Police to increase vigilance at bus stops Alert: With school resuming, authorities remind drivers to stop when a school bus hTC prepares to drop off passengers.

The Intrepid Commuter

August 24, 1998

As school traffic returns to our streets this week, Maryland State Police have offered a refresher for drivers.

State law says that when a school bus is stopped with its red lights flashing, vehicles must stop and remain stopped until the bus is in motion. Failure to do so could cost you $270 and two points. [The rule does not apply to drivers on a divided highway, if the bus is on the other side of the road.]

"Children represent a significant proportion of pedestrians killed and injured in traffic crashes," said Col. David B. Mitchell, state police superintendent. "They are particularly vulnerable because they are exposed to traffic threats that exceed their cognitive, developmental, behavioral, physical and [sensory] abilities. This is exacerbated by the fact that parents overestimate their children's pedestrian skills."

Mitchell added that for children, often the walk to and from the bus stop -- and the wait for the bus -- poses a risk. Pedestrian-related injuries are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths among children between ages 5 and 14.

So look for state troopers to step up vigilance near bus stops

and in school zones beginning this week.

Landmark emerges as I-695 trouble spot

As final touches go on the $55 million widening of Interstate 695 between Towson and Pikesville, a new inner-loop landmark has emerged as a potential problem spot.

The Beltway's extreme right lane suddenly ends just after the Falls Road Bridge, as the exit-only lane for Interstate 83 south.

This situation is certain to cause kamikaze-like driving patterns as commuters are forced to dodge back into the mainstream of traffic as the lanes squeeze from four to three at the bridge that spans the Jones Falls Expressway. Other drivers may ride in the exit lane as long as possible before bullying their way into the Beltway lane at the last possible second, a maneuver Intrepid has witnessed with dismay at the Beltway's intersection with I-83 north on the outer loop.

Bob Cantales, a Social Security Administration employee who carpools on the Beltway each day, is already concerned about the new, broader inner loop's shortcomings.

He's observed: "A situation will exist which has traffic merging from four [to] three lanes at the bottom of a hill where the lanes curve to the left a bottleneck similar to the one that currently exists near the inner loop at Reisterstown Road will be created."

State Highway Administration officials can help by placing warning signs at strategic locations. But that won't stop the cowboys from cutting in.

"This will be an accident waiting to happen," Cantales warns.

Driver beware.

Left turns tricky on Cold Spring Lane

Eastbound Cold Spring Lane at Harford Road can be a tricky place if you want to make a left turn.

"Usually only one car can turn per light change," says Darleen Hall, a daily commuter at the spot. "I know from experience -- I have sat through three or four lights in the afternoon-early evening just to get home."

Hall complains that the area's mini-development boom with a new Pep Boys, Rite Aid and Safeway -- and a good old standby, McDonald's, at one of the intersection's corners -- has added to this daily turning angst. She's on a mission to petition the city's Department of Public Works to add a turning arrow to the intersection so those headed north on Harford may get there.

"With more developments and more consumers coming into the area, traffic has quadrupled in the past six months. This is ridiculous. Why can't we get an arrow?"

With any luck, city Department of Public Works officials will add the signal to the intersection -- as soon as possible. Such a gesture will show that city traffic engineers are keeping pace with the commercial additions to Northeast Baltimore, near Lake Montebello.

"We will look at it and remedy the situation," pledged department spokesman Bob Murrow last week.

Said the frustrated Hall: "In this fast-paced world people have better things to do with their time than to sit through three to four lights at one intersection per day."

Shortcuts

Mark your calendar -- the long-awaited ribbon cutting on the new Boston Street, chic Canton's main artery that has been the site of excruciating road construction and gridlock for two years, is scheduled at 11 a.m. Sept. 3 at Boston and Montford Ave. Downtown drivers should take note of the bounty of botanicals in place near the Inner Harbor. Workers from the city's Department of Public Works have been busy lately digging the roadside gardens that contain nearly 1,200 mums, 2,300 day lilies, 3,000 tulip bulbs and 600 junipers.

Keep in touch

You can mail, 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: Intrepialtsun.com

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: 8/24/98

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