Res­i­dents want speed limit re­duced en­ter­ing town

Record Observer - - Front Page - By MIKE DAVIS mdavis@kibay­times.com

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.”

Fol­low Mike Davis on Twit­ter: @mike_ kibay­times.

PHOTO BY HAN­NAH COMBS

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.

PHOTO BY MIKE DAVIS

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.

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