Monroe Ave. to get help on traffic woes Commissioners OK striping, speed bumps

September 10, 1998|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Monroe Avenue in Eldersburg, the site of a double fatality in June, will get relief from traffic woes with striping to delineate lanes and speed bumps to deter lead-foot motorists.

The County Commissioners -- one of whom lives on Monroe -- debated options for nearly an hour yesterday before voting 2-1 to install four speed bumps and to paint center and curb lines on the road. Cost of work on the street, which motorists use as a quick route from congestion on Liberty Road, will be about $8,000.

Monroe Avenue residents met with the commissioners Tuesday and urged action to alleviate traffic problems along a 1,000-foot stretch from Liberty Road south to Ridge Road. Several accidents have residents concerned for their safety.

Many claimed the installation of a traffic signal at Liberty Road and Monroe increased traffic on the once quiet, tree-lined avenue, where the speed limit is 25 mph.

"Monroe became a shortcut from Liberty to Ridge Road, including a lot of late-night traffic trying to avoid congestion and lights on Liberty," said J. Michael Evans, county director of public works.

"The textbook solution is striping and warning signs," said Evans. "Speed humps are basically inverted pot holes. We do not normally do things to impede traffic."

For about an hour Tuesday, commissioners listened to complaints from residents, who said they are continually replacing mailboxes and shrubs destroyed by errant vehicles.

"I have had people fly through my yard, and I have had the front end of my car taken off while it was in my driveway," said Judy Geilfuss.

Commissioner W. Benjamin Brown said the "textbook" that Evans referred to was probably printed 30 years ago before speeding became such a problem. Striping was too mild a deterrent, Brown said. He urged several options: speed bumps, striping and a three-way stop sign at Sherryl Avenue, the site of a June fatal accident in which two teen-age girls were killed. The girls died when the car in which they were riding went out of control and struck a tree.

"The danger we are facing everywhere is speed," said Brown. "I am amazed at the people who refuse to slow down, even around curves. Our main emphasis has to be slowing traffic down."

Commissioner Donald I. Dell would not support the expense of building four 4-inch-high, 12-foot-wide speed bumps.

"Let's do the stripes and monitor," said Dell. "We will leave it open for further traffic calming, if needed."

Detouring speeders from Monroe would only send them to other side roads, Dell said. He expects to hear similar requests from residents of other problem roads. Another residents association has asked for traffic calming devices on MacBeth Way, a road planned as a connector to Route 32 in Eldersburg. "We have to take a serious look at the entire [South Carroll] area and let our planning department give us options," Dell said. "For Monroe, my preference is to act in stages and wait for the results."

Commissioner Richard T. Yates, a Monroe Avenue resident for 35 years, broke the deadlock, but only after Brown dropped his insistence on the stop sign.

"I know the folks living there and most affected by this," Yates said.

Yates said he does not feel traffic calming devices will help.

"I don't see the sense to any controls," said Yates. "People are going to speed anyway. I would prefer having a cop sitting there all the time."

Pub Date: 9/10/98

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