Doug Riley, amateur traffic engineer, strikes again.
It was only six weeks ago that Mr. Riley, the Baltimore County Council representative for Towson, was backing down from his plan to make Burke Avenue one-way east of York Road. His 11th-hour change of mind followed unusually virulent opposition from local residents.
Now Mr. Riley has returned with another attempt to ease automobile traffic in congested central Towson. Starting yesterday 4, York Road was blocked at Joppa Road and Allegheny Avenue. Southbound motorists on York Road have to find alternate routes if they wish to continue driving toward Baltimore.
Mr. Riley's proposal, scheduled to last six months, grew from the recent Towson Plan. Its roots could even be traced to a mid-1960s proposal to close York Road between Joppa Road and Chesapeake Avenue. Anyone who has ever mistaken that stretch for a used-car lot can appreciate the good intentions of a plan to decrease the number of cars while boosting the number of pedestrians.
But the owners of York Road businesses just south of Joppa Road are upset by the Riley proposal. They say it will discourage customers and severely hamper deliveries to their establishments. The operators of Towson Commons, set to open this month, are especially concerned that the Riley plan will steer people away from the new retail-movie-office complex, which sits a block south of the York and Joppa roads intersection.
Wasn't Mr. Riley remarking just the other day, after the council said it would kill a proposed building ban in Perry Hall, that Baltimore County has to be more sensitive to business interests?
For now, let's give the councilman the benefit of the doubt and hope his latest traffic plan proves beneficial. Meanwhile, he has asked the public to wait a couple months before passing judgment on the changes. And if the public roars its disapproval? Then, as he did with his Burke Avenue proposal, Mr. Riley might have to do another abrupt shift into reverse.