Howard planners seek to rename part of Route 94 SOUTHEAST -- Sykesville * Eldersburg * Gamber

June 28, 1993|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Staff Writer

All roads leading to Florence won't be named Florence, not if Howard County rescue authorities get their way.

"It's really confusing," said Lt. Michael W. Gearhart, a spokesman for the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services.

What's confusing is that many longtime residents of Route 94 between Lisbon and Florence still tell 911 operators they live on Florence Road, instead of Route 94.

That probably wouldn't be a problem if not for the fact that there's another Florence Road, which crosses Route 94 in the tiny community of Florence.

Making matters more confusing is that the telephone company, which provides 911 operators with callers' addresses, also uses Florence Road when it means Route 94, said Samantha Green, a dispatch supervisor for Howard's 911 Center.

To correct the problem, county planners have proposed renaming most of Route 94 within Howard County.

Currently, the road begins in Carroll County as Woodbine Road and changes to Florence Road after it crosses Route 144.

After passing the other Florence Road, in Florence, it becomes Ellicott Road until it crosses the Montgomery County line.

In Montgomery County, it's called Annapolis Rock Road, but Howard County officials say that's somebody else's problem.

Changing the names will require the approval of the Howard County Planning Board, so the panel has scheduled a hearing on the subject at 10:30 a.m. Aug. 5 in the George Howard county office building.

The change was recommended by the county Bureau of Communications, which runs the 911 Center, after an April 8 mix-up over Florence Road addresses.

On that day, fire equipment was sent to a furnace fire at a "Florence Road" address and firefighters sped past the actual scene of the fire on Route 94, costing an extra 30 minutes in response time.

The problem is made especially acute by the wide-open spaces of the Lisbon-Woodbine area, said Lt. Keith Bennett of the Lisbon Volunteer Fire Company.

"It's not like Columbia, where you have a fire company on every corner," he said, adding that Florence Road is "not a good road, either. It's got a lot of twists and turns, so it's not like a fire engine can make good time on it."

Although the road's name may change for dispatchers and the telephone company, it'll never change for some residents, said Gene Mullinix, the proprietor of an agricultural supply business along Route 94.

"They can change it," he said, " but still the older people till they die are going to call it Florence Road."

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