Fresh think­ing needed on traf­fic, bridge is­sues

Record Observer - - Opinion -

A whoop­ing turnout Tues­day of 60 per cent of the reg­is­tered vot­ers of Queen Anne’s County nom­i­nated all but one of the Or­ga­ni­za­tion Demo­cratic can­di­dates to of­fice for the Gen­eral Elec­tion in­Novem­ber, ac­cord­ing to un­of­fi­cial fig­ures re­ceived at the Board of Elec­tion Su­per­vi­sors’ of­fice.

It was not un­usual — in 1962, the Or­ga­ni­za­tion boys put in all but one of their stan­dard bear­ers.

The only can­di­date to be nom­i­nated who ran in­de­pen­dently was Kent Is­land mer­chant Julius Groll­man, who piled up 2,254 votes in the un­of­fi­cial county — to led all county com­mis­sioner nom­i­nees.

* * * Three vol­un­teer fire­men from Sudlersville es­caped in­jury Sun­day when the fire truck they were on was in a mi­nor col­li­sion with a car on the Duhamel Corner Road, near Sudlersville.

A Galena fire­man was not as for­tu­nate — he suf­fered a bro­ken foot when the truck he ws rid­ing was struck by a car just a few hours ear­lier.

… Just about 1 p.m. near Massey, truck driven by John Duhamell of Galena Fire Com­pany stopped in the dirt road to ex­tin­guish a fire in some log­ging equip­ment. A car driven by Samuel W. John­ston, 44, Galena, failed to stop in time and hit the rear of the truck, pin­ning Richard Han­i­fee, 17, by the leg.

* * * Plans for a new quar­ter­mil­lion dol­lar library build­ing were ap­proved, di­rec­tors and new of­fi­cers named at the an­nual meet­ing of the Queen Anne’s County Free Library this week in Cen­tre­ville.

A record 63,045 books, pe­ri­od­i­cals, records and films were cir­cu­lated through the main library, the branch in Sudlersville and the book­mo­bile dur­ing the past year, ac­cord­ing to Mrs. Mary John­ston, li­brar­ian.

While new books are be­ing pur­chased to keep up with reader in­ter­est, Mrs. John­ston pointed out that they can­not be dis­played on the shelves be­cause of the crowded con­di­tions.

One out of five teenage girls who took a preg­nancy test pro­vided by the Queen Anne’s County Health De­part­ment scored pos­i­tive dur­ing a six-month pe­riod this year.

One of six teens — 128 — out of an ap­prox­i­mate high school pop­u­la­tion of 700 felt wor­ried enough to take the health de­part­ment-pro­vided test, a fact that has of­fi­cials con­cerned enough to sub­mit a grant pro­posal to the state for a peer coun­sel­ing pro­gram.

The health de­part­ment pro­vided 128 preg­nancy tests to girls under 18 from Jan­uary through May, with 26 scor­ing pos­i­tive, ac­cord­ing to a May health de­part­ment memo. Based on th­ese statis­tics, the health de­part­ment sub­mit­ted a pro­posal to the Gov­er­nor’s Coun­cil on Ado­les­cent Preg­nancy for a $15,000 grant to sup­port a com­mu­nity in­cen­tive pro­gram en­ti­tle PRAISE (Peers Reach­ing Ado­les­cents In School and Ev­ery­where).

*** The his­toric Salem Methodist Epis­co­pal Church cel­e­brated its 60th An­nual Home­com­ing Ser­vice Sun­day with ap­prox­i­mately 30 in at­ten­dance.

Although or­ga­nized in 1829, the church was not built un­til 1845. Even then the “new” church was not quite new. In 1887 church mem­bers re­plac­ing the roof dis­cov­ered that lum­ber from old barns had been used to con­struct the “new” Salem Church.

Salem Church was ac­tive un­til the death of its pas­tor, Louis Philip Corkran, in 1931. Since that time, the church has been used just one a year, for the cel­e­bra­tion of its Home­com­ing Ser vice.

The fact that the church has sur­vived to be­come 146 years old is due largely to the Board of Trustees, many of whom have been ac­tive in the church all of their lives, as have their an­ces­tors.

One such con­trib­u­tor, Mrs. Edith Leiby Thomp­son, past (sic) away last week at the age of 90. George Leiby, brother to Mrs. Thomp­son, said, She was mar­ried in the church Christ­mas day in 1918.”

*** A house fire killed four peo­ple early Sun­day in a ru­ral sec­tion of Milling­ton.

The vic­tims are be­lieved to be mem­bers of the David Noe fam­ily, said Deputy Chief State Fire Mar­shal Bob Thomas.

Two vic­tims were found in a front bed­room of the sec­ond floor of the wood-frame house and two were found in a sec­ond-floor hall­way.

While it is ad­mirable to hear the gov­er­nor’s con­cerns about traf­fic at the Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Bridge, an an­nounce­ment fo­cus­ing on a shiny new bridge lacks any real dis­cus­sion about cost, im­pact on com­mu­ni­ties and the un­der­stand­ing that a sprawl­ing flood of peo­ple, traf­fic and pave­ment can de­tract from ru­ral Mary­land.

There is a large and grow­ing body of ev­i­dence and near con­sen­sus that our con­ven­tional ap­proach of solv­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion by in­creas­ing road­way ca­pac­ity is in­ef­fec­tive over the long term. The most im­me­di­ate ex­am­ple that comes to my mind is Route 1 in Delaware — an ex­pen­sive, new northsouth high­way that was over ca­pac­ity the day it opened. It brought mas­sive sprawl in south­ern New Cas­tle County, im­me­di­ately over­whelm­ing the new in­fra­struc­ture.

We are long over­due for a more mod­ern ap­proach to trans­porta­tion plan­ning — one that em­pha­sizes mass tran­sit and other for­ward­think­ing mea­sures that make the most out of the in­fra­struc­ture we have, and em­pha­sizes land use de­ci­sions that de­crease auto de­pen­dence and in­crease trans­porta­tion choices.

What about ex­panded bus ser­vices with a stronger back­bone ser­vice from Bal­ti­more and Wash­ing­ton to Ocean City, stop­ping in key pop­u­la­tion cen­ters and com­ple­men­tary ser­vice from ru­ral ar­eas to the back­bone stops? Or publicpri­vate part­ner­ships such as a high-speed ferry op­tion? And should an even­tual new bridge be built, what about re­vis­it­ing pas­sen­ger rail, which used to ex­ist on the Shore?

Fresh think­ing on the Bay Bridge sit­u­a­tion could also in­clude ideas such as set­ting up telecom­mut­ing cen­ters in our Eastern Shore small towns, and work poli­cies such that state and fed­eral em­ploy­ees could work from the Shore on peak traf­fic days or even more of­ten, sav­ing fuel, pol­lu­tion and traf­fic while also stim­u­lat­ing the vi­brancy of our towns. Im­ple­ment­ing new tolling tech­nolo­gies and poli­cies that do away with the toll booths, in­creas­ing rates dur­ing peak use pe­ri­ods and de­creas­ing rates for high oc­cu­pancy ve­hi­cles is yet an­other di­rec­tion that could be ex­plored for con­sid­er­ably less money.

Spend­ing $5 mil­lion to study the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of a new Bay Bridge feels like fid­dling while Rome burns. Let’s talk about the things we can do to­day to re­lieve con­ges­tion im­me­di­ately, then think about what might be needed to man­age Bay travel de­mand over the long term, and only there­after con­sider whether a new bridge is worth its con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial and en­vi­ron­men­tal cost.

Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Eastern Shore Land Con­ser­vancy

FILE PHOTO

The ap­pre­hen­sive look of County Com­mis­sioner Can­di­date Julius Groll­man’s face as he cast his bal­lot Tues­day morn­ing in Stevensville soon changed to one of glee as the count be­gan to come in pro­claim­ing him the county fa­vorite.

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