Bumpy roads lie ahead for lead-footed drivers Safety: Baltimore transportation officials are installing speed "humps" at several locations to make an impression on scofflaws.

The Intrepid Commuter

November 11, 1996

YOU MAY HAVE to hang onto your coffee when you travel Parkside Drive. City transportation officials have installed speed "humps" -- the latest hammer that urban and suburban dwellers have in their battle against the lead foot.

Residents of the quiet, tree-lined street in Northeast Baltimore that borders Herring Run Park got so fed up with the speeders that they petitioned the Department of Public Works for relief.

After a traffic study, engineers decided to install five humps and numerous signs warning drivers of the rough ride to slow the traffic.

"There still is speeding on Parkside, but it's just not as bad," Lisa Dunlow, an 18-year-old Parksider, told Intrepid last week.

Speed humps seem to be rising on many Baltimore streets: Old Frederick Road from Athol Avenue to Monastery Road, Nottingham Road from Edmondson Avenue to Athol Gate Road, Briarclift Road at Brookwood Road, Winans Way at Hunting Way.

And humps are being considered for 15 other road locations and seven city alleys.

A public works spokesman said campaigns to install humps originate in community groups, which send letters requesting action to Public Works Director George G. Balog.

After a traffic study is conducted, engineers recommend whether the street needs a new design to slow traffic -- a designation reached if 85 percent of traffic is observed traveling at 10 miles per hour or more above the posted limit.

Residents must then petition Balog for the humps.

There's one catch, though. While the Parkside humps have slowed speeders, they have deterred fire trucks and police cruisers cutting between Harford and Belair roads.

Still, no complaints have rolled in.

The bumps "are very well liked by the community, and it's another reasonable tool we can use to slow down traffic," said Kurt L. Kocher, a public works spokesman.

To get humps rolling in your city neighborhood, call transportation officials at 396-6812.

Technology accelerates to keep up with traffic

Ever wonder what the car of the future might look like?

Here are data from the Third Annual World Congress on Intelligent Transportation held recently in Orlando, Fla.

Collision-avoidance devices, navigation sensors and platooned vehicles linked by magnetic fields or radar to prevent wrecks are on the drawing board from researchers at the National Automated Highway Consortium.

The goal, researchers say, is to make traffic flow more efficient. Meanwhile, predictions are that during the next decade, we'll see a 50 percent increase in traffic.

"Americans lose 2 billion hours per year to gridlock," said outgoing U.S. Transportation Secretary Federico F. Pena.

"Congestion costs our economy $48 billion a year," he said. "We have 6.5 million car crashes every year."

Pena said the dream is to make the highways safer with the cars of the future.

"If we could warn drivers that they're too close to cars, and brakes could be automatically applied if we could warn drivers they're going too fast for a curve ahead and if drivers could detect cars in blind spots when they're changing lanes, if we put in those three crash-avoidance technologies, our initial analysis indicates that we could prevent 17 percent of all crashes. That's 1 million crashes every year."

All this is a pipe dream today, though. Experts say such Star Trek cars are light years away.

Shortcuts

As tres chic Bibelot opens in Timonium Crossing on Nov. 20, residents of the county's northern suburbs wonder if bibliophiles eager to get there and browse the 100,000 titles will drive as if their heads are stuck in a book.

Of particular concern to faithful Intrepid reader and Timonium resident Angelique Pefinis-Newport is the left turn into the Crossing from westbound Timonium Road -- a feat now accomplished through three turn lanes.

Bibelot owner Brian Weese said he doesn't expect a problem, but added that time will tell.

Pub Date: 11/11/96

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