The State Highway Administration plans to put up three traffic lights in a half-mile stretch of Dorsey Road between I-97 and Central Avenue to try to make crossing the road easier for pedestrians and to move traffic better at peak hours.
However, members of the nearby Glen Burnie community say they would like to know why the traffic light at Central Avenue will operate only when children are arriving at and leaving Arthur Slade Regional Catholic School. They say having it operate most hours would benefit the children as well as the community.
That section of Glen Burnie, bounded roughly by Dorsey Road, Interstate 97, Crain Highway and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, has been tagged "The Land of Right Turns Only" because it is so hard to exit the few roads that would put a vehicle on westbound Dorsey Road.
Central Avenue residents have long lobbied for a signal to make it easier for northbound motorists on Central to turn left onto Dorsey Road. Even a signal operating only during busy morning hours is a victory for them.
"I am concerned that when the signal is only operating when the children need it, people won't be used to it," said Kathy DeGrange, who as a Glen Burnie Improvement Association officer represents the community. She said the community wants SHA to explain why it would have the light operate just part time.
Community, school and SHA representatives are scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss the traffic light.
Ms. DeGrange noted that more than a year ago, two Slade students were struck by a car that failed to stop despite a crossing guard and crosswalk by the school.
The SHA is putting in the three signals as part of a $14.6 million project to widen I-97 over Dorsey Road and reconfigure the interchange, said Cathy Hickey, SHA spokeswoman.
State agency plans call for two lights at Slade. One at the school's east side, across from Central Avenue, would be activated by the crossing guard twice a day. At other times, it would flash yellow on Dorsey Road and red on Central Avenue.
The light at the school's west side, across from the Pascal Senior Center, would flash only at night and during the early hours of the morning, highway officials said.
A flashing overhead hazard signal would warn motorists of the signals.
Suzanne Whitmore, director of development for the 871-student school, said the school wants the signals "for the safety of our children."
Another signal, near the entrance to the Sawmill Creek Park tennis courts, would help move traffic from I-97 onto eastbound Dorsey Road.
That section of Dorsey Road is busy, with 21,800 vehicles a day on eastbound Dorsey Road at I-97, and is expected to get busier, highway officials said.