Choices cause confusion Congestion: Commuters approaching the intersection of U.S. 40 and 29 at Ridge Road say traffic lights chop up the flow of cars and offer too many options.


IN HOWARD COUNTY, commuters approaching the cluttered intersection of U.S. 40 and 29 at Ridge Road are getting a bit annoyed these days.

Traffic jams there are starting to get legendary -- and development is just beginning. It's a matter of time before this crossroads qualifies for two-aspirin status.

The problem is caused by traffic lights that chop up the flow of traffic and offer too many possibilities to turn too many ways. Such a smorgasbord at the wheel leads to driver confusion and backups.

As Jim Irvin, director of public works for Howard County, said of the site: "It is a complicated area from a traffic standpoint."

Intrepid couldn't agree more.

One commuter, Sanford Berman, complained that the traffic backups are maddening.

"Already this increasingly complex intersection is causing problems," Berman says. "It's going to be a horrendous, terrible tragedy waiting to happen. This is, I think a refresher, the problems between development and its traffic consequences, uncontrolled development can lead to this. It will only get worse."

Back to Irvin.

The county bureaucrat said drivers have raised concerns about the capacity and level of service on Ridge Road. But he added that those concerns should ease a little when the road is extended through to Rogers Avenue -- just north of Ellicott City's Main Street.

MVA is providing access to registration online

By mid-July, you'll be able to log on to register your vehicle with the state's Motor Vehicle Administration any day, any time.

MVA spokesman Richard Scher said the service is scheduled to be made available soon as part of a system called Access Maryland. That system also includes self-service terminals and telephone registration, Scher said.

"You will need no special software -- all you have to do is download the MVA site and take it from there," he said last week.

Complaints about roadwork during midday get results

So many commuters complained to State Highway Administration bureaucrats recently about construction work that slowed traffic to no faster than a crawl on southbound Reisterstown Road that (gasp!) action was actually taken.

It seems workers tied up traffic from noon to 3 p.m. for weeks on the project that aims to repave the well-worn northwest Baltimore County path and add new sidewalks. Your wheelster inspected the mess last week -- from the northbound lane, of course -- and was appalled to see the midday angst. The tie-ups stretched from McDonogh Road to just north of Painters Mill Road.

SHA spokeswoman Rose Muhlhausen said engineers have shifted their work schedules to commence at 7 p.m. and finish at 5 a.m., just before the morning rush hour starts to take over. The project is expected to be completed in November, Muhlhausen said.


Baltimore Department of Public Works officials said last week they plan to readjust the traffic signals at Northern Parkway and Belvedere Road after complaints about faulty timing by commuters and pedestrians. Speed humps could sprout on Lake Avenue just west of Charles Street. Community activists are seeking devices to slow the traffic that whizzes through the residential zone. A snag with a contractor involved in the road repairs at Hillen Road and Woodbourne Avenue has slowed completion of the project -- much to the dismay of nearby residents who shudder each time a vehicle drives over the metal plates, particularly late at night. Look for road resurfacing this week on Northern Landfill Road in Carroll County.

Keep in touch

You can mail, send by fax or call in questions or comments for the Intrepid Commuter. Here's how:

Mail letters -- The Sun, 1300 Bellona Ave., Lutherville 21093.


Call Sundial, The Baltimore Sun's telephone information service. 410-783-1800, enter Ext. 4305. From Anne Arundel County, dial 410-268-7736.

Pub Date: 6/08/98

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