Tempers growing short over drivers' shortcut Danger: Residents on Old Harford Road are fed up with rude, speeding drivers who brazenly use their street to bypass congestion on Harford Road.

The Intrepid Commuter

March 10, 1997

THERE WAS A TIME when Old Harford Road was a rather quiet residential street, as evidenced by its two-lane nature and rows of tidy houses.

But today, the road is used as a cut-through to locations in Parkville, Perry Hall and even Towson. In fact, it's a great shortcut to avoid the traffic of its congested twin sister, Harford Road.

And lately, drivers have become brazen on Old Harford. They speed, pass illegally and grow impatient when residents of those neat little houses try to pull into and out of their driveways.

"This is a plea for courtesy," says Rick Erline, who lives in the 7400 block of Old Harford. "There are drivers who have passed our vehicle by driving up and over the sidewalk. Excessive speed, impatience and overall discourteous attitude are heightening my concern for overall safety for my family, my neighbors and myself."

Lately, Erline says, he has witnessed such extreme rudeness while navigating Old Harford that he is starting to fear coming home.

In particular, Erline asks Intrepid One whether he has any rights as a driver to enter and exit his own driveway.

Clearly, he does. This is a basic human right that should not be ceded to any aggressive driver behind the wheel of another car -- no matter how loud his horn is blasting.

To help, Intrepid alerted Baltimore County police Cpl. Robert Czawlytko of the Eastern Traffic Division to the problem last week. Czawlytko pledged to investigate the matter and post an officer along the street to monitor the residents' woes.

We'll check back on this one in a month.

After a year, traffic light is still not activated

A reader named Ed faxed a query last week about an additional traffic light that has been installed at 25th and St. Paul streets for nearly a year -- without being activated.

It's the sort of thing that bothers many drivers who pass this intersection daily and wonder just how much the folly has cost taxpayers.

"How long does it take before they are put into use?" Ed asks.

A quick call to City Hall broke the logjam of this controversy. Department of Public Works spokesman Kurt L. Kocher promised to dispatch crews to the scene within two weeks to plug in the new traffic light.

Kocher complained to your wheelster about making such an irritating query, saying public works crews have been busy with other, more pressing matters around town -- like snow removal.

"They have a working signal at the intersection," Kocher said. "There are other priorities taking precedence. This is a routine maintenance operation -- it's not a priority. It's a nonstory."

Hopefully, Signal-gate will soon be resolved.

Light rail extensions expected to boost ridership

Did you know: There are 24 light rail stops along the 22.5-mile commuter rail system from Glen Burnie to Timonium, and almost 6 million passengers rode in the cars in 1995. Future light rail extensions to Hunt Valley, Pennsylvania Station and Baltimore-Washington International Airport will cost $106 million and are expected to open by fall. It's estimated that 36,000 daily passengers will use the system by the turn of the century.

Shortcuts

You may have noticed what seemed like a miniforest of trees chopped down along the Beltway last week. The hundreds of trees were toppled and then piled in heaps to make way for new road shoulders and sound walls, said State Highway Administration spokeswoman Erin Henson. It was a sad monument to the progress of the Beltway widening project. Today and March 17, northbound Jones Falls Expressway traffic will be reduced to one lane between North Avenue and Eager Street from 10 p.m. until 5: 30 a.m. so painters can give the steel bridges over Calvert and St. Paul streets a new coat.

Mass Transit Administration officials will investigate relocating an awkwardly placed bus stop at Belair Road and Frankford Avenue, where buses routinely jam traffic at the intersection. Patrons of a nearby bank and shopping center have been frustrated by the mess.

Pub Date: 3/10/97

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