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Center Turn Lane on Edmondson Avenue Could Be Eliminated

As Baltimore County prepares to add bike and parking lanes to the road, the center turn lane could be eliminated.

Baltimore County's plan to add bike and parking lanes along Edmondson Avenue from Dutton Avenue to the city line could involve eliminating the center turn lane.

At a community input meeting Wednesday night at , County Planner Kathy Schlabach said that the idea would be proposed to the Public Works Department if there were no opposition from the community.

Residents in attendance were asked to fill out comment cards sharing their opinion, but a majority of the dozen there said they supported the idea.

The Maryland Bikeways Program awarded grants for 2012, which included $15,000 for bike lanes to be installed on . Currently bike lanes on Edmondson Avenue end at the Baltimore city line and are not seen again until after Dutton Avenue.

There are there different types of lane improvements the county will add on Edmondson Avenue: a bike lane, a shared bike and parking lane and separate parking and bike lanes where space allows.

Because there are parts of Edmondson Avenue where parking is allowed, some space will be shared between cars and bicyclists.

The grant will also pay for four types of signs added to the road, including marking distances to the established trails such as the No. 9 Trolley Trail and the Gwynns Falls Trail in West Baltimore.

The center turn lane would still be available at traffic light intersections and at the Baltimore Beltway, but residents said at the meeting that the center turn lane allows drivers to maintain a high rate of speed and pass drivers turning.

The county hopes to install the bike lanes by the end of summer or early fall. The project is the first of its kind in Baltimore County, Schlabach said. 

"This is an area where this a lot of interest and you already have a lot of stuff that we can build on," she said.

D. Dudley June 15, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Widening roads, center turn lanes etc....are highly overrated in most cases. More space gives speeders and reckless drivers more confidence to test their limits. Of course the real sadness with Edmondson is the disruption of "Continuity of Community". The most consistent compliment I get from non-Catonsville residents is how walkable our community is. This "walkability" is not just a function of sidewalks...it is also a function of perception of continuity. When I go for walks...I cross Rolling Road fairly regularly although it is a busy road. I rarely cross Edmondson....it is like it is some other world over on the other side of that big wide road. Transforming the extra space into bike lanes will in essence shrink the width....it will slow traffic a bit but the reckless drivers will have no place to go. As far as people who live there and need to turn....turn lanes are not to your advantage....all they do is encourage more traffic in front of you homes....at HIGH SPEEDS!!!
charlie Murphy June 15, 2012 at 03:48 AM
@ Mari: It does cost us but at least it keeps the money local and helps get rid of our oil dependence. According to the 2008 Foreign Trade Statistics by the U.S. Census Bureau, United States annual oil debt has reached $386 billion, which is greater than our $266 billion debt with China. One in five barrels of oil imported into the U.S. comes from countries that the State Department considers to be hostile to the U.S., and “dangerous and unstable”, therefore directly transferring large amounts of funds to these hostile regimes. The statistics come from the Truman Project, check them out for yourself.
Jeff June 15, 2012 at 12:58 PM
If there are no driveways and there has always been parking for those houses on the street, I agree it would be unfair to take the parking spots away. However, without a place for cars to go when passing a turning car, the bikers will always be at risk. Also, having parked cars next to a fairly high speed road is a hazard for drivers who drift out of their lanes.
Nancy L. Seibel June 17, 2012 at 05:28 PM
I am so happy to hear that we will get bike lanes on Edmonson. There is lots of evidence for the health, economic and social benefits of bicycling. Not to mention its fun! I love it that Baltimore County is advancing infrastructure for cyclists. We are making progress and at the same time there is lots more we can do.
rc June 18, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I live on Edmondson Ave and agree that a continuous turn lane creates a false impression that it is ok to blow past turning traffic at 50 miles an hour. Part of reverting Edmondson Ave back to a calm residential artery and not "Alt Rt. 40" will require removing the turning lane at all areas except at the traffic lights and junction at 695. My hope is that this will also retain room for badly needed sidewalks along Edmondson Ave. As stated in the approved 2020 Master Plan this area is highest priority for both sidewalks and bike lanes on both sides. We need both these improvements. Although we need improvments as soon as possible I do not want to see the quickly applied bike lanes end or prolong any chance at getting the needed pedestrian safety. Fed and State govs TAX us anyway lets get some of it back to the local level and implement the whole plan.

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