Plans to divide a section of Belair Road in Perry Hall with a median strip or barrier have been dropped, state highway officials announced yesterday.
The decision by state Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan yesterday followed a Monday night meeting in which about 150 residents and business owners in the Baltimore County community gathered to protest the plan to include a median strip in proposed road improvements to Belair Road between Cottington and Joppa roads and nearby India Avenue.
Building a median in that area of Belair Road "is not an option," Flanagan said in a written announcement.
Bill Paulshock, owner of Bill's Seafood, praised the decision.
"If the state would have put up a divider on Belair Road, be it a brick wall or Jersey-type barrier, it would have divided the community by cutting off access to side streets and small businesses," said Paulshock, whose business is near the planned road improvements.
The State Highway Administration also announced the creation of an advisory group of residents and merchants who will work with officials on the first phase of the road improvement, a $300,000 study to improve traffic flow and safety. The section of Belair Road carries more than 34,700 vehicles daily and traffic is congested at peak morning and evening travel times.
Early options to help clear the area include synchronized traffic signals and modified turn lanes on Joppa and Ebenezer roads onto Belair Road. State and county officials will join the advisory group, Flanagan said.
Del. Eric M. Bromwell, a Perry Hall Democrat, said that while he understands the concerns of his constituency, their worries were unnecessary. "The bottom line is that if the community doesn't want something, it won't happen," he said.
SHA officials said work along Belair Road will not begin for at least 18 months.