City, county try to fight traffic jam They would settle for transportation to Owings Mills Metro

Burdened 140 corridor

Mayor is pragmatic: 'Buses we could have tomorrow,' he says

May 05, 1997|By Sheridan Lyons | Sheridan Lyons,SUN STAFF

The planning and zoning commissions for Carroll County and the city of Westminster sat down last week to work out conflicting ideas for managing growth along the Route 140 corridor.

Instead, they heard a proposal from Westminster Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan that might get at the heart of the problem -- reducing traffic on the burdened highway.

Toward the end of the two-hour meeting Thursday night, Yowan asked the county planning commission for help getting bus service to the Owings Mills Metro station.

"It seems ludicrous that we get thousands of cars going back and forth to the Metro station every day, and there's no bus service from here to there," he said. "That's something, from the people I've talked to, that we would have a pretty good chance of getting."

After "decades" of lobbying the state to build a Route 140 ZTC bypass in Westminster, Yowan said getting commuter bus service to and from the Metro rail station is a realistic possibility.

When someone mentioned lobbying for a light rail line, Yowan replied: "Buses we could have tomorrow."

Phillip J. Rovang, the county's director of planning and development, said the state is undertaking a study of the whole Route 140 corridor. "Traffic counts on 140 are higher than projected [and] we're talking about aught years before we see any 140 bypass," he said.

The meeting -- one of the county planning panel's series of traveling meetings with municipal officials -- centered on the approval of a restaurant within a mile of the city lim

its on Route 140 at Gorsuch Road. City officials insist the intersection is too dangerous.

Thomas B. Beyard, Westminster's director of planning and public works, said he had twice written to the planning board asking for more time to ascertain the impact the project would have on traffic, but the county commission approved the plan by a 4-2 vote Jan. 21.

Westminster planning commission member Jerry L. Toadvine said it was important to focus on the overall relationship between the city and county, rather than one point of contention.

Yowan asked that the city be notified of zoning cases near Westminster's borders.

"If you have any suggestions for how to improve the process," said county commission chairman Thomas G. Hiltz, "I think we'd be interested in hearing those."

Pub Date: 5/05/97

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