Traffic lights stay under wraps

The Baltimore Sun

The problem: New traffic signals at a Northwest Baltimore intersection have been covered in burlap for more than two years.

The backstory: You've seen them at intersections all over Baltimore: traffic lights hooded by black plastic bags or burlap, right next to functioning signals.

Reginald V. Burley has been bugged by a double set of traffic signals - one covered in burlap, one operating - at Liberty Heights and Granada avenues since they were put up more than two years ago.

"Those bags are dry-rotted," Burley said. "Why waste the money and effort putting these things up if you're not going to turn them on?"

Burley, who used to live near Northern Parkway, e-mailed Watchdog about the problem in early March. The problem still had not been resolved as of last week.

"I just got tired of looking at them and wondered when are they finally going to activate those things," he said yesterday.

Rosita Sabrosso-Rennick, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Transportation, said the traffic division is looking into the problem.

They plan to schedule point control and inspections to have this signal operating by the first week in July, she said.

Who can fix this: Felicia Shelton, traffic division chief for the Department of Transportation, at 443-984-2150.

City residents can also call 311 to report problems.


Baltimore's Department of Public Works plans to advertise next month a contract to alleviate an erosion problem on North Charles Street near Loyola College and the Evergreen museum and library.

Watchdog first reported in January that a chain-link fence had stood for years cordoning off a steep embankment on Charles Street north of Cold Spring Lane where dirt had eroded near a tributary of Stony Run.

The erosion occurred because a culvert allowing the water to flow under Charles Street was too short.

Earlier this year, Public Works workers reinforced the fence to protect pedestrians. The department is scheduled to request bids starting next month on a contract to extend the culvert 100 feet, according to spokesman Kurt Kocher, and it could be completed within a year.

Public Works is also waiting for permits to be approved by the Maryland Department of the Environment to complete the project.

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