Liv­ing as a pris­oner on Kent Is­land

Record Observer - - Opinion -

I’ve lived in north­ern Queen Anne’s County for over 40 years, owned a lo­cal busi­ness and vol­un­teered for var­i­ous or­ga­ni­za­tions. Dur­ing that time, I ashamedly ad­mit to turn­ing a deaf ear to the in­creas­ing com­plaints about the growth of traf­fic con­ges­tion on Kent Is­land and its im­pact on the lives of those who live there. While driv­ing to An­napo­lis from Centreville for a movie, shop­ping or a trip to BWI air­port could be an in­con­ve­nience, it was some­thing to be en­dured and you al­ways al­lowed ex­tra time.

Four years ago, my hus­band and I moved to lovely Kent Is­land. We now un­der­stand the in­creas­ing frus­tra­tion of our fel­low Kent Is­land res­i­dents re­gard­ing traf­fic. Its im­pact which was once only dur­ing the beach sea­son is now a year round is­sue re­sult­ing in what can only be com­pared to a man­dated sen­tence of home-ar­rest for Kent Is­lan­ders. In ef­fect, cit­i­zens of this won­der­ful is­land are rel­e­gated to their com­mu­ni­ties not only be­cause of the amount of traf­fic on Route 50 but trav­el­ers’ abil­ity to use their GPS sys­tems tak­ing take them on back roads and al­ter­nate routes, all of this lead­ing to gridlock. Go­ing any di­rec­tion for church, gro­ceries, phar­macy and to An­napo­lis is more than a chal­lenge and re­quires va­ca­tion-like plan­ning.

What ex­as­per­ates the sit­u­a­tion is that there is no re­lief in sight. There is no sense of ur­gency by the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion, nor was there any by prior ad­min­is­tra­tions to re­solve the im­pris­on­ment of our cit­i­zens in Queen Anne’s County. In­sight­ful cit­i­zens of Queen Anne’s County were aghast by this ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ci­sion to re­duce Bay Bridge tolls, re­gard­ing this move as great po­lit­i­cal mar­ket­ing but, more im­por­tantly to Kent Is­land res­i­dents, served only to di­min­ish State fund­ing that could be ear­marked for long over­due road im­prove­ments for our com­mu­nity.

We are grate­ful that at least two of our County Com­mis­sion­ers, Steve Wil­son and Jim Mo­ran, have at­tempted to lever­age An­napo­lis to con­front the prob­lem but quite frankly they have been re­buffed. Yes, road im­prove­ments are costly but what price can we put on our di­min­ish­ing qual­ity of life?

So as we are rel­e­gated to our week­end and hol­i­day con­fine­ment on Kent Is­land, we con­tinue to ask An­napo­lis and our lo­cal gov­ern­ment, when can we ex­pect to be re­leased from this cap­tiv­ity?

Ch­ester

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