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Baltimore County convenes work group to curb truck traffic in residential areas

Baltimore County stakeholders are considering ways to reduce commercial truck traffic on local roads in residential areas, something state legislators who represent the southwestern portion of the county say is a nuisance to their constituents.

Enabled by state legislation sponsored during the last General Assembly session by Del. Eric Ebersole and Sen. Clarence Lam, whose districts include Catonsville, Arbutus and Lansdowne, the County Council can now install vehicle height monitoring systems in areas recommended by the Residential Truck Traffic Work Group, whose members include representatives from the county Department of Public Works, the Baltimore Industrial Group, Maryland Motor Truck Association, Baltimore County police, and community representatives of Council District 1 in the southwest and District 7, which includes Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Rosedale and Sparrows Point.

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Calling it a “quality of life concern," County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said in a statement residents have ”for years ... raised concerns about heavy truck traffic on local roads."

“By bringing together community members, county staff, and representatives from the commercial transportation industry, we can begin a thoughtful and collaborative process to make meaningful changes to our neighborhoods,” he said.

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Installing the monitoring cameras would allow police to levy citations against truck owners who repeatedly violate them — up to $250 for the second violation and up to $500 for subsequent infractions.

The owners of those trucks could pass on those fines to the drivers, according to the law.

The work group will evaluate existing truck routes and identify residential areas for height restriction. They’ll also look at existing signage and whether it can be improved.

As the program must limit the number of vehicle height monitoring systems, the work group will suggest limits on the number of cameras, and may recommend exceptions to the height restrictions.

The group, chaired by D’Andrea Walker, deputy director of transportation for Public Works, is expected to present its final report by Aug. 31 next year. It’s unlikely the systems would be installed before 2022, according to the law’s fiscal note.

The cameras cost about $10,000 each, and the county expects to hire two more police officers to enforce the restrictions at an added annual personnel cost of $150,000.

County revenue incurred from fines is not expected to be significant, according to the law’s fiscal note.

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