Letters

LETTERS

January 21, 2007

Wrong roads getting attention

Just when I thought the county commissioners had been educated on the road issue - they bring in a new one. What does newly elected Commissioner Michael D. Zimmer tell us? He tells us U.S. Route 29 and Route 32, which happen to be the major routes in and out of his neighborhood, need attention. Come on commissioner, get on board to fix problem roads.

Route 30 is obviously the most dangerous road in the county. (By the way, it does NOT run anywhere near my house and I seldom use it.) The most congested road is Route 140 - beginning where Interstate 795 ends. These two roads need a lot more attention than either routes 29 or 32.

Admittedly, U.S. 29 and Route 32 slow down during rush hours, but they are far less congested than either 30 or 140. And, neither presents the safety problem found on Route 30.

If Commissioner Zimmer wants to help, he should push for extending I-795.

What's the cause of the traffic jams on the two roads in question? Cars and trucks from Pennsylvania trying to get to and from I-795. The obvious solution is to simply extend I-795 to Pennsylvania. Build an extension taking it slightly east of Patapsco and Aspen Run, west of Bachman Mills and Deep Run, and connect it to Route 97 somewhere north of Silver Run. In other words, put the problem traffic where it belongs - in Pennsylvania. (Interchanges at Routes 91, 482, 27, and 496 would serve Maryland traffic.)

The old cronies in Annapolis say: "It goes against the Smart Growth Plan." Guess what guys, I don't care. It's not growth that concerns me. The state has an obligation to provide adequate roads for the current residents, and it hasn't done that.

Jim Bard Westminster

Plan for roads is for development

Newly elected Carroll County Commissioner Michael Zimmer's recently announced plan to widen county roads to create a four lane high-speed state highway for safer commuting has little to do with safer roads and everything to do with commercial and industrial development.

Under the guise of road safety, Commissioner Zimmer wants to widen Route 32 north up to where it meets Route 97 and then follow Route 97 up to Route 140.

If safer roads are really the true reason for this plan, then the better route for the new highway would be to bear left off of Route 32 onto Route 26 westbound for 3 miles and then merge right onto Route 97 north all the way to Route 140. A 15-minute drive up Route 32 would clearly show why his proposed path is a bad choice.

Route 32 crosses the Liberty Reservoir requiring a multi-million-dollar bridge to be constructed. There are two elementary schools (Freedom and Mechanicsville) that sit right on Route 32.

These schools would sit right on this new four lane highway resulting in small children and slow moving buses along this new super highway (not to mention the need to change existing school bus routes and the increased traffic and noise the children would be forced to deal with). If the schools impede the construction, they would need to be closed and the children bused to other schools which are overcrowded and/or requiring the construction of new schools at a great expense.

There are many homes along Route 32 with not enough room to add another traffic lane without loosing their entire yard and most likely the house. All of these would need to be bought at a fair price to those people and removed. Several churches and a graveyard would also be affected in the same manner.

There are thousands of homes in the area whose property value would drop dramatically if this road was widened. Along Route 97, there are no reservoir crossings, no schools, no homes, no churches, and no home value issues. Route 32 twists and turns its way to its crossing with Route 97 with over 30 roads intersecting it.

Each intersection with a high-speed highway requires rebuilding and the increased risk of a bad accident. Many of these roads are the only way to exit the communities that sit along Route 32. Route 97 only has 2 roads crossing it between Route 26 and Route 32.

With all of these problems, why is Route 32 Commissioner Zimmer's choice for the route? The answer is simple. Though Route 97 can be widened to four lanes, the land on the sides is protected and cannot be developed. This is the real reason for choosing Route 32.

After the schools, churches and homes are gone and the land value drops, the land could be rezoned from residential and agricultural use to commercial and industrial use. Then, Commissioner Zimmer, the former government relation's chair to the South Carroll Business Association, would have what he really wants: miles of cheap commercial and industrial land that could be developed while clogging the high-speed road with truck traffic and multiple intersections, thus destroying the nice communities of Finksburg, Gamber, and southern Westminster.

Michael J. Sobieck Westminster

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