SHA shapes proposals for Bellona, N. Charles Circle: The Lutherville intersection near the Interstate 695 ramp, often the site of congestion, may soon be improved. A roundabout is one option under consideration.

The Intrepid Commuter

July 06, 1998

THE COMPLEX corner of Bellona Avenue and North Charles Street is a holy place.

This is where cynical drivers instantly get religion upon safe passage through what is generally known around Lutherville as the intersection from hell.

Last week, a midsize car lay on its hood after a horrid rush-hour accident at the intersection that also gives access to Nightingale Way. Baltimore County police, reacting to the backup of nearly 100 cars in all directions, closed the ramp leading from Bellona to the outer loop of Interstate 695, causing even greater tension.

State Highway Administration engineers in charge of the mess acknowledged they have been studying the corner for more than a year. Last week, they told Intrepid there finally may be relief.

It's called a roundabout.

Look for that to be one solution proposed at a meeting July 14 between SHA officials and community leaders, though no details have emerged about what form the roundabout might take. Another possible answer, though less popular, is a traffic light -- but SHA spokesman David Buck told your wheelster that such a signal could pose even more problems.

"We want to do something to improve that intersection," Buck pledged.

Fix-it work will commence at Bellona and Charles after the meeting, Buck promised, with December a target date for completion.

Pedestrians must be on toes in Towson roundabout

While on the subject of roundabouts, there's a couple of bugaboos at the new one in Towson.

It seems pedestrians -- and some drivers -- are unwelcome in the boomerang-shaped carousel at York, Dulaney Valley and Joppa roads, according to complaints recently received by Intrepid.

Listen to Bob Konkol, a retiree who lives in a high-rise near the roundabout and likes to walk around Towson: "It's impossible to cross motorists speed up on you when you're trying to cross. This is the story of the year -- a travesty."

Another complaint comes from Bob Smyth Sr., a Timonium jeweler who circles the roundabout daily on his way to work.

Smyth says shrubbery placed by SHA landscapers at the York Road entrance to the loop is a nuisance because it blocks the view of many drivers. He once "dinged" the bumper of a car ahead while slowing to merge safely.

The shrubbery "causes considerable delay," Smyth said last week. "It's a problem, but one that is easily rectified -- just take the hedges down."

That's precisely what is going to happen, SHA officials said last week, acknowledging their evergreen goof.

As for the pedestrian problem, don't look for an easy answer. Help on that level must come from drivers -- many of them dealing with utter confusion at the location, soon to be a year old.

Caught by traffic cameras? Intrepid wants your story

Intrepid is in search of stories from Howard County relating to the cameras stationed at some red lights. If you've been busted by Big Brother, Intrepid wants to hear from you. Call, fax or e-mail your saga to the addresses listed below. Stories may be published.


Three prime parking spaces in Fells Point will soon be returned to the community by the city's Department of Public Works after a small valet service went out of business last month. The spaces, in the 1700 block of Thames St., were reserved for City Valet employees. Since the valet service went belly up, the restricted spaces have been fodder for meter maids, who have ticketed many poor souls. Look for road construction this week in Carroll County at Middleburg, Johnsville and Sandymount roads. Murkle and Tyrone roads will undergo patch work. Driver beware. The Mass Transit Administration will sell a $25 light rail/bus pass for the Baltimore Ravens season. The pass, good for the 11 home games in the bird's new Camden Yards nest, is available by calling 410-539-5000. A $50 pass for park and ride express bus service is also available.

Pub Date: 7/06/98

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