Wednesday, October 04, 2006

It was deja vu Tuesday night as our civic association had a meeting regarding speed bumps at Woodacres ES. This is where we used to have our Cub Scout meetings. I still remember I was in Den 4, and the really fast pinewood derby car I had. It was red with a thumbtack for a steering wheel. Who else had a steering wheel on their car? How about the uniforms, with all the patches and a "neckerchief" (was that a real word?) to top it off?

But it wasn't deja vu about that. It was from having this same meeting, about the same street, five years ago. And the same engineer from the County government, Tracy Wroe, was there to make the presentation and answer questions. Five years' worth of technological advances replaced the xerox maps with a blown-up satellite photo of part of the neighborhood, and one of those County channel-type TV programs about traffic calming shown on a TV wheeled into the room.

An informal vote showed a very slight majority opposed to bumps. Of course, the room did not contain all of the residents who will actually sign or reject any petition for installing the bumps. They will make the final decision. But it did make for another lively discussion that didn't get quite as heated as the previous meeting. What did emerge is a consensus that the No Right Turn on Westbard from River Road has created a problem with cut-through traffic. Both sides agree on that. But there doesn't seem to be much optimism about reversing it. And one neighbor brought up something even I don't remember, that there was once a dead-end at the Westbard/Ridgefield intersection.

Obviously, the concern is for the residential end of Westbard. But I've never quite understood why it was changed because the Giant 18-wheel trucks used to turn right onto Westbard at River. Since the change, those drivers have had to turn right at Ridgefield. If you've been at the light when they make that manuever, you really feel bad for them. It's far too tight of a turn for the truck, and dangerous for the Giant driver and other drivers. On rare occasions, they've struck the pole, and honestly, sometimes it looks like the truck is going to tip over and land on cars waiting at the light. Scary.

So I've long believed we should start by giving Giant access to Westbard again. The root cause of regular cut-through traffic is the poorly timed lights all along River Road and at Little Falls/Massachusetts Ave. We can improve that, and my proposed Express Bus along River Road will reduce some traffic there.

We need to find additional solutions, and quickly.

If I am elected, my plans for photo radar are far broader than our current delegates'. I am quite dissatisfied with the current photo radar law passed by the legislature. Furthermore, we can rotate cameras if necessary, while signage will suggest that a camera is always present.

Secondly, the County should add more police officers and set up rotating speed traps in residential neighborhoods during the worst hours. It's part of what I mean by priorities and values. When spending money, we need to address the critical issues of basic needs of citizens and public safety. Housing, health care, employment, utilities, transportation, and crime. After reading my web site, I am confident you'll find my priorities and values are more in line with yours than our current delegates'. By voting for Robert Dyer on November 7, you can finally have your priorities and values represented in Annapolis.

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