Left turn signal coming to Bellona Avenue

Drivers southbound on Bellona Avenue will soon see a left-turn signal on the traffic light at Stevenson Lane after multiple complaints about safety, according to Baltimore County officials.

Though the southbound traffic lane on Bellona Avenue is marked for one lane, drivers often pass those waiting to turn left by maneuvering around them on the right. Residents say this causes close calls for northbound drivers turning left onto Stevenson.

The county is moving to alleviate the concerns by installing a traffic signal for southbound drivers.

"The issue of that intersection and its lack of lane markings or designated turn lanes has become a frequent concern of residents in the area," John Rinehart, former president of the Rodgers Forge Community Association, said in an email.

Community members have repeatedly asked that the intersection be marked as two lanes in each direction, Rinehart said, with a marked, left-turn lane painted on the road or a sign suspended above the roadway.

"Unfortunately, every written response from the County Department of Highways explains that the incident of accidents is low and that any additional marking would deviate from the National Highway sign and roadway marking standards," Rinehart said.

County officials determined it was time to mark the lanes following an analysis prompted by citizen complaints in mid-2016, Department of Public Works spokeswoman Lauren Watley said in an email Wednesday.

"The analysis was based on traffic volumes during certain, predetermined hour or two-hour periods using a federally established formula," Watley said. "When the calculations were complete, it was clear that the southbound lane qualified by volume but not the northbound."

Figures from that analysis were not immediately available, Watley said.

Between 5,000 and 20,000 vehicles pass through the intersection each day, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation's annual average daily traffic data.

County officials have already started work to get the signal up and running.

Parking is restricted on Bellona Avenue southbound between Haddon Avenue and Stevenson Lane, and the county is installing no-parking signs near the intersection. Road crews will then install a five-section traffic signal to control left turns and a detection camera which controls the signal, Watley said.

All work should be completed by the end of August, Watley said.

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