Home owners surrounding the new Liberty Exchange office, retail and warehouse development in Eldersburg are hoping to see the traffic light at the entrance of the center at Liberty Road become operational — and sooner than later.
Currently, the signal at Exchange Drive and Liberty Road (Route 26) is a blinking yellow light, but residents are concerned about possible accidents as cars attempt to get through the heavily-traveled stretch of Liberty Road.
"I have witnessed several close calls during the day, especially when the high school students are dismissed around 2:30 p.m.," said Jen Hoey, president of the nearby Sumner's Hollow home owner association.
But a representative for the State Highway Administration said that, at present , there is not enough traffic to warrant activating the light.
"It will not be turned on full time until the development is pretty much full," said David Buck, spokesperson for the SHA. "There are only a couple tenants now. It is not even close enough."
St. John Properties, owner of the 225,000-square-foot Liberty Exchange project, would like to see the light activated, too, according to Chip Benhoff, property manager.
"We are working with the State Highway Administration to get that light working as quickly as possible," Benhoff said. "We actually turned over two more spaces this week."
Will McCullough, leasing representative for Liberty Exchange, said currently, 83 percent of the office space is leased and 30 percent of the retail space is leased. There is only one lease for the warehouse space, though a couple of others are looking promising, he added.
"It benefits everybody to have that light operating," McCullough said. "We don't want cars from that neighborhood cutting through."
In an email interview, Hoey said residents are also concerned about the intersection at White Rock/Linton Road and Liberty Road. Making a left turn onto Liberty Road from Linton is tricky, many say, because of lack of visibility.
"When the intersection on (Liberty Road) and Linton Road backs up, there is a line of about 20 cars trying to get through the light," said Hoey. "Most of them, I have witnessed, are trying to make a left hand turn at the light, which can be very difficult, and therefore dangerous.
"It becomes a race to beat the light," she said in her comments.
"Cars from the other direction (on White Rock Road) are hard to see, so people are making the left turn just missing the cars coming from White Rock," Hoey said. "In my opinion, a left turn arrow should be installed there to eliminate any close calls."
That busy intersection is just west of the blinking light at Liberty Exchange. But since it's situation where a county road (Linton/White Rock) turns onto a state road (Liberty Road/Route 26), the SHA is not responsible for it, Buck said. Any change there would be initiated from the county.
However, he added, the SHA would be involved with any county decisions regarding changes.
"We have to look at the whole big picture. If we look at one, we look at others around," Buck said. "We run different programs…through intricate traffic systems programs to look at the overall picture."