Residents want speed limit reduced entering town
CENTREVILLE — More than 165 Symphony Village residents signed a petition in favor of a speed limit reduction on Route 213 in the area of Taylor Mill Road, Pat Fox, a Symphony Village resident told the Centreville Town Council and State Highway Administration representatives Thursday, March 24, at the town meeting.
“We’re asking State Highway to consider lowering the speed limit to 35 mph where it is now 50,” Fox said. “We would like a speed limit of 35 mph to match up with the 35 mph speed limit approximately 800 feet to the north, adjacent to a commercial strip mall.”
If possible, they’d like the speed reduction to begin at the intersection of US 301 and Route 213, Fox said.
Fox said that the community, which caters to active adults over 55 years old, has residents who have expressed concerns about their slower responses and their fear of pulling out onto the road with cars speeding into town. She said it’s a “great difficulty pulling out into traffic driving 50 mph and greater for anyone on Taylor Mill Road, regardless of their age.”
Symphony Village resident George Drake agreed with Fox’s comments and said it seemed like vehicles stopped at the intersection of US 301 and Route 213 “stop there and then they hit the gas and come on up the town as fast as they can come.”
Drake said he and some friends in the neighborhood ride their bikes out of the community and would like to have it safer by reducing the speed limit.
For Jeff Wentz, district two traffic engineer with SHA who attended the meeting, said potential solutions can be looked at.
A traffic engineering study, which Wentz said could be completed within 45 days, would allow SHA engineers can begin to understand the segment of road and create solutions based on its results. The study would include researching historical accident data, collecting speed limits and volume counts and spacing in between cars as well as other statistical information.
When SHA sets a speed limit, Wentz said, officials use the 85 percentile speed guideline, which is “the speed at or below which 85 percent of the motorists drive on a given road when unaffected by slower traffic or poor weather,” according to SHA’s website. “This speed indicates the speed that most motorists on that road consider safe and reasonable under ideal conditions.”
Wentz said the 85 percentile speed guideline is a good indicator of how the speed limit should be set because when the limit is posted at that 85 percentile average, everybody’s traveling about at the same speed. He said it is the safest condition and can cut down on rear-end type collisions and unnecessary passing. And for the people in vehicles on the side streets, he said, it creates a certain expectancy so the driver can judge when it’s a safe or unsafe time to pull out into traffic.
The speed study is usually collected in one hour periods because the device SHA uses can’t store too much more information without recording it. So engineers collect data, record it and repeat the process throughout a set period of time.
Council members Jim Beauchamp and George “Smokey” Sigler suggested the use of a roundabout or flashing caution signals near Taylor Mill Road.
Though Wentz said a roundabout can be a good traffic calming device in certain areas, SHA tries to “steer away from that because they can be quite costly .... Unless it serves a real function, then it’s not something we really want to pursue.”
Greg Holsey, SHA district engineer, said there was a segment of MD 273 that had a “long history” of accidents, which is what drove the funding to be able to create the roundabouts there.
“Unfortunately it seems like you have to have a problem to drive the funding,” he said. “Traffic volumes are one of those drivers, but the accident or crash data is another driver.”
As for Sigler’s suggestion of flashers on the side of the road to indicate to drivers an intersection is approaching, Holsey said the administration will look at “a myriad of traffic calming devices.”
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One-year-old Addison Webb, center, takes off to find Easter eggs during the Lions Club hunt at Millstream Park Saturday. Her grandmother says this is Addison’s third hunt already.
Symphony Village residents requested during the Thursday, March 24 Town Council of Centreville meeting a speed limit reduction from 50 mph to 35 mph along a segment of MD 213 near Taylor Mill Road.