New island jams traffic Irritation: A median on Reisterstown Road appears to do little except bruise tires and crowd motorists.

The Intrepid Commuter

August 10, 1998

THOUSANDS of commuters in western Baltimore County are puzzled that the State Highway Administration allowed construction of a traffic island on busy Reisterstown Road, where it intersects McDonogh Road.

The concrete island was built by the developer of the Avalon subdivision and it appears to do little to ease congestion, only baffling drivers and bruising the tires on their vehicles.

Intrepid One visited the isle last week. You can't help noticing how the thing was ill-fitted into the middle of the busy four-lane road. Bright orange cones surrounding the site don't help.

It seems the island was installed to accommodate the nearby housing development. But your wheelster believes it's just another irritation along one of the area's worst roads.

Others agree.

"The island causes a backup all day for several blocks," says Dave Abramovitz, an Owings Mills commuter who, unfortunately, must travel Reisterstown Road daily. "What they've done is taken two lanes, and chopped about 4 feet off one of them and smashed the other ones into it, and it just backs up all day."

Just what that area needs -- another backup.

SHA officials explained last week that the structure, which they call a median, was built after they gave the developer an access permit. The developer is also to install a left turn lane there as well.

Don't think the island mess is going to end in Garrison. Intrepid's sources say to expect another island on busy York Road, near the clogged intersection of Shawan and Paper Mill roads in Hunt Valley. Just what that area needs, too -- another backup.

Commuters say traffic light skips amber warning stage

Your wheelster last week received complaints about the busy intersection at Dulaney Valley Road and Hampton Estate Lane, where 40-year-old Diane Bredar was killed in a collision Tuesday morning.

Commuter Marcy Sands said she has witnessed the traffic light at Dulaney Valley Road go from green to red -- without an amber warning light.

Sands described an incident about 8 a.m. July 27, when she was startled while driving through the intersection.

"As I went under the light, it went from being green to being red. As I moved through the intersection, traffic stopped at the red light (on Hampton Estates Lane) came right out at me," Sands said. "At the time, it seemed I thought they were jumping the light and they thought I was running the light."

Bredar was killed when her minivan was broadsided as she turned from Hampton onto Dulaney Valley. She was hit by a truck that allegedly ran a red light.

Bill Toohey, spokesman for the Baltimore County police, said he had "heard reports" about the light malfunctioning at that intersection. On Friday, Jim Rice, a county traffic engineer, told Intrepid that workers had inspected the light after the accident and "found that the signal is operational."

Intrepid seeks stories from other drivers who might have witnessed a traffic signal malfunction at Dulaney Valley Road and Hampton Estates Lane. Leave your name and phone number. Contact: 410-783-1800, Ext. 4305 or e-mail at

Rookie driver warnings could signal the future

Kudos to the state's Motor Vehicle Administration for its new "rookie driver" program -- a voluntary monthlong pilot program that uses bright magnetic signs to identify new drivers.

Modeled after programs in some European cities, the MVA's rookie program is the first of its kind in the United States.

The signs will alert other drivers to gently pass vehicles being driven by novices who are mostly teen-agers -- part of the agency's push to strengthen new-driver laws and restrictions.

Such signs could be the start of something.

Perhaps District Court judges can force some of the state's bad drivers to post warning signs on their vehicles after being ticketed for acts of aggression or stupidity on the road.


Tweet-tweet update: Intrepid's been flooded with news about those chirping intersections -- where bird calls alert blind pedestrians that it's safe to cross. Such singing corners may also be found in Salt Lake City, Pittsburgh and even Hanover, Pa., in addition to Towson. Note to commuters using the Fort McHenry Tunnel -- look for "commuter only" fast lanes to open in late November as Maryland Transportation Authority officials work to install electronic toll taking devices for a late-fall debut.

Keep in touch

You can mail, send by fax, wire or call in questions or comments to Intrepid One. Here's how: Mail letters -- The Sun, 109 Allegheny Ave., Towson 21204. Fax -- 410-494-2916. E-Mail: Call Sundial, The Baltimore Sun's telephone information service. 410-783-1800, enter Ext. 4305. From Anne Arundel County, dial 410-268-7736.

Pub Date: 8/10/98

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