Accidents, partially plowed roadways significantly slow morning commute

City transit spokeswoman asks for "an enormous amount of patience from residents and citizens"

February 09, 2010|By Brent Jones | brent.jones@baltsun.com | Baltimore Sun reporter

With several major roadways and arteries to downtown condensed to one lane, traffic in the Baltimore area has been reduced to a snail-like pace, hampering commuters as they attempted to return to work Tuesday.

A jack-knifed tractor-trailer early in the morning closed two lanes on southbound Interstate 83 near Falls Road, snarling the ride on the city's major thoroughfare from the north. Commutes were taking three to four times longer than normal, according to drivers, and the highway continued to be backed up well into late morning.

Traffic along the Baltimore Beltway and northbound Interstate 95 during rush hour was also slowed, while many side streets in the city and surrounding counties remained unplowed.

Transportation officials say the reduced lanes come from stacked snow piles causing traffic congestion, the results of plows moving more than 20 inches of snow from this weekend's storm.

It has left many travelers navigating clogged-up surface streets. Other roads, like the northbound lanes of Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., alternate between two and three lanes.

"There is going to be a bottleneck because we don't have all the lanes open," city transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said.

With a new round of snow expected to dump 10 inches or more beginning Tuesday afternoon, neighborhood frustration is beginning to mount.

Edith Evans, 84, who lives in the 5600 block of Fernpark Ave. said the city has yet to plow her Powder Mill community, and that many of her elderly neighbors need to get to medical appointments.

"We have a lady here who doesn't have legs," Evans said. "A lot of older people live on this block, and none of us can get out. We know we got a lot of snow, but somebody needs to do something."

Janie Carver, who lives in the 1700 block of 29th St., said at least three streets in her Montebello neighborhood have not been plowed. "People have dug out and still can't move their cars," Carver, 69, said. "When another snow comes, we're not going to get anybody out of here."

Barnes urged residents to be patient, saying the historic storm has crews scrambling. She said crews are working to clear streets of residents who need medical care.

"We need to get dialysis patients out for treatment," Barnes said. "This is going to require an enormous amount of patience from residents and citizens."

Crews have worked overtime to restore some bus and train service but some routes remained running on a limited schedule, according to the Maryland Transit Administration.

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