The speed limit on a stretch of West Padonia Road between Roundwood and York roads is being reduced, and business owners and residents seem pleased with the change.
In his newsletter last month, District 3 County Councilman Wade Kach noted that the speed limit was being lowered by 5 mph — from 40 mph to 35 mph — after Mays Chapel residents frequently complained about traffic safety at the intersection of West Padonia Road and Roundwood Road.
Kach wrote that he had been in contact with the Cockeysville Police Precinct and Greg Carski of Baltimore County Traffic Engineering and Transportation to lower the speed limit from 40 mph to 35 mph to increase traffic safety. Officials said the signs of the lowered speed limit should be up by the end of this week.
The decision to reduce the speed limit came after the precinct conducted a number of surveys to monitor the speed of traffic along the stretch of road. It was determined from the surveys that the average speed along the stretch of road was 35 mph, according to Kach.
“I looked at the study and made the argument that because of the results of the study, the speed limit should be lowered to 35 [mph] because the average driver felt that 35 [mph] was the safest speed,” he said. Lowering the speed limit to what most drivers are doing anyway is seen as a way to ensure the new speed limit gets locked in.
Ragina Ali, a spokeswoman at AAA Mid-Atlantic said that when maximum speed limits are correctly set and applied, they improve mobility, motorist safety and respect for the law.
“States are urged to use engineering and traffic surveys when setting maximum speed limits and to adopt limits that will not have a significant adverse effect on highway safety,” she wrote in an email. “Speed limits should not be raised or lowered in an effort to manipulate traffic volume on a particular roadway.”
Since Kach’s announcement, he said residents’ response to the reduction of the speed limit has been positive.
“That area road has been such a concern for so many years, and people have been advocates for lowering the speed limit and changing the traffic pattern,” he said. “This is the first move in an attempt to make it safer.”
Dennis Graul, of Towson, owner of Graul’s Market, a local market with six locations including one less than a mile from West Padonia Road and Roundwood Road, said he has seen a number of cars speeding through the area.
“There is a traffic light at the intersection of Roundwood Road and Padonia Road and it is right at the intersection of the shopping center where Graul’s is located,” he said. “Over the years, I can’t tell you how many hundreds of cars I’ve seen run red lights at that intersection.”
He said he thinks the reduction in the speed limit will help make the area safer and added that red-light cameras also could help reduce speeding.
“[People] may drive slower than they did when the [speed limit] was posted at a higher speed, so maybe that will help with safety,” he said. “I think anytime you reduce speed it is a little safer.”
Penny Noval, a Mays Chapel resident said she thinks the reduced speed limit will mark an improvement.
The stretch of road has no shoulder for drivers to pull over, and she said she hopes the change will help prevent future accidents.
“Statistically, the faster people are going, the more likely an accident will happen,” she said. “It is an important concept to look at not only the speed limit on that road, but how it can be adjusted to have some kind of shoulder or some kind of relief or room for error.”