State lowers speed limit on Liberty Road section

Drop from 40 mph to 35 covers 4 1/2 -mile stretch

February 04, 2003|By Abby Foster | Abby Foster,SUN STAFF

The State Highway Administration lowered the speed limit on 4 1/2 miles of Liberty Road from 40 mph to 35 mph yesterday to make the four-lane road safer from the Baltimore city line to Brenbrook Drive in Randallstown.

Concern over the speed limit stemmed from an increase in accidents on Liberty Road between the Beltway and Old Court Road. The stretch of Liberty Road where speed limit signs were changed yesterday contains that section.

The change was pushed by Del. Emmett C. Burns Jr., a Baltimore County Democrat, and Randallstown and Lochearn area community leaders and organizations.

"Thirty-five miles an hour does make a difference," Burns said. "It gives you time to brake and to concentrate, and it'll work better when they put the speed monitors in."

The monitors will note a vehicle's speed, and if it is speeding, record it. The motorist then will receive a citation and a fine. It works in much the same way as red-light cameras, which result in tickets to motorists caught running red lights.

The increase in accidents last summer began July 22, when a Randallstown man riding a motor scooter was hit and killed by a car traveling more than 70 mph, according to police. A Baltimore woman was killed in another speed-related accident July 31, and on Sept. 8, a Catonsville man was killed in a three-vehicle accident.

On Sept. 19, four people were injured in a seven-car pileup, and a 10-year-old girl was hit by a car as she walked across Liberty Road on Sept. 25.

A march was held Sept. 27 on Liberty Road to call attention to the accidents.

The spike in accidents spurred county and state officials to explore safety options, including traffic cameras and a more visible police presence.

Although most speeders in the area only drove 5 mph above the 40-mph limit, speeding was a factor in most of the accidents, police and residents said.

Lowering the speed limit is not the first attempt to curb dangerous driving on Liberty Road. Shortly after the incidents in September, police increased patrols in the area and issued more traffic citations.

A radar sign was erected to show motorists their speed in hopes of slowing drivers.

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