Capital city's gridlock

Annapolis: As the Sept. 11 primary approaches, city needs to find a detour to its traffic woes.

September 01, 2001

WHEN THE General Assembly meets each year, all roads lead to Annapolis.

And that compounds a year-round headache for Maryland's historic capital, which is constrained by narrow streets, tight boundaries and inadequate parking.

It seems everyone wants to drive into the city, but there's no place to go.

The city needs a comprehensive plan to deal with traffic and parking. And that should top the next mayor's agenda, as the September 11 primary election, which has attracted a total of seven candidates, draws near.

The next mayor, who could well be incumbent Republican Dean L. Johnson, also must pay attention to concerns such as the city's ancient public housing stock and strained race relations.

And that person must build on the city's strengths, notably its marvelous historic district and the steadily improving police-community relations.

Under Police Chief Joseph S. Johnson, crime and response times are down.

But the mayor must remain focused on transportation and must deliver a master plan that emphasizes alternatives to driving into the city's core.

The next leader should begin every speech with the phrase "park and ride." Shuttles from satellite parking lots, at the Naval Academy football stadium and in adjacent Parole, for example, can prevent downtown gridlock.

Annapolis isn't getting any bigger. The city must find creative ways to lighten the rising traffic pressure.

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