Highway sign didn't mean a drive to the sky


May 22, 2007

THE PROBLEM -- A sign that is supposed to guide motorists into an industrial park instead pointed to the sky.

THE BACKSTORY -- If you had traveled north on Washington Boulevard in Lansdowne in the past two months, you might have missed the left-hand turn into the Beltway Business Community. The narrow green sign that was supposed to point to Commerce Drive pointed straight up instead, with words "Commerce" appearing in vertical type.

Did it mean you needed to turn your car into a rocket ship to reach the Wendy's, Home Depot or other businesses in the 21.5-acre park?

The sign, which looked official, was attached to a wooden post pounded into dirt where a sidewalk had been torn up by contractors working on a new Wal-Mart on the east side of Washington Boulevard.

State Highway Administration spokesman Charles Gischlar said an inspector drove the route yesterday and couldn't find anything wrong.

"He said everything was pointing to exactly what they should have been pointing to," he said.

Turns out the sign came down Saturday.

Gischlar said the sign was probably put up by the contractor building a Wal-Mart so motorists wouldn't turn right onto a dirt road on the east side of Washington Boulevard.

The highway spokesman said there are other signs pointing to Commerce Drive and the sign apparently put up by the contractor was not needed, then or now.

"There are signs in each direction," Gischlar said, "and they're not pointing to the stars."

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- To report problems with signs on state roads in the Baltimore and Baltimore County areas, contact David J. Malkowski, district engineer, 410-321-2800.

To find previous Watchdog columns and report problems at baltimoresun.com/watchdog.


A gap in a section of fence protecting railroad tracks at the end of Charles Street in South Baltimore has not been repaired a month after Watchdog first noted the problem.

Shannon Sullivan, chairwoman of the crime committee for the Riverside neighborhood association, wrote in an e-mail that it took seven months of complaints to CSX to get the fence repaired in March. CSX said a section was torn down after that again.

The community group led a walk in the area recently. "The pathway, strewn with trash, is still accessible and very well worn," Shannon wrote. "So the path continues to be used by prostitutes and drug users."

Robert Sullivan, a spokesman for CSX, did not return phone calls seeking comment yesterday or Friday. He had told Watchdog previously that an inspector would investigate the problem.

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