A New Pedestrian Island In Catonsville Leaves A Driver At Sea

WATCHDOG

Watchdog

December 13, 2009|By Liz F Kay | Liz F Kay , liz.kay@baltsun.com

The problem:: The post for a sign alerting drivers to a pedestrian island in Catonsville is bent.

The back story:: The tire tread mark is telling.

Clearly, at least one motorist was surprised by a newly installed median on Edmondson Avenue at Rosewood Avenue in Catonsville. Not long after it was installed in October, someone struck the sign posted on the west side of the island.

Traffic engineers have fielded questions from residents about the new structure, said David Fidler, a spokesman for the Baltimore County Department of Public Works, and a reader wrote a letter to the Catonsville Times questioning the need for it.

The island had been installed in the center turn lane, just east of a crosswalk, at the request of residents, according to Fidler. It is not a typical traffic-calming tool, such as is usually installed after a community submits a petition, he said. Instead, the island is meant to enhance pedestrian safety.

"It is simply to give notice to drivers that people are walking across the street ahead of them," Fidler said.

There is room on either side of the island for two lanes of traffic, but roadway engineers decided against installing a painted divider, considering the needs of homeowners along Edmondson Avenue who might want to park along the curb.

"When you put an official lane-dividing line, it makes it much more difficult to park," Fidler said.

Before Watchdog contacted Baltimore County's public works agency, a work order was submitted to replace the "keep right" sign, which had been knocked from a vertical to an ineffective horizontal position, the spokesman said. That work should be completed this week.

But no other changes are in the works, because the island meets traffic standards, according to Fidler.

"The island does not represent a confusing obstruction to westbound Edmondson [Avenue] traffic," he said. "It seems to be working out and seems to be solving problems."

Who can fix this:: Darrell Wiles, chief of traffic engineering and transportation planning, Baltimore County Department of Public Works, 410-887-3554.

- Liz F. Kay

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