Activists wondering about fate of plan for cloverleaf intersection Shopping center prompts increased traffic concerns

April 23, 1996|By Dan Morse | Dan Morse,SUN STAFF

Not so fast, Howard County.You promised us a cloverleaf.

That's the rallying cry of community activists near the clogged intersection of Route 175 and Snowden River Parkway. They are asking the Howard County Planning Board to reconsider its approval of a shopping center under construction, which will draw even more traffic to the congested area.

The Planning Board may take up the request tomorrow night, Chairman Ted Mariani said.

The controversy goes back to last summer, when the board approved the Columbia Crossing shopping center near the intersection. The board assured nearby residents that "a full movement grade separated interchange" -- which they took to mean a cloverleaf -- would be paid for in the s fiscal 1997 capital budget, according to county records.

But when Howard County Executive Charles I. Ecker unveiled that budget this month, funding for the project had been cut substantially. Engineers hope to use a relatively untested "dispersed movement" crossing that involves a series of timed traffic lights and new left turn access roads.

Now comes Cecilia Januszkiewicz, chairwoman of the Long Reach Village Board. In a April 18 letter to Mr. Mariani, she wrote: "The [Village] Board requests that the case be reopened and the decision be revised to take into account this repudiation of the county's commitment."

Mr. Mariani said cases are reopened only when there is "significant rationale," but he would not comment specifically on this case.

County officials have said a full-movement cloverleaf proved to be too expensive and would not alleviate traffic at the nearby Route 175-Dobbin Road intersection.

The dispersed movement design can be placed at both intersections, and county engineers say it would be as efficient as partial cloverleafs that require traffic lights, but not as efficient as a full cloverleaf with no lights.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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