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County Executive Steuart Pittman gives remarks. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman held a transportation town hall on Tuesday at Arundel High School, to discuss a potential development moratorium on Route 2 and Route 3, Bay Bridge traffic, and more.
County Executive Steuart Pittman gives remarks. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman held a transportation town hall on Tuesday at Arundel High School, to discuss a potential development moratorium on Route 2 and Route 3, Bay Bridge traffic, and more. (Paul W. Gillespie)

More than 130 people turned out for a Tuesday night transportation town hall at Arundel High School Gambrills at which nearly every mention of a development moratorium on the Route 3 corridor elicited applause.

The meeting in the Arundel County High School cafeteria focused largely on traffic issues along Route 2 and Route 3. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman said he is seeking community feedback and ideas to tackle local transportation issues, including Route 2 and Route 3 traffic and Bay Crossing options. Route 3 is notorious for its traffic backups and construction on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge has lead to miles long delays.

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“Of all the issues in the county, the one that is the most important is traffic but at the same time, it’s the one I don’t feel prepared to fix,” Pittman said. “I wish there was a magic bullet.”

He sat alongside panelists Gary Hodge from the Maryland Transit Opportunities Coalition, and Ramond Robinson, the county’s transportation director.

“Asking the right questions in the first step to getting a solution. I’m not sure whether the goal here is to build another one hundred Royal Farms and WaWas between here and Ocean City or if we have a more strategic goal in mind,” Hodge said. “The solution is probably a mixture of strategies and tactics that make sense.”

The community gathered for the town hall less than a week after the State Highway Administration said they are including Route 3 in a state-wide highway corridor study at the last Greater Crofton Council meeting.

A number of attendees raise their hand if they thought building a third span of the Bay Bridge at the existing location was the best of the three options of locations in Anne Arundel County. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman held a transportation town hall on Tuesday at Arundel High School, to discuss a potential development moratorium on Route 2 and Route 3, Bay Bridge traffic, and more.
A number of attendees raise their hand if they thought building a third span of the Bay Bridge at the existing location was the best of the three options of locations in Anne Arundel County. Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman held a transportation town hall on Tuesday at Arundel High School, to discuss a potential development moratorium on Route 2 and Route 3, Bay Bridge traffic, and more. (Paul W. Gillespie)

News of another study frustrated community members, who said the state continually does studies but does not make necessary changes. Many residents came to the town hall equipped with suggestions of how the traffic issues can be relieved.

Odenton resident Christina Dinh called her MARC train commute into DC a “Love-hate relationship”

She suggested the county and state further invest in the transit options and parking for commuters.

Dinh also asked Pittman, Robinson and Hodge to implore employers to allow teleworking at least a few days a week and alternate work schedules.

“For the lucky few that have teleworking capabilities, that would be a few days out of the workweek that they are not driving,” Dinh said. “That could be a cost-effective way to reduce traffic.”

Several residents suggested that red light cameras and speed cameras would reduce accidents along Route 3 and thus reduce traffic.

Paul Spadaro, president of the Magothy Rivers Association, said that development along the corridor needs to stop.

“The hotel is filled,” he said. “It’s time to put the No-Vacancy sign up.”

Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills, who represents part of the Route 3 corridor, said it was fitting that Pittman had to drive through the traffic his community deals with daily to get to the meeting.

He said he continues to hear from frustrated constituents about the situation, and mentioned the surge in civic engagement he saw throughout the legislative process with the recently passed forest conservation bill.

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“The public is engaged,” he said. “People really care about what is happening and they want to see change.”

On Monday night, Pruski helped pass a resolution approving the county’s transportation functional master plan entitled “Move Anne Arundel!”

The plan will ultimately be part of the county’s 2020 General Development Plan, or GDP. The transportation plan gives recommendations for many of the county’s long fought transportation battles but lists the Route 3 corridor as the first among them.

In addition to recommending limiting access to adjacent properties from the main highway, the plan calls for a new commuter bus service, and the construction of more park-and-ride lots along the corridor to support the system.

The plan also outlines recommendations for making communities more walkable, creating a new model for transit, and improving regional corridors to make commutes more reliable.

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