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Straight-on-red stopped


First there was right turn on red, then left on red. But straight ahead?

Yesterday, a House of Delegates committee, amid chuckles and wisecracks, said so far and no further, shoveling dirt on a straight-ahead-on-red bill already laid to rest by its sponsor.

The bill, sponsored by Del. Charles W. Kolodziejski, would have allowed motorists between midnight and 6 a.m. to drive through red lights after stopping and determining that they could do so safely.

Mr. Kolodziejski, an Anne Arundel Democrat, said some constituents who spend winters in Florida told him about such a law in the Sunshine State and urged him to press for a similar ordinance in Maryland.

"It's a convenience thing, plus it saves on gas and pollution, too," he said, estimating that only about 5 percent of drivers are on the road during the hours the law, if enacted, would be in effect.

Mr. Kolodziejski, aware that fellow delegates were poking fun at his proposal, remained committed to the bill until the Department of Fiscal Services placed a $450,000 price tag on it, all for new signs at intersections.

That was too much for Mr. Kolodziejski, who withdrew the bill.

"I didn't want to put in a bill that cost a lot of money," he said.

Yesterday, insuring the measure does not make any U-turns on the way to dead bill heaven, the Commerce and Government Affairs Committee gave it an unfavorable report, meeting the requirement that it act on legislation that's referred to it.

Mr. Kolodziejski has not given up. He said he may introduce the bill again next year if he can figure out how to make it work without all those expensive signs.

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