Towson and traffic


If you've done any driving in central Towson during the past year or two, you can't have missed the construction of Towson Commons, the huge retail-movie-office complex that looms over the intersection of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue.

The complex is set to open this month. Local observers, not to mention the property's owners, are anxious to see what kind of draw, if any, Towson Commons will become -- especially with a major competitor, the revitalized Towsontown Center, just a Gucci bag's throw to the north.

There's just one problem. This week, County Councilman Douglas B. Riley's plan to block York Road where it meets Joppa Road and Allegheny Avenue in Towson has taken effect. For the next six months of the experimental traffic change, southbound motorists on York Road will have to turn onto alternate routes to keep driving toward Baltimore.

Whether the Riley plan alleviates the traffic woes in central Towson will become clear in the next few weeks. But complaints already are coming from the owners of businesses in the affected areas of York Road. They claim that the changes will discourage customers and hamper deliveries to their establishments.

Especially for Towson Commons, a block south of the York and Joppa roads intersection, the changes couldn't have come at a worse time. Its operators are complaining that the Riley plan will serve to divert traffic from the front door of the complex, just as it's about to open.

Mr. Riley is known as a politician who tries to be sensitive to the business interests of the county. But he may develop a different reputation among the owners of Towson Commons and other York Road businesses that could be hurt by the traffic changes instituted this week.

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