October 07, 2007

We must act to ease congestion

I commute to work on Route 22 and frequently encounter excessive traffic.

On Thursday morning a solid line of cars stretched from before Harford Community College through Churchville. This approximately 1-mile stretch of road usually takes about two minutes to drive, but took nearly 20 minutes. It was not because of an accident or school buses, but was caused by congestion from traffic lights and heavy volume.

If even a modest number of new BRAC families decide to move to Bel Air and commute to Aberdeen Proving Ground, this will cause significant traffic problems. I believe that Routes 152, 24 and 924 experience similar problems during the morning and afternoon drive times.

It seems obvious that Harford County needs to conduct comprehensive planning for commuters in our county and beyond.

I realize that the state is currently facing a sizable budget deficit, but adding a subway line down the middle of I-95 (similar to I-66 in Northern Virginia), or even on existing tracks near U.S. 40, seems a workable solution to I-95 overcrowding during drive times. The long-term benefits to the region and the state would be huge.

Many other possible solutions could help avert this impending perfect storm: bicycle paths from residential centers to businesses; park-and-ride lots that are convenient and safe; more buses throughout the county and to Baltimore; state and local tax incentives for telecommuting and/or carpooling; and marking bike lanes on existing roads.

Life is too short to spend more time sitting in traffic.

Clint McSherry

Bel Air

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