Residents demand measures to slow Monroe Avenue traffic Homeowners complain of speeding, accidents

September 09, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Monroe Avenue, a quick route away from congestion on Liberty Road in Eldersburg, is facing increased traffic, speeding and accidents, including a double fatality three months ago.

Average speed is about 37 mph on the 1,000-foot stretch between Liberty and Ridge roads. The posted limit is 25 mph.

Residents' persistent requests for speed controls became louder after two teen-agers died when the car in which they were riding went out of control and struck a tree near Monroe and Sherryl avenues June 26.

Nearly 40 people, about 95 percent of the homeowners, signed a petition requesting "traffic-calming devices" and stronger enforcement of a ban on truck traffic.

Many of them also attended a meeting last night with the County Commissioners, one of whom lives on the road.

"I have lived there 35 years, and I know the condition of that road," said Commissioner Richard T. Yates.

The majority of the residents favor the installation of four speed bumps along the road. The cost is about $8,000 for permanent bumps that would be built into the pavement.

"We have had 12 major accidents on the road," said Nimrod Davis, who lives near the scene of the fatal accident. "Eight-thousand dollars is a small amount to pay to save lives."

Davis organized the petition drive but did not ask Yates to sign.

The county has created "a traffic monstrosity" in the Eldersburg area by trying to reduce traffic on major arteries such as Routes 26 and 32 and directing it to side streets such as Monroe Avenue, Davis said.

"Our street has been turned into a thoroughfare rather than a quiet residential street," he said.

The county installed speed bumps on the north side of Monroe a few years ago and has seen a decrease in speeding, Davis said.

The county is revising its growth plan for South Carroll and reviewing traffic problems in an effort to develop a better road structure. Monroe Avenue will eventually connect to Route 32 north of the bridge at Liberty Reservoir.

"The county is not doing its job in finishing connector roads like Piney Ridge Parkway and MacBeth Way," said Charles Stanley of Lake Circle Drive. "Let the roads all disintegrate and nobody will do more than 25 on them."

All the proposed options -- speed bumps, rumble strips, striping to delineate lanes, even a $25,000 concrete island -- may not deter speeders, said J. Michael Evans, county director of public works.

"We can do all kinds of things, but in the end, we are dependent on rational drivers," said Evans. "Whatever we do will irritate someone somewhere along the line."

Traffic on Monroe increased when the county installed a signal at Liberty Road about three years ago.

Pub Date: 9/09/98

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