School zone coming to South Rolling Road
Residents of the South Rolling Road corridor in Catonsville have scored a victory by persuading the State Highway Administration that a school-zone designation is appropriate along the crash-prone route. Residents have complained that speeders going more than 40 mph in a 30-mph zone are making the road unsafe. Designation as a school zone could open the way for the installation of speed cameras.
Here's the letter from the SHA district engineer to the local General Assembly delegation:
Dear Senator Kasemeyer and Delegates Deboy and Malone:
This is a follow-up to our previous email to you on behalf of Ms. Erin Haggerty, regarding her request for a school zone along MD 166 (South Rolling Road) in Baltimore County. We appreciate your interest in safety and assure you that safety is the first and foremost priority of the State Highway Administration.
Please note that our review is complete and we would like to share our findings and recommendations with you. Our traffic engineering staff conducted a review of existing conditions in the vicinity of the Hillcrest Elementary School and Catonsville High School. The review considered factors such as location of crosswalks, school bus transportation, presence of crossing guards, road design and speeds. It was concluded that safety could in fact be enhanced for students walking to and from both schools by extending the existing school zone along MD 166 for Hillcrest Elementary School from Frederick Road to Newburg Avenue. The school zone for Catonsville High School has also been revised, extending from Valley Road to Newburg Avenue. The school zones will include all required signing (i.e., SCHOOL CROSSWALK signs, SCHOOL panels, FINES DOUBLE signs, etc). Arrangements have been made with our maintenance forces to have all signing associated with the school zones in place prior to the start of the new school year. Also, by copy of this email, we will also alert Baltimore County Police Department of the new school zones, and request their assistance of enforcement within the new zones.
Thank you again for your interest in this matter of traffic operations and safety. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me or Mr. Eric G. Tombs Sr., traffic engineering team leader for the area. Mr. Tombs may be reached at 410-229-2386, or via email at email@example.com.
David J. Malkowski
State Highway Administration - District 4
Metropolitan District Engineer
Baltimore and Harford Counties
SHA spokesman Dave Buck said his agency would not install speed zones because it does so only in work zones with speed limits greater than 45 mph. But he said that with the school zone designation, it would be up to Baltimore County whether to install speed cameras.
My view: Put them up as of Jan. 1, giving drivers plenty of warning. Then sit back and see whether the cameras have a positive effect on average speeds and the number of crashes over the next two years. It would be an excellent test case.