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Baltimore County issues final recommendations for mitigating truck traffic in residential areas

In an effort to alleviate the high volume of commercial truck traffic in residential parts of the county, the Baltimore County Residential Truck Traffic Work Group released its final report Wednesday.

Last year, the county formed the program to reduce commercial truck traffic on local roads in the southwestern and southeastern areas of the county — in accordance with the state legislation.

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The provisions allow the county to enact the local legislation no sooner than Oct. 1, according to the report.

D’Andrea Walker, the acting director of the Department of Public Works and Transportation, leads the work group with community leaders, industry representatives, and county employees.

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“I want to thank Acting Director Walker and all the members of our Work Group for coming together to engage in a thoughtful and collaborative process. We will carefully review their recommendations while crafting legislation that can help improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods,” Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr said in a statement.

The work group outlined several recommendations to long-standing community concerns, according to Olszewski.

It evaluated existing truck routes for vehicle operators; identified areas for enforcement; and analyzed existing signage to ensure signs utilized best practices in regards to language and placement.

During the evaluation of existing truck routes, it was found that there was no significant issues with the county’s current framework for local roadways. However, the work group reviewed “restricted” routes where trucks are prohibited from traveling from one end to the other without making a pickup.

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The work group suggested a GIS map that would be used on the county’s website in real time to promote behavior change among vehicle drivers.

The report also mentions the implementation of a vehicle height monitoring camera program to reduce truck traffic by levying citations — something that Olszewski advocated for the county to use during the 2020 legislative session.

Olszewski has previously called heavy truck traffic on residential roads a “quality of life concern.”

According to the report, the camera monitoring program would operate at designated locations in parts of the county, excluding some vehicles that have legitimate reasons for traveling in residential communities.

Seven location were identified as ideal for the program that include Benson Avenue and Magnolia Avenue on the southwest side of the county, and on North Point Road, Sollers Point Road, Belcare Road, Wise Avenue, and the Avon Beach Road/Dundalk Avenue traffic circle, which is still be being evaluated for issues.

The cameras are recommended to be set at 12 feet high to take a picture of the front of large commercial vehicle’s license plate, with the exception of Benson Avenue — which will require a camera low enough to capture a significant volume of package delivery vehicles.

Exempted vehicles include utility and home energy vehicles, public transit vehicles, emergency vehicles, and trash/recycling trucks.

Enacting legislation would only allow the county to operate no more than seven vehicle height monitoring cameras at a single time, according to the report.

The Olszewski administration plans to introduce legislation in the coming months based on the recommendations, according to a news release.

The Residential Truck Traffic Work Group’s full report is available here.

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