A street with no name?

The Baltimore Sun

THE PROBLEM : A missing street sign in Essex caused residents to miss deliveries and visitors.

THE BACKSTORY : Roxanne Fleming doesn't know what happened to the sign.

She lives on the northern leg of West Road, toward Hopkins Creek off Middleborough Road in Essex. The sign marking her street - and alerting drivers to the dead end - disappeared over the summer.

Fleming called to report the problem, because without the sign people were getting lost. That section of West Road is offset from the part running roughly south off Middleborough Road, so the family's guests have missed the intersection. The fuel oil truck driver couldn't find the address, either.

"He was on that other West Road, looking for the number," she said.

She had a little trouble identifying the right department to call, however. The phone book listed both "Public Highways" and "Street Signs."

Fleming called in October, and at least once afterward, and was told that a work order was in for that job. "I'm thinking, 'How long does it take to put up a street sign?' " she said.

It turns out there had been a bit of a backlog with sign requests, said David Fidler, spokesman for Baltimore County's Department of Public Works. The Bureau of Traffic Engineering maintains about 90,000 street signs, he said. The street signs office ensures that street names are spelled correctly, he said, and traffic engineering installs replacements.

Fleming was pleased to discover, upon returning from a Valentine's Day dinner, that the street sign and dead-end marker had been replaced.

"We got the whole enchilada," she said. "I'm ecstatic."

WHO CAN FIX THIS: Darrell Wiles, bureau chief, Baltimore County Bureau of Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning, 410-887-3554.

update

After a recent Watchdog discussing out-of-order fire hydrants, several Baltimore County residents wrote in about broken hydrants in their communities, including one reader who said that a broken hydrant in one Parkville neighborhood was more than 700 feet from other working units. Kurt Kocher, the Baltimore public works spokesman, said the hydrant is actually less than 300 feet from a working hydrant. Zoning regulations in Baltimore County differ from those in the city, where hydrants must be no more than 300 feet apart. The allowed distance in the county varies by zoning. The inoperable Parkville hydrant will be replaced, he said. Residents should report problems with Baltimore County hydrants to 410-396-5352.

need help?

Is there something in your neighborhood that's not getting fixed? Tell us where the problem is and how long it's been there by e-mailing watchdog@baltsun.com or calling 410-332-6735.

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