Wilde Lake road to get traffic devices

Concrete diverter islands designed to slow speeders

January 26, 1999|By Jeff Grossman | Jeff Grossman,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Drivers who speed along West Running Brook Road in Wilde Lake will be slowed by traffic-calming devices beginning as early as June.

The Howard County Traffic Engineering Department plans to begin construction of traffic diverter islands, or roundabouts, at the intersections with Good Hours Place, Snowy Reach, Moonfall Way, Cloudburst Hill, Stoneboat Row, Darlington Road, Oven Bird Green, Downwest Ride, Hermit Path and the Running Brook Neighborhood Center parking lot.

The county is also planning to narrow West Running Brook Road from 28 feet to 22 feet in June because of the increasingly noticeable destruction of the road by tree roots.

Residents along the road and its adjoining cul-de-sacs approved the traffic-calming plan, which is meant to discourage speeders from outside the neighborhood.

Many motorists use West Running Brook as a connector between Little Patuxent Parkway and Route 108.

Negotiations on plan

The county and representatives of the community completed negotiations over the traffic plan in early November, and the community began voting on it a week later.

Under county policy, the plan remained on the table until two-thirds of the residents had voted. The vote ended this month, with 155 of the 190 residents who participated voting in favor.

No strict timetable has been established, but county officials believe construction will begin in June.

The county plans to install a raised crosswalk in front of Running Brook Elementary School.

At each cul-de-sac entrance, the county will apply textured asphalt painted to resemble bricks for aesthetic reasons and to create a bumpy surface to warn speeding motorists.

The plan is a step in the right direction, said Joshua Feldmesser, chairman of the West Running Brook Traffic Committee, but "there is still a long way to go in this process, for many residents have brought up concerns that still need to be addressed."

Feldmesser said many residents feel that narrowing the street is not appropriate. "We are trying to look for alternative solutions," he said. "Many people don't want them to pull up the street or sidewalk."

Tree expert hired

The county has hired Thomas Smiley, a tree expert from North Carolina, to evaluate ways of redesigning the street to prevent further damage from trees.

"The expert will be able to determine if the trees will continue to grow and damage the street," said Andrew Daneker, chief of the county Bureau of Highways.

Another concern of residents is the possible negative effect the traffic devices on the aesthetics of the neighborhood.

"The roundabouts are basically huge slabs of concrete in the road," Feldmesser said. "We had suggested that maybe they be painted to look like the textured brick entrances, but the county said that might not be feasible."

Despite those concerns, Feldmesser said, he thinks the majority of the residents are enthusiastic about the plan.

"Unsafe drivers, most from outside the neighborhood, are putting residents and their children in danger, and I think the residents have finally had it," he said "Many even see this plan as a way of taking back the community."

Pub Date: 1/26/99

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