Central Avenue attracts many motorists seeking a short cut from Route 32 to Obrecht Road in Sykesville. An alarming number of speeders are cutting the route shorter still.
"We have always had a lot of traffic, but now sometimes, they drive 60 miles an hour," said Bonnie Strawbridge. "They are mostly adults who should know better."
Residents along the tree-lined, hilly road have asked the Town Council to call a halt to the speeding. They said they will live with the increase in traffic volume, if motorists slow down.
Ms. Strawbridge, who was among 25 residents who signed a petition detailing the problems, said traffic patterns have changed alarmingly on the street where she has lived for 19 years.
Motorists race by at speeds far above the posted 25 miles per hour, she said.
The street has poor sight distance and she worries about the children, pets and the many elderly residents, she said.
"I hold my breath every time one elderly neighbor crosses the street to get his mail," she said. "He doesn't hear well and he has almost been hit several times."
Mayor Kenneth W. Clark said he "appreciated knowing what residents are thinking," and promised action on the problem. The first delivery on that promise is a three-way stop sign at the intersection of Central and First avenues.
"We have no problem posting stop signs and the police will enforce them," said James L. Schumacher, town manager. "If one doesn't work, we may have to go to two."
Intersections at Carl Avenue and Brown Street could also be posted, he said.
Eugene E. Johnson Jr., newly appointed supervisor of public works, said crews will erect the sign and paint lines in the street within a week.
Until motorists become accustomed to the new stop, flagged warnings also will be placed at both ends of Central Avenue.
Town Police Chief Wallace P. "Mitch" Mitchell said he is concerned about speeding reports because many children walk along Central Avenue to Sykesville Middle School. He said forcing motorists to stop will cut down on speeding.
A month should give his department an idea if one sign is enough to curb speeders, he said.
Town Attorney Dennis J. Hoover, who drives on the road daily, said the stop sign may deter motorists.
"It could be the nuisance factor which takes traffic off the road," he said.