Residents laud plan to alter traffic patterns near Glen Burnie High

March 04, 1994|By Andrea Siegel | Andrea Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

After nearly five years of lobbying, residents near Glen Burnie High School finally saw the payoff this week when state officials unveiled a plan to change the traffic patterns around the 1,940-student school.

"It could only improve a bad situation," said Principal Midgie Sledge, who routinely hears tires screeching on the streets surrounding the school. "I'm just ecstatic that they are coming to some conclusion."

Kuethe Road alongside the school will remain a two-way street, but traffic heading northeast from Ritchie Highway will have to turn right onto Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard. Motorists now can go right, left or straight, which has led to bottlenecks and accidents.

The State Highways Administration will put a traffic light where Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and Glen Road intersect on the other side of the school. The light will stay green for Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard motorists until a sensor is tripped by Glen Road traffic or a pedestrian pushes a button, said traffic engineer Bob French. Left-turn-only lanes and crosswalks will be added as well.

Though the project's cost is unknown, adding a traffic signal usually costs about $70,000, Mr. French said. The work should be done by the start of the 1995-'96 school year.

"This is good for the school and the community," said Kathy DeGrange, who helped lead the fight for traffic improvements. "It's been a long time coming."

Mrs. DeGrange said she will try to arrange a community meeting for next month to give residents a chance to look at the plans and to talk to traffic engineers.

Still to be worked out are details such as whether the Glen Road light will have a left-only arrow and whether parking will be banned on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard across from the school, said SHA spokeswoman Cathy Hickey.

The Glen Gardens community and parents of the high school's students have complained about traffic in the area since the 1970s. The latest push started after a Corkran Middle School student was killed in 1988 on Ritchie Highway near the high school, said Mrs. DeGrange, who headed the Glen Burnie Improvement Association's public works committee.

The next year, the association suggested several safety measures.

In response, SHA installed a flashing yellow signal to alert drivers heading uphill on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard that they were approaching Kuethe Road. The association then persuaded the school system to enlarge the high school cafeteria and to stop students from leaving for lunch.

"We still felt something was not right," said Mrs. DeGrange.

Year after year, activists asked SHA to study the possibility of putting a light at the Kuethe Road intersection. But the numbers were not in their favor. Then, last fall, the community suggested studying Glen Road as well.

Traffic counts showed as many as 1,393 vehicles an hour on Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard at Glen Road, and up to 166 on Glen Road, Mr. French said. Most high school traffic uses Glen Road. About 400 seniors drive to school, Ms. Sledge said.

In contrast, traffic on Kuethe Road did not exceed 55 cars an hour.

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