Residents cool to widening of busy Montgomery Road Public works proposals peril yards, they say

January 13, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Almost all of the 75 Elkridge residents at a public hearing last night agreed on the need to solve traffic problems on Montgomery Road.

What they couldn't agree on was a solution.

"It's time for a change, but this doesn't make anybody feel good," said Una Richardson, who could lose her 125-year-old house if Howard County decides -- as one proposal seeks -- to widen Montgomery Road. "Sometimes you have to do something for the greater good."

Countered Brian Wilson, who also lives on Montgomery: "I don't hear anybody who lives on Montgomery Road complaining about [traffic]. I just don't see why we need this now."

The residents participated in an information meeting organized by officials of the Howard County Department of Public Works to determine how to relieve congestion on Montgomery Road.

In recent years, the winding, two-lane road has been transformed into a major thoroughfare between U.S. 1 and Route 103.

Elizabeth Calia, chief of the Division of Transportation Projects and Watershed Management in the public works agency, told residents that a consultant hired by the county estimated that the number of cars on Montgomery Road is expected to increase from the current 15,000 a day to nearly 19,000 by 2020.

Calia pointed out that residents on Montgomery have to wait for traffic to thin to get out of their driveways and that limited vision poses a threat to drivers.

"It's a pain in the neck to [travel] on Montgomery Road," Calia said. "If we do nothing, the traffic's going to get worse than it is today."

Public works officials have proposed widening the 24-foot-wide Montgomery between Marshalee Drive and U.S. 1. One proposal would add a middle lane for left turns by widening the road 6 feet on each side; another proposal would widen it 12 feet on each side to make a four-lane road.

Both proposals have been cooly received by residents, who are concerned about losing their front yards.

"Everyone's going to be encroached [on] by this," said Frank Harman, who has lived on nearby Harman Avenue for 65 years. "Traffic is horrible, but this is ridiculous."

Pub Date: 1/13/98

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