Village to probe volume, speed of traffic Owen Brown task force launched at meeting

'hot spots' are listed

November 07, 1995|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,SUN STAFF

Concerned about the volume and speed of traffic in their quiet east Columbia community, residents of Owen Brown village have organized a traffic task force to investigate traffic problems and seek solutions.

The task force -- modeled after a similar one in Oakland Mills village -- was officially launched at a meeting Thursday night. The six-member committee plans to examine vehicular and pedestrian traffic problems, set priorities for remedying them and prod local officials into acting, said John Durante, the task force s chairman.

Some of the "hot spots" are Snowden River Parkway, Cradlerock Way and Oakland Mills Road, said Wanda Hurt, Owen Brown Village Board chairwoman, who helped form the committee. "I think we really have a big traffic problem over here," she said.

At Snowden River Parkway, where residents already complain about traffic from nearby retailers, some fear that the situation will only worsen. In the next few years, the Snowden River corridor is due to see the opening of a multiscreen movie complex, a housing development with 650 townhouses and a shopping center with a Target store.

Some residents complain that the Rouse Co., Columbia's developer, is building in that area without considering their safety or feelings.

"They are devaluing our property right in front of our faces," said Deborah Provencher, a member of the traffic task force.

The task force was formed four months after residents of the Hopewell community met to seek solutions to the traffic at Rustling Leaf at Snowden River Parkway.

"All we want is a light," said Mr. Durante.

C. Edward Walter, chief of the county's traffic engineering division, said the traffic volume and number of serious accidents at the intersection are not great enough to warrant a traffic signal.

Since November, for example, there have been two serious accidents at that intersection, according to traffic engineering. An intersection must have at least 15 accidents during a 12-month period to be considered a high-accident location, the State Highway Administration says.

To warrant a traffic light, that intersection would have to have 600 or more vehicles per hour over an eight-hour period on Snowden River Parkway and 150 vehicles or more in eight hours on Rustling Leaf, Mr. Walter said. The current traffic level "doesn't even begin to meet the volume," he said.

Mr. Walter said he is working with the community and has ordered the removal of some parking near the Supreme Court gym at Deepage Drive and Carved Stone.

With the task force's formation, members hope officials will take the community's concerns more seriously.

"They have turned our neighborhood into Route 40," said Mrs. Provencher. "We don't want to live in Route 40."

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