New approach to traffic problems

Baltimore County communities create groups to air concerns on speeding, fatalities

September 25, 2005|By Laura Barnhardt | Laura Barnhardt,Sun reporter

Community leaders in Northern Baltimore County have found that there isn't a meeting long enough to fully discuss all of the concerns about traffic and speeding along the rural roads in the area.

After two town hall meetings with state and county traffic officials, the community groups have decided to break off into smaller "work groups" and begin talking with state and county traffic officials next month in smaller forums so that more of the problems can be discussed, said Del. A. Wade Kach.

"We want to have the most effective way to get the work done," Kach, a Baltimore County Republican, said. "Instead of falling behind, we can stay ahead of traffic issues."

Kach said that as the result of the town hall meetings held in November and May, some of the traffic problems are close to being resolved. For example, he said, a traffic signal that residents said was needed will be installed at York Road and Route 138 (Monkton Road), near the Hereford Volunteer Fire Department. Along Cuba Road, potholes that motorists complained about have been repaired, Kach said.

The work groups might also lobby county officials to adopt a "traffic calming plan" -- which could include speed humps, rumble strips or painted caution markings in roads -- for northern Baltimore County, say Kach and community leaders such as Parkton resident Don Schlimm.

Rather than wanting to slow motorists down, Schlimm said, it seems that traffic engineers are more interested in moving vehicles quickly. Because winter storms are cause for drivers to be more cautious, he said, "When it snows, we almost feel like telling the snowplow drivers to leave our roads alone."

Pointing to federal transportation statistics that show that fatality rates are higher on rural roads than urban roads, Schlimm and other community leaders say they want the county to construct road obstacles designed to slow motorists, because speeding remains the top concern of residents.

But, said Kach, "The only way we'll get it is with the public demanding it."

The traffic groups will also try to address problems caused by Pennsylvania residents driving on rural roads to and from work, and will examine proposed developments which, some residents say, add to the congestion.

The schedule:

Oct. 5: Residents in Freeland, Parkton and Maryland Line will meet at 7 p.m. at Seventh District Elementary School, 20300 York Road in Parkton.

Oct. 18: Residents in Nob Hill and along Hanover Road will meet at 7 p.m. at St. John's Church, 3738 Butler Road in Glyndon.

Oct. 20: Residents in Hereford, Monkton and those living along Dairy Road will meet at 7 p.m. at Hereford Fire Hall, 510 Monkton Road in Monkton.

Oct. 25: Residents in Jacksonville and Sparks and those living along Cuba Road will meet at 7 p.m. at Sparks Elementary School, 601 Belfast Road.

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