Gwynns Falls man wants no further truck with rigs


April 19, 1993

There are times when the awesome power wielded by the Intrepid Commuter comes in handy.

There are also times when we wonder why we bother to get out of the Intrepid Bed in the morning.

Fortunately, an affectionate greeting from the Intrepid Canine, a good bowl of Intrepid Cereal, and a bracing cup of coffee from the Mr. Intrepid machine usually shake us of that notion.

It is far more fortifying, however, to sense the fear and loathing we inspire in government officials and other miscreants when we demand that they right the wrongs that have been perpetrated upon our readers.

This week we had three such opportunities. The first was brought to our attention by Robert J. Lock, who is concerned about the trucks rumbling through the community of Gwynns Falls in West Baltimore.

"These huge tractor-trailer rigs are damaging residents' property and knocking over street lamps without even stopping," writes Mr. Lock, a retired machinist who serves as president of the Gwynns Falls Community Association.

"It is now about time someone did something about it. Somewhere along the line, these rigs have to be restricted from this area."

Mr. Lock's complaints are not uncommon in residential areas. He believes the large trucks are incompatible with narrow, one-way streets. He has asked local businesses to restrict deliveries to Longwood and Easly streets, to no avail.

We brought Mr. Lock's concerns to the attention of Baltimore's public works department several days ago. Officials promised a full study of the issue before year's end by the city's truck task force.

Some streets in Gwynns Falls are already off-limits to delivery trucks, but city officials admitted that the restrictions may not have been adequately enforced.

"The businesses there have been established for years, and you can't prohibit truck traffic altogether," says Vanessa Pyatt, a department spokeswoman. "But there may be better alternatives."

Intrepid admits that a promise of a study is only a partial victory. But we also suspect this may be a matter where local businesses could solve the problem without government intervention.

In search of M.L. King Boulevard

Margaret E. Beatty of Catonsville is looking for a sign from the city.

Specifically, she wants to know what happened to the "Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard" sign she used to see while traveling south on Howard Street. It's been missing about a year, she says.

"I often have occasion to come down Howard Street at night and the overhead sign was very helpful, as the corner signs in the area are very hard to see," she writes. "Why has this sign been removed?"

Intrepid Commuter agrees this is a very confusing intersection, particularly because the streets don't meet at right angles. It was

further complicated by the addition of the light rail line down Howard Street last year. In fact, the light rail system is to blame for the missing sign, according to Ms. Pyatt. It was taken down during construction and "we forgot to put it back up," she says.

"We plan to replace it shortly," she says.

Beltway resurfacing breaks windshields

Caution: Flying Stones Ahead.

That might be a good warning for the west side of the Baltimore Beltway during the current resurfacing.

Loose stones near U.S. 40 recently cost Irene Spencer of Woodlawn a second windshield, and she's not happy about it. She lost her first windshield some weeks earlier near Reisterstown Road.

"If I keep making insurance claims like this, I'm sure I'll hear from my insurance company," she writes. "To whom in the state of Maryland do I send my bill for a new windshield? And what exactly is that status of that portion of thebeltway?"

First, the last question. The resurfacing of the beltway from Milford to U.S. 40 is expected to be finished by September.

Workers chipped the pavement down to a grooved surface last December, but the weather got too cold to start repaving it until recently, according to Liz Kalinowski, spokeswoman for the State Highway Administration.

As a result, motorists have been forced to drive on the bumpy surface for four months. Ms. Kalinowski says the contractor should be sweeping small rocks at least once a week, but a few may have slipped through.

"These things can happen to motorists in perfectly clear stretches of highway," she says. "It's one of those unfortunate things."

Still, Ms. Spencer is welcome to bill the state for her expense, but be forewarned: In order to collect from the state's insurance trust fund, she'll have to prove the state was liable. To apply for a refund, she should write to: Lucille Maurer, Treasurer, Louis L. Goldstein Treasury Building, 80 Calvert Street, Room 109, Annapolis, Md. 21401 or contact the office by phone at 410-974-3684 or 301-858-5419 from the Washington suburbs.

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