Balto. Co. urged to OK design standards for roads

September 16, 2008|By Arin Gencer | Arin Gencer,arin.gencer@baltsun.com

The Baltimore County Council was urged last night to adopt a set of design standards for rural roads, during a public hearing on the recommended guide.

"We worked very diligently for almost a year and came up with, I think, a good compromise," said Kathleen Pontone, vice president of the Valleys Planning Council, a conservation group that has pressed for rural road design standards. Pontone served on the county planning board committee created late last year to examine the issue.

Many residents have expressed concerns about widening narrow roads and bridges in rural areas, something often done for safety reasons, county officials said. But when those roads and bridges are widened beyond what's necessary, they experience a greater volume of traffic and increased speed, Wayne McGinnis, chair of the rural roads committee, told the council last night.

"Both of these create a safety problem" for animals and the people living along those roads, McGinnis said.

The new guidelines were "good standards" even though everyone didn't get all they wanted, McGinnis said.

Pontone praised several recommendations, including proposals to provide for earlier opportunities for public comment, potentially saving the county costly design revisions, and permitting "traffic calming" on rural roads to narrow them - which is not allowed under current standards, she said.

The council did not vote on the design standards.

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