"Traffic is increasing out there and we've been following it very closely," said C. Edward Walter, chief of the county's traffic engineering division.

"We agree that some kind of traffic control would be desirable out there," he said.

Whiskey Bottom Road is classified by the Department of Planning and Zoning as a major collector road. These roads collect traffic from neighborhood streets and distribute it into arterial roads such as U.S. 1 and Interstate 95, Mr. Walter said.

Up to this point, county traffic engineers haven't installed any traffic control measures on collector roads in the county because generally these measures, such as speed humps and traffic circles, are designed for roads with less traffic, Mr. Walter said.

The traffic volume on Whiskey Bottom Road is 7,500 vehicles a day, he said.

The county's traffic division is currently looking into ways to alleviate traffic problems on collector roads, said Mr. Walter, who just returned from a trip to Florida to study traffic control measures there.

But residents want immediate action.

"They've got to do something; this road is residential, not commercial," Ms. Hungerford said. "When you stop to turn in your driveway you just pray that nothing is coming around the bend behind you."

Mrs. Patrick's suggestion of limiting traffic by weight restrictions is not feasible, based on a recent traffic study of the road, county traffic officials said.

Large trucks accounted for only 1.5 percent of the traffic on Whiskey Bottom Road, according to a study conducted over a 48-hour period last November, Mr. Walter said.

"With that small percentage, we see no reason to restrict traffic," Mr. Walter said.

But residents wonder why large vehicles can't be restricted to Route 32.

"That's why 32 opened," Mrs. Patrick said.

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