The key to a secret exit Loop: Motorists wanting to leave Northern Parkway for Perring Parkway better be equipped with X-ray vision, because that's the only way they'll find the hidden link.

Intrepid Commuter

March 31, 1997

DRIVING ALONG Northern Parkway can be challenging -- especially at rush hour. But just try to find the exit onto Perring Parkway. In fact, it would take X-ray vision to find this loop.

Herb Rosenberg, who has been driving on Northern Parkway for 25 years, complained to Intrepid One that the exit is unmarked.

An investigation into the matter showed that, indeed, there is no sign -- drivers must rely on instinct or experience to find the right path.

Those familiar with quirky Baltimore roads know there's only one way to get from Northern to Perring -- and then only when traveling east and intending to head north: Hang a right at the barnlike apartment buildings.

This secret "exit" is really Pioneer Drive -- a residential feeder road that sends commuters through Northern Village Apartments (vacancy available, with one month's free rent) and past Northern High School to Crozier Drive, which intersects with northbound Perring Parkway.

The people who built this were called engineers.

And for those unfortunates who are expecting an intersection of two major routes, there's not even a sign to point the way.

City bureaucrats were surprised when informed about the lack of an exit sign last week.

They pledged to install a marker ASAP, or as soon as the city's sign shop can manufacture one.

Are those odd letters signposts for aliens?

That's what many callers are asking your fearless wheelster after seeing mysterious markings reminiscent of alphabet soup macaroni along the shoulders of state roadways and interstates.

The markings -- resembling arrows, a "V" or a "Y" -- have cropped up nearly everywhere, including Interstate 83 all the way to the Mason-Dixon Line. They have perplexed drivers who wonder what kind of purpose the symbols serve.

A State Highway Administration spokeswoman said the markings are being used for aerial photography to make maps. For instance, on I-83, engineers plan to replace a bridge by 2001 and have painted the odd markers near the site to assist in the plans -- especially monitoring the seasonal flow of a nearby stream.

Sign along busy road voices opinion loudly

The thousands of commuters who daily traverse Reisterstown Road in Northwest Baltimore may notice a businessman's bold attempt at editorializing -- in fact, it's hard to miss.

On the front lawn of his small upholstery business in the 6800 block, Arnold Begleiter has posted two signs endorsing the death penalty:

"If we execute the killers, they will not kill again. Guaranteed," blasts one sign. The other, in patriotic red, white and blue paint, asks, "Had enough killings? Now let's gas the bastards."

Begleiter described himself as a "law and order man." He explained that he put up the signs 3 1/2 years ago in an attempt to "get people thinking."

"This is for people who senselessly kill somebody, kills them for their own pleasure. I personally feel they should be executed," Begleiter said.

He said he is not a victim of crime, but simply fed up with the continual killings in Baltimore. He said the death penalty is the only way to punish killers and chose to notify all passers-by of his stand.

"I feel senseless killings are all of our responsibility," Begleiter said. "I can understand robbing someone. But today, to point a gun, rob somebody and then blow their head off -- that's capital punishment."

Response to his signs has been positive, said Begleiter, who acknowledges toting a gun for protection, adding that many strangers have entered his basement business to shake his hand for taking such a public stand.

Only once did he receive a strange response, Begleiter said. "That was when some kids, aged 10 or 11, saw the signs and the guns painted on them and came in, asked me if they could buy a gun in here. They couldn't read!"

Shortcut

The average cost to drive a 1997 Ford Taurus is about 45 cents per mile, a survey by the American Automobile Association recently concluded. The figure represents driving 15,000 miles each year and includes fuel costs of $1.34 per gallon, automobile insurance and depreciation.

Pub Date: 3/31/97

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