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November 10, 2011

More crashes at usual spot on JFX

A few weeks ago, Baltimore attorney David Rocah contacted Getting There to report that every rain seemed to bring at least one serious crash at a particular spot on the Jones Falls Expressway near Hampden-Woodberry.

I posted a blog item about his concerns and asked Rocah, who has a view from his office of that stretch of southbound Interstate 83 near Union Avenue between Falls Road and Cold Spring Lane. Rocah was good to his word and provided this update Thursday night:

Just so you don't think I'm crazy, I'm going to email you each time another accident occurs, so you can also see whether it happens each time it rains.  Today was (I'm pretty sure) the first rain since you wrote your blog, and sure enough, a few minutes ago there were 2 crashes in the exact same place I described to you.  

After the first accident, which was a single car skidding and hitting the wall, there was a 2nd multi-car pileup which involved a small bus and 1 or 2 other cars (not sure how many other cars; I couldn't see well, because it is dark, but could hear the screeching tires, and the sickening sounds of the cars hitting each other and the wall multiple times).

I have to say, I think its only a matter of time before someone gets killed there.  I've seen people taken away in ambulances almost every time.

So Baltimore City Department of Transportation, what gives here? Is there a design flaw in the highway that's contributing to crashes, or is it simply a case of Maryland drivers refusing to slow down in the rain?

If you do use the JFX, be warned. That area around the Pepsi sign is treacherous when wet.  Of course, which road isn't?


Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:52 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: On the roads


I was driving northbound on the JFX last night and passed the pileup described above. Although it was raining, maniacs were blowing by me like we were in a video game. I was going between 50 and 60, so not exactly poking along. I've driven the JFX for years and the only place I have felt the road puts any special demand on a car's ability to hold the road is northbound shortly after the Mt. Royal overpass. When the road turns hard there and there really is no banking in the roadway, you can really feel your car pull pretty hard to the left. I really think the issue is purely the speed at which people are driving. Put some speed cameras out there and you'll see a change, I hate those things, but these people doing over 60 miles an hour on the JFX are killing and maiming people, so something needs to be done.

Was this latest accident on Southbound I-83 on Thursday night at the end of rush hour? If so, I can back up the writer in the blog post- I sat in bumper to bumper traffic at 7:30 that night and had to get off at Cold Spring and take a alternate route to get downtown. I-83 was backed up south of the Falls Rd exit on north.

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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.

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