Dundalk road resurfaced but lanes not restriped

The problem: A Dundalk street was resurfaced, but lane lines were not repainted.

The backstory: Shirley Gorman drives within the lines.

The Dundalk resident has lived on Kavanagh Road for nearly half a century, and she used the yellow stripes that once divided the two-way street to keep her vehicle in its lane.

But when her street and others nearby in her community were resurfaced nearly a year ago, the lines were not repainted.

"I just think it's so much better driving with those lines on the road," Gorman said. "If my fender is lined up with that line I know I'm fine with the cars parked."

Without the stripes, "people shoot right down the middle of the road, really," she said. And it's hard to maneuver if someone is double-parked, she said.

Gorman also expressed concerns about the quality of the material used to resurface the road. Every day she sweeps up loose gravel from the street, and the surrounding roads look the same. "None of them look nice at all," she said.

The roads were resurfaced in October, as part of a large-scale repaving project, said David Fidler, spokesman for the Baltimore County Department of Public Works.

However, although Kavanagh, Kentley and other surrounding streets had stripes before, they are not to be striped again, because they are very minor roadways, Fidler said.

County DPW officials rely on guidelines from the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices that suggest striping for arterial or collector roads on which a certain number of vehicles travel each day — far fewer than the number that roll down Kavanagh, he said.

So why were there lane lines in the past? "There was a lot more money a long time ago for striping," Fidler said. "We are getting more conservative in our use of the money."

Transportation planning officials are trying to reduce the number of striped roads, because the stripes require maintenance.

He added that the "slurry seal" used to resurface Kavanagh extends the life of the roadway for a few more years. Rather than repave it right away, crews can coat the street in a thin layer of tar-like material and cover it with small chips of stone.

Who can fix this: County residents who have questions about street striping can contact the Bureau of Traffic Engineering and Transportation Planning at 410-887-3554.

— Liz F. Kay

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