Council votes to create more spaces for parking

Dulaney students allowed to park on Treherne Road

April 04, 2000|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

Students who drive to Dulaney High School gained more parking options last night, when the Baltimore County Council voted to allow cars on a neighborhood street, despite objections from residents.

The council agreed to create 78 parking spaces on Treherne Road, which runs along the southern edge of the campus, by removing a residents-only restriction for day hours during the school year.

The move is a stopgap solution in a fierce debate over parking near the school. It's an issue that has created deep fissures between students and residents who live near one of the county's top-performing high schools.

Some area homeowners are angry over the growing number of students who drive to school. Teens should be encouraged to ride the bus instead, they said.

Students countered that many need cars to get to after-school jobs, or to get home after sports or other activities that keep them on campus into the evening.

"We're a blue-ribbon high school," said Laura Van Veen, 17, a student government representative who testified at a recent council work session on the issue. "Everybody does something. Parents force their kids to do things after school."

The change, debated for months, offers a partial solution to the parking needs of Dulaney students. About 500 of the school's 1,700 students are registered to drive to school, jockeying for 184 on-campus spaces.

The rest park on the streets. Padonia Road, a busy two-lane thoroughfare in front of the school, accommodates most of the overflow. It's not uncommon for parked cars to stretch nearly a mile on Padonia, and parents and students worry about the risk of crossing the road during twilight.

Police logged 11 accidents on Padonia Road near the school in 1998.

But residents such as Harold W. Thompson Jr., who lives on Gainsford Road where it meets Treherne, argued that allowing parking on Treherne might not improve things.

Thompson said parked cars will pose a hazard for pedestrians, and that opening the street to parking will steer accident-prone novice drivers into their neighborhood.

"The issue is safety," said Thompson. "This is not an issue pitting the school against the neighborhood."

County and school officials said adding more parking spaces on campus would be too expensive and would take space from athletic fields.

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