Public meeting April 12 to discuss Roland Avenue resurfacing

The Baltimore Department of Transportation will hold a public meeting April 12 to discuss plans to resurface Roland Avenue and reduce school day traffic jams at Gilman and Bryn Mawr.

The meeting is scheduled to run from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School, 5207 Roland Ave.

The $3.5 million project calls for the resurfacing of Roland Avenue between Northern Parkway and West Cold Spring Lane, a new signalized intersection between Roland Avenue and Charles Street at Northern Parkway, and handicapped-accessible ramps, enhanced crosswalks and curb bump-outs in the project area to calm traffic.

The city plans to create a signalized intersection with left turn lanes into the Gilman and Bryn Mawr schools from Northern Parkway.

The plan also calls for the planting of trees along a widened Roland Avenue median, and changing the timing of traffic lights on Roland, Phil Spevak, president of the Roland Park Civic League said last week. When first announced last year, the plan called for planting 16 Zelkova trees in the median.

And the plan calls for a left turn lane into Gilman from southbound Roland.

On Northern Parkway in both directions, the signalized intersection will allow eastbound traffic to turn left into Bryn Mawr and westbound traffic to turn left into Gilman, Spevak said.

"This will help to unload Roland Avenue" during dropoffs of students in the mornings and pickup of students in the afternoons on school days, Spevak said.

Roland Park Elementary/Middle will also benefit from plans to improve school bus dropoff signage, as well as to mark bus dropoff and pickup lanes with a special designation, he said.

Some funding is being provided by the two private schools, and final agreements in a memo of understanding between the city and the league and the city and the schools remain to be signed, Spevak said. The plan as announced last year called for a combined $700,000 from the schools.

The meeting April 12 is an opportunity for people to ask questions, but is an informational meeting rather than a public hearing, he said.

The plan is the result of input from Gilman, Bryn Mawr, nearby Roland Park Country School and Roland Park Elementary/Middle, as well as the league and Department of Transportation.

Also planned are streetscape enhancements along Cold Spring Lane and Wyndhurst and Roland avenues, including curb bump-outs, and special crosswalk paving to slow traffic, especially at street corners where children cross on their way to school.

As of last year, improvements for biking and walkability were planned, as was a speed camera westbound along Wyndhurst Avenue. The community had also asked for speed cameras at Linkwood Park and the entrance to the Roland Springs subdivision off West Cold Spring Lane.

Construction was expected to commence in the fall of 2012.

The plan, which is designed in accordance with the city-approved Greater Roland Park Master Plan, would encourage people to drive more slowly, ride bikes and walk more, and would also make the community more aesthetically pleasing as well as relieving congestion at the schools, Spevak said in explaining the plan last November.

Original plans called only for a $2.1 road repaving project, but the project expanded as community leaders sensed an opportunity to do something on a larger scale, Spevak said last week.

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