It doesn't take much to upset the delicate balance of the morning commuter traffic into downtown Baltimore, as hundreds of people discovered yesterday to their dismay.
Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of people arrived late for work, wondering what had disrupted their morning routine.
St. Paul Street, a major southbound route downtown, was practically paralyzed until about 10 a.m. by a chain of events that started with two accidents near Ruxton Road on the southbound Jones Falls Expressway between 6 a.m. and 7 a.m., Maryland State Police said.
Neither accident involved injuries, and both were cleared up quickly, state police said, but police closed all lanes except the shoulder.
Traffic around the Baltimore Beltway backed up, with a stream of motorists flooding North Baltimore's streets as far north as Cold Spring Lane and Northern Parkway, and on Charles Street, Greenmount Avenue and Reisterstown Road.
With snow banks narrowing some of the lanes, driving was made more difficult in the morning rush.
"Basically, you're dealing with 50,000 cars that can't get through," 1st Sgt. Andy Mays said. "Charles Street and Reisterstown Road cannot possibly handle that kind of traffic."