Citizen pleads for traffic enforcement on I-83
Joe Zang of Lutherville has been doing his best to get the attention of authorities concerning a lack of traffic enforcement on Interstate 83 in Baltimore city and county. As one who had a near-terminal experience on the Jones Falls Expressway when a speeding driver spun out in front of me, I can sympathize. Here's Zang's letter to Gov. Martin O'Malley:
Office of the Governor
Annapolis, MD 21401
Re: Virtually no traffic enforcement on lower I83
The Jones Falls Expressway (lower Interstate 83) between the beltway in Towson and the Shot Tower in Baltimore City apparently should have its traffic enforcement shared by Baltimore City in the city portion, by Baltimore County to the north, and in its entirety by the State Police since it is an interstate highway?
However, I am here to tell you that virtually no traffic enforcement has happened on that highway in years! Furthermore, I am inclined to sue the State, the City, the County, and all executives involved to reverse this immediately!
The speed limit for most of the county section is 55mph. It changes to 50mph between the Northern Parkway and Maryland Avenue exits; and I believe it is even less further south in the city.
I am 65 years old & semi-retired; but try to keep busy as a travel consultant with my own agency; (despite the economy). My wife still works full time near the 1st Mariner Arena downtown, and we now have just one car. For the past six years, 50% of the time she will have a company car. When she does not, I take her there at 6:30 am & pick her up at 4:00 pm.
This means, that when I take her, I travel I83 four times each day (down & back twice). Sometimes this is 2 or 3 days a week; others times it is the entire week. Thus, my claim to being very knowledgeable about the conditions: poor safety, pre-meditated aggressive drivers, total lack of police presence.
It is only a matter of time before the weekly fender benders will become a major multiple vehicle catastrophe! Apparently each of the entities: State, County, & City are passing the buck of enforcement to the others?
Several years ago, I spotted the County Police staking out a section in the north area; but that seems to have been discontinued. Now & instead, almost each week, I will spot a police vehicle or an unmarked police vehicle speeding down the fast lane; but apparently that officer is just commuting & breaking the law with the rest of the commuters! He/she never pulls anyone over.
Over the years, the commuters have come to know there is no enforcement ever present. The posted speed limits are not only exceeded by the normal (often acceptable) 3-5mph; they now exceed the limit by 10-25mph EVERY SINGLE DAY! It makes no difference if it is great weather or horrible weather.
When I move from the beltway onto I83 south, I am forced for the most part to maintain the status quo of 3-5mph over until ½ mile north of Northern Parkway. There I begin to do the limit or less (despite intimidation). Then all hell breaks loose. Maryland’s drivers must be re-educated that the speed limit does not mean it is the minimum speed! (As a matter of fact, the hell broke loose at the beltway-on-ramp; not to mention it occurs all over Maryland’s highways.)
There is massive tailgating, cutting others off by partial inches, weaving in & out, and aggressive behavior. It is rampant, and it is attempted homicide; and the police in the State, the County, and the City are responsible by virtue of their absence!
I will not tolerate the excuse that there is no money in the coffers. Find it! I do not care if the raised highway lacks proper places on the shoulder for police to stake out an area; Fix It! I will not tolerate dunning letters in response to this complaint. Own up to it! And, I will not be satisfied with an enforcement program that makes a showing for a week or two!
People are going to die because of this lack of enforcement. The State, the County, and the City; and all of their executives OWN THIS PROBLEM! Re-educate the people.
Signed “Joe Zang”