More outrage voiced on left-lane proposal


March 18, 2003|By Jody K. Vilschick | Jody K. Vilschick,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

OTHER VOICES of outrage have lifted up to join Patricia M.'s. She complained in last week's column about the new proposal, which passed the Maryland House of Delegates last month and is under consideration in the Senate, to make camping out in the left lane (and impeding the flow of often speeding drivers) illegal.

"I've just finished your 11 March article and can't believe the intelligence of our legislators," fumed Leo Harrold. "Getting a ticket for going the speed limit in the left lane! Try this scenario out. If I'm going the speed limit, say 55 mph, how fast do you think a car would have to be traveling to catch up to me? At least 65 mph, but that person is not going to be ticketed. I am because I didn't get out of his way. There's got to be something wrong with this picture. I thought the federal government would withhold highway money if the states didn't enforce the speed limits. Supposedly this is why we have all those big programs over the various holidays to hold down speeding, as speed costs lives. At least they previously said that. All smoke and mirrors!"

Here's my advice. If you don't like the proposed law, call or e-mail your representatives in Annapolis.

And if you think the proposed law is the best thing since guardrails were invented, then call or e-mail your representatives in Annapolis. Let them know what you think! Brian McAllister recently e-mailed me about some observations that he and his wife have made while commuting from Eldersburg to Howard County.

"We are both over 50 and are beginning to recognize some slowly declining driving tools, such as night vision or full range of motion of the neck. Why don't older drivers recognize the negative impact that they can have on the road? So many times on Route 32, there is a back-up of five to 10 vehicles because of an older driver who refuses to go over 40 mph. Why can't this driver just pull onto the shoulder, let the group go by and then continue on their way? This would certainly decrease the anxiety for both sides of this issue. There have been many times that I have pulled over and let an impatient driver speed by me. It is better for everyone concerned," he said.

I've wondered the same, Mr. McAllister, and I agree with your suggestion - even if you're a younger driver. It's safer to let impatient drivers go on their way rather than have them tailgate so close that they're practically sitting in your back seat. Which is, come to think of it, the rationale for the proposed law to yield the left lane to faster drivers.

Worst still coming

Robert Flynn nominates Route 32 from the Carroll County line to Interstate 70 for "worst road" in Howard County. "It is a game of Russian roulette trying to turn on and off during rush hours," he said.

Teresa McKenzie also dislikes a portion of Route 32, specifically the exit ramp from Route 32 onto Cedar Lane and Pindell School Road. "The ramp from westbound Route 32 onto these two roads is very wide. Two left-turn lanes onto Pindell, one right-turn lane for W.R. Grace and two right lanes merging onto Cedar Lane all on one exit ramp can be confusing enough," she said.

"People turning into W.R. Grace from there think they do not have to wait for the light and turn out in front of oncoming traffic. Not to mention those who think that the outside right hand turn lane onto Pindell School Road turns to the middle lane. Every night, I go home, I get cut off by drivers who think that is their lane. The two right turn lanes onto Pindell are for the outer right lanes on Pindell. The left lane on Pindell is for turning back onto 32 east and has a double yellow line when you turn there," she said.

But she also has issues with another area nearby.

"My other trauma is the next intersection of Sanner Road and Pindell. There are stop signs on either side, and Pindell has the right of way.

I witnessed a very bad accident five years ago that got one person killed. A flashing light was installed on Sanner to warn motorists of the impending intersection. I still see accidents there all the time, and people still pull in front of you and go extremely slow."

William F. Malone Jr., traffic division chief of the Howard County Department of Public Works, said, "Major improvements are currently under construction" at the intersection of Sanner Road and Pindell School Road. "Sanner Road is closed just south of this intersection as a part of the re-construction. When complete, Cedar Lane will flow directly into Sanner Road. Pindell School will T into Guilford. Guilford will T into Sanner and will be signalized," he said.

What's your traffic trauma? Contact Jody K. Vilschick at or send faxes to 410-715-2816. Technophobes can mail letters to Traffic Talk, The Sun in Howard County, 5570 Sterrett Place, Suite 300, Columbia 21044.

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