Residents propose easing Woods Road traffic, preserving shortcut

June 17, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

Mountain Road residents say they have come up with a half-dozen ways to alleviate traffic problems on nearby Woods Road without closing down the popular local shortcut.

The residents, upset at a proposal to erect a barrier on Woods Road at 11th Street, called a meeting Wednesday night at the Lake Shore Firehouse to get answers from 3rd District County Councilman Carl G. "Dutch" Holland and the county's chief traffic engineer, Jim Schroll.

Woods Road, which cuts through the Chelsea Beach and Pine Crest communities, has become a bypass for motorists who want to get from Magothy Beach Road to the Pasadena peninsula without getting mired in the heavy traffic at several Mountain Road intersections.

But Chelsea Beach and Pine Crest residents say they are tired of the noise and danger associated with the increased traffic. They also are worried that traffic will grow once the Lake Shore Athletic Complex opens in the fall.

They have been working with county officials for three years to find a solution to their problem and felt a barrier at 11th Street might be the answer.

That, in turn, annoyed Mountain Road residents and commuters, who were afraid the shortcut would be closed without community notice.

At Wednesday's meeting, which attracted 200 people, Mountain Road residents suggested six alternatives to the barrier:

* Putting a traffic signal at the intersection of Magothy Bridge and Woods roads.

* Erecting four-way stop signs at Magothy Beach and Woods roads.

* Installing speed humps on Woods Road.

* Creating an alternate exit and entrance to the Lake Shore Athletic Center.

* Building an alternate exit and entrance into Chelsea Beach.

* Extending Magothy Bridge Road.

Barney Biancavilla, president of the Chelsea Beach Residents Association, was one of the first people Wednesday night to defend his community's decision to pursue barricading Woods Road.

"This is a convenience issue versus a safety issue," Mr. Biancavilla said, noting that speed and poor visibility at the intersection of Woods and Magothy Beach roads is responsible for accidents.

"You have a hazardous problem there, and people are getting hurt at that intersection," he said amid boos from the crowd.

The traffic, he said, becomes "backed up one to two blocks into our community because we can't get out in the morning."

The boos turned to cheers when John Crispens countered, calling the Chelsea Beach area "selfish."

Many agreed that the true reason for the high volume of traffic on Woods Road is overcrowding on Mountain Road.

"Last night going home, I hit the end of Mountain Road, and it took me 25 minutes to go 1.8 miles, and that's normal," said Kathy West, a Mountain Road resident who angrily confronted Mr. Holland on the issue of development in the area.

"You cannot continue to build, to enlarge this peninsula without roads!" she said as residents applauded.

Mr. Holland thanked the residents for expressing their concerns and said that Mr. Schroll would consider all the suggestions.

"Woods Road will remain the same, as far as I'm concerned, until we can come up with solutions that can please everyone," he said.

He added that he will submit his opinion concerning the two roads and the communities' problems to the director of public works within two weeks.

Though he did not offer his opinion, he did say "something needs to be done for Chelsea Beach."

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