Experts disagree on traffic from planned stadium

August 17, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

How bad will traffic be from a proposed football stadium in Laurel?

The answer lurks somewhere in the testimony of dueling experts.

Yesterday, the stadium opponents' expert contradicted the Washington Redskins' traffic engineers during a continuing public hearing on the project at Meade High School.

Paul Kitsakos, a traffic engineer, testified on behalf of the Russett Center Ltd. Partnership, developers of a nearby neighborhood who oppose the stadium. The stadium would harm the public health, safety and welfare, he said, by increasing traffic, drawing it through local streets and restricting residents' freedom of movement.

The Redskins are seeking permission to build a $160 million, 78,600-seat stadium in Anne Arundel County, next to the Laurel Race Course. They also are asking for variances from county rules on parking, landscaping and time required for project completion.

Mr. Kitsakos ran down a list of criticisms of the proposal:

* If any of the Redskins' assumptions about mass transit or car pooling are wrong, the traffic management system will break down;

* Brock Bridge Road between Whiskey Bottom Road and Route 32 would be pushed beyond its traffic capacity, and was not adequately studied;

* There is not enough parking on the site;

* Proposed 8-foot-wide parking spaces are too narrow for vans and high-occupancy vehicles;

* More cars would show up for night games than could be accommodated;

"Other than that," quipped Administrative Hearing Officer Robert C. Wilcox, "why are you against the stadium?"

Mr. Kitsakos also accused the Redskins of deliberately diverting traffic from the most direct route to the stadium, Route 198, onto Routes 216 and 32, to shift it out of Anne Arundel County -- and out of the jurisdiction of Mr. Wilcox, who will decide the stadium's fate.

Walter Lynch, the Redskins project manager for the stadium, denied the charge.

"We tried to figure out the best way to run our business, the best way to get traffic in and out of the stadium," he said.

Redskins lawyer Harry Blumenthal said the team would counter Mr. Kitsakos' arguments on Friday.

Mr. Wilcox has said Friday will be the final day of the hearing, which is now in its sixth week.

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