The politicians are fighting over Mountain Road: Should Anne Arundel County spend money to widen it or to study building a bypass?
Four state legislators have asked Anne Arundel County Executive John G. Gary to take $200,000 away from a planned study of a Mountain Road bypass and spend it, instead, to add a lane to the eastbound and westbound sides of Mountain Road between Route 100 and Lake Shore Drive.
The legislators -- Republican Dels. John R. Leopold and Victoria L. Schade and Democratic Sen. Philip C. Jimeno and Del. Joan Cadden -- said they are lobbying for their proposal because they envision too many obstacles to the $12 million bypass project, a 2 1/2 -mile, two-lane parallel route linking Magothy Bridge Road to Mountain Road between South Carolina and Maryland avenues in Lake Shore.
"There's just no way you could put a bypass back there and not disturb the wetlands," Cadden said, adding that she also is concerned about potential development along the alternate route. "I think it's a total waste to study the bypass if state environment officials aren't going to approve it."
But Democratic Councilman Thomas W. Redmond, who represents Pasadena, said the $7 million widening project should not be funded at the expense of the bypass study.
"This is totally unacceptable," he said. "I'm against it."
Traffic on Mountain Road is severely congested during morning and evening rush hours.
For many of the 27,000 motorists who use the thoroughfare daily, is the only way in and out of the Pasadena peninsula.
State Highway Administration officials estimate 8,000 more cars will travel the road daily by 2020.
The county's commitment to widening the road would be a positive signal to SHA officials, said agency spokeswoman Valerie Burnette Edgar.
"Any sign from the county helps the state realize what the road priorities are," she said. "This would have an influence."
Larry Elliott, SHA's assistant district engineer for Anne Arundel, said the widening project could begin in 1999 and take about two years.
But Redmond argued that widening the road only to Lake Shore Drive would do little to ease the congestion caused by the traffic light at Lake Shore Drive and Mountain Road.
"That's not solving the problem," he said. "That's where the problem begins. If you want to solve the problem, you have to go all the way down to South Carolina Avenue."
In that case, highway officials would be forced to install traffic lights at Woods Road, North Shore Road, South Carolina Avenue and in front of Lake Shore Elementary School, Redmond said.
"So what have we gained? We haven't gained a thing," he said. "We're not going to improve traffic flow one bit."
Redmond also said that only the County Council can transfer money in the capital budget and that he would vote against the transfer and try to persuade his council colleagues to do the same.
Pub Date: 10/13/96