Owen Brown, Martin roads to get lights Flashing signal at intersection a victory for residents

August 04, 1993|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Staff Writer

The county will install flashing signals at the intersection of Owen Brown and Martin roads, the site of several accidents since traffic patterns were changed about nine months ago.

Motorists traveling on Owen Brown Road will have flashing red lights and those on Martin Road will have flashing yellow lights.

"It's a step in the right direction," said Owen Brown Road resident Chris Fazi, who, with his wife, Debra, organized a petition drive and wrote and sent photographs to county officials to alert them.

At least three accidents have occurred at the intersection in 1993, all in the last two months, according to the Howard County Police Department.

Mr. Fazi said there may have been other accidents that weren't documented.

"From my direct observation, I can't even count the number of accidents I've witnessed at that intersection" while commuting to and from work, he said.

C. Edward Walter, county traffic engineering division chief, said problems have occurred because motorists run the stop sign that was installed on Owen Brown Road when traffic patterns changed.

Owen Brown Road used to be a major road linking East and West Columbia by an intersection at Route 29.

But since the creation of Broken Land Parkway, Owen Brown now dead-ends at Route 29.

Martin Road, which used to end at Owen Brown Road, is now the major artery, linking Hickory Ridge village to Columbia's major highways.

"When they first made the changeover, it was a problem intersection and there were some serious accidents," said Sgt. Gary Gardner, a police spokesman.

He added that traffic measures that were installed to make the intersection safer helped reduce the frequency of accidents.

The traffic division installed rumble strips, a warning sign for a stop sign ahead and oversized stop signs with flags on Owen Brown Road. But drivers still miss the stop sign, Mr. Walter said.

"Hopefully, [the flashing lights] will wake people up," he said.

Mr. Fazi said concern about traffic safety extends beyond the residents who live on the roads and the adjacent communities, Sebring and Atholton.

Since Owen Brown Road has become a dead-end street, the number of cyclists and joggers using the road has increased, he said. More children now play along the road, he added.

"Residents aren't trying to change the road just for our own benefit, for our own playground," he said. "It's to everyone's advantage."

Some residents of the area would rather have a regular traffic light installed, said Mr. Fazi.

An intersection must meet certain national standards for traffic volume and flow before a light can be approved.

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