New routes are raising speed concerns in Carroll

South county residents seek safe connector roads

June 30, 1999|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

In South Carroll, where traffic clogs the major arteries, residents welcome connector roads but not the speeders they draw to their neighborhoods.

As long-planned road connections are completed through subdivisions in the most populated area of the county, officials are hearing more complaints about speeding.

"Something needs to be done to make these roads less attractive to speeders," said J. Michael Evans, county director of public works, in a meeting yesterday with the county commissioners.

Many residents are calling for increased ticketing of offenders and traffic-calming devices, such as speed bumps and stop signs.

"Whenever a roadway becomes a thruway, there are safety concerns," said Commissioner Robin Bartlett Frazier. "We want to take a look at options that we know will work. There is no reason to have a thruway, if you have speed humps on it."

Evans has letters from residents insisting on police patrols for all the new internal roads, which "of course, we can't provide," he said. South Carroll relies on resident troopers for its policing needs.

A state trooper who tickets on a regular basis can be the most effective deterrent, Frazier said. She also prefers painting center lines on the streets.

"How many more ideas are there?" she asked. "Let's try some we know work."

Johnsville Road has recently opened onto Route 32 south of Freedom Avenue, allowing motorists to avoid the troublesome highway intersection in Eldersburg. MacBeth Way soon will connect Ridge Road to Route 32 through several neighborhoods, giving motorists south of Liberty Road an alternative to the highway.

"People recognize that the MacBeth Way connection will happen, but they want to know what to do to slow traffic," said Evans. "There are a lot of driveways onto that road, and once it opens, there will be a lot more traffic in both directions."

Ronald Soter, a Ridge Road resident, invited the commissioners "to spend an hour at my home and observe the traffic mood."

He assured them radar would not be necessary to determine which motorists are ignoring posted speed limits.

Evans took Soter's letter and several others, which he called fairly representative, to the meeting.

"In all of our evaluations of the proposed modifications to roads in the Freedom area, the safety of our neighborhoods is of primary importance, more important than traffic flow," Phil Bennett, chairman of the Freedom Area Citizens Council, wrote June 16.

The council, which serves as a liaison between residents and county government, urged the county to design safety features, including traffic circles and narrowing roads, into its construction plans.

The suggestions can be implemented and would not add significant costs to the road projects, Evans said.

"None of the concerns would result in specific capital projects," he said.

He asked homeowner groups to work closely with law enforcement and county planners on traffic problems. He would like "people with strong feelings and with expertise" to help develop traffic strategies for the neighborhoods.

Pub Date: 6/30/99

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