- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
I am an 18-year resident of the Bay Ridge Estates subdivision, where two recent traffic enforcement initiatives have been conducted by the local police. I read the account in the May 4 Enterprise, as well as other accounts on local websites. As one of the many subdivision residents who have repeatedly contacted the police asking for their enforcement, I’d like to speak up on behalf of Bay Ridge.
Over the years, I’ve participated in the gridlock at the Great Mills Road/Route 5 intersection each workday afternoon, and I’m just as frustrated as anyone with the problems there. I’ve adjusted my schedule and my choice of route home to minimize its impact. However, unlike most of the commuters who pass through that intersection, my family has been personally “impacted” — in the fender of one of our cars —by those who choose to fly down the turn lane, the very people who were targeted by the police action.
Like too many other fellow Bay Ridge residents, a couple years ago my wife’s car was hit as she attempted to cross the line of stopped cars on northbound Route 5. Fortunately the damage was minor and there were no injuries, but there are continued rush-hour accidents at that intersection far too often. We’re fortunate that the accidents have been relatively minor so far, but there is a real potential for deadly consequences.
Here’s the real problem: While many commuters are quite willing to leave a gap to let Bay Ridge drivers enter the neighborhood (thank you!), we residents often cannot see clearly into the turn lane. Any large pickup or van blocks our view up the hill. Given the simple geometry of a car’s long hood, we cannot see until our bumper is out into the turn lane, even if we creep across the stopped northbound lane cautiously. A car unwisely hurrying down the hill toward Great Mills Road will not be able to dodge, because they are already in the shoulder turn lane and there is no more room to swerve. The immediate result is a collision.
We residents have repeatedly asked the State Highway Administration to take the simple measure of placing some traffic calming devices, both to discourage shoulder running before the turn lane, and to discourage speeding across the Bay Ridge entrance in the turn lane. It could be something as simple as the round bumps that deter fast driving, but do not prevent emergency vehicles from using that shoulder. So far, the SHA has explicitly declined to act.
So the situation continues, but at least we now have the police assisting us. We residents thank the sheriff’s office for the enforcement.
Speaking to the afternoon northbound commuters: I ask you to remember that a hundred cars cross that line of traffic each afternoon. The shoulder turn lane is not a race track, and the turn lane doesn’t legally start until a couple hundred feet before our neighborhood. If you wait to legally enter the turn lane, you will be slow enough to stop safely. It could be your bumper that doesn’t kill the child in the passenger’s seat that suddenly appears in front of you.
Brandon Munday, Lexington Park