Paul Gordon: No New Year’s blessing for Rock Creek Estates residents -- Gazette.Net


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The residents of Rock Creek Estates didn’t get much of a Happy New Year’s blessing from the city in 2012.

The city’s traffic engineer and Mayor Randy McClement made a decision impacting that area without a public hearing or a vote by the Frederick Board of Aldermen.

On Rosemont Avenue, at the intersection of Shookstown Road, the right turn at the traffic island has been eliminated. It was done at the request of a couple who live near the one-way bridge.

At the Neighborhood Advisory Council 5 meeting in September, where the couple complained about noise and traffic flow, the council officers took no official action on the request.

That intersection has been a major problem that the city sought to solve by placing the island there to better control turning traffic.

In 1990, the aldermen discussed many public complaints about traffic in that area. They had seen traffic backing up on Shookstown Road, waiting to turn left onto Rosemont, and traffic backed up on Rosemont Avenue trying to turn left onto Shookstown Road. Cars were prohibited from making the left turn from Rosemont Avenue from 3 pm to 6 pm.

Even the police department had suggested changes in the intersection because “people were always having to look at their watches when they approach the intersection.”

Two years before, the police monitored the intersection almost daily and had issued more than 700 citations for making illegal left turns during the forbidden hours.

In 1993 after an extensive study for the problem, Officer Donald Putman suggested placing an island in the intersection with no left turns allowed onto Shookstown Road, or any left turns allowed from the road.

It is a solution that has worked well, though not perfectly, for almost 10 years. The limitation in its effectiveness has been created by the increasing traffic, despite the widening of Rosemont Avenue to four lanes.

And the area shouldn’t expect any relief soon because there is a project, if a requested increase in density is allowed, that will only add to the traffic on the roads. There is no way to assure that increased traffic exiting the property will not create a hazard unless the traffic problems at Baughman’s Lane, especially at Shookstown Road and at U.S. 40, are resolved.

U.S. 40 and Rosemont Avenue have been the major concerns, and any remedy the city has tried has failed. The timing of the traffic lights favor the two routes. It would help to put motion controls on the lights so that Baughman’s Lane would not be favored by the traffic signals when there is no traffic approaching and cars are lined up on Military Road. About four or five cars in eachPaul Gordon, a local historian, was mayor of Frederick from 1990 to 1994. Reach him at prg202@comcast.net. lane get to pass through.

At the West Patrick Street intersection often only three cars in each lane on Baughman’s squeeze past the light timed to favor east- and westbound traffic.

So the couple on Shookstown Road who complained to the neighborhoold council and are supported by the mayor have the least of the traffic and noise problems in the western part of town.

The city has failed to solve many traffic problems under their control in the area, such as denying any density increase on Baughman’s Lane. They should do the promised fix of the Military Road, Baughman’s Lane and Rosemont Avenue intersection, which is out of line, and refuse any additional or enlarged entrances and exits at the U.S. 40 intersection until a solution is found for existing traffic.

Reacting to two people without first holding a public hearing is the wrong way to solve the area’s traffic problems, nor is it a Happy New Year’s blessing for the majority of residents in the area.

Paul Gordon, a local historian, was mayor of Frederick from 1990 to 1994. Reach him at prg202@comcast.net.