'Do not enter' sign frequently disappears

The problem: A Do Not Enter sign in Curtis Bay keeps getting knocked down.

The backstory: Drivers on Pennington Avenue often miss it.

At Birch Avenue, Pennington switches from two-way to one-way southbound. Northbound drivers must make a right turn onto Birch and then a left turn onto Curtis Avenue to continue toward downtown.

But from his vantage point at Taylor's Tavern several blocks north of Birch, Joseph Taylor said he frequently sees vehicles headed the wrong way on Pennington.

"All day long, the cars are coming up," he said. "They're not making that right turn to come onto Curtis Avenue."

Overhead signs with flashing lights direct traffic onto Birch. There usually are also Do Not Enter signs at Pennington and Birch, but they keep getting knocked down, Taylor said.

When Watchdog checked it out, there was a Do Not Enter sign on the northwest corner, but that's not the most noticeable place for drivers headed northbound — Taylor said there used to be one on the island that directs drivers from the left lanes of southbound Pennington onto Birch.

He said he's called 311 several times to report the missing signs but asked why city officials didn't put something more noticeable on the island to alert drivers.

"Eventually there's going to be a pretty bad accident over there," Taylor said. "I hope a bunch of tractor-trailers don't run into our business."

City traffic officials know that signs often go missing at this intersection, said Adrienne Barnes, spokeswoman for the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

"We've been battling this intersection for years," she said. "The signs keep getting knocked down no matter what we do."

Crews have put a Do Not Enter sign on a wooden skid on the island, she said. They are fabricating the necessary signs for permanent replacements.

Barnes said there were no records of 311 calls about this intersection.

"We want motorists to get in the habit of calling 311," she said. "If something is a safety issue, we want people to report those kinds of things to us immediately."

Who can fix this: Randall Scott, the Transportation Department's traffic division chief, 443-984-2150. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

— Liz F. Kay

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