Dud­ley Av­enue now closed to through traf­fic

Record Observer - - News - By CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

QUEEN­STOWN — As an ex­per­i­ment, the Queen­stown town com­mis­sions de­cided to bar­ri­cade one end of Dud­ley Av­enue to stop speed­ing mo­torists from us­ing the road as a through way.

At the com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing on Wed­nes­day, Sept. 28, the com­mis­sion­ers unan­i­mously passed a res­o­lu­tion that says “the south­ern end of Dud­ley Av­enue (near the cor­ner of Dud­ley Av­enue and Del Rhodes) shall be closed to traf­fic.”

The bar­ri­cade at the in­ter­sec­tion will in­clude such things as bar­rels, con­crete bar­ri­ers, cones and a sign say­ing the road is closed, Com­mis­sioner Michael Bow­ell said.

Dud­ley Av­enue should have the bar­ri­cades on Tues­day, Oct. 4.

Bow­ell de­scribes a three­p­ronged ap­proach the com­mis­sion­ers are tak­ing on the is­sue. First the tem­po­rary block­age on Dud­ley, but also the place­ment of “traf­fic calm­ing de­vices” on Del Rhodes that tell peo­ple the speed limit and to slow down. The third so­lu­tion is traf­fic en­force­ment by the state po­lice and sher­iff’s of­fice.

“Ev­ery­thing will be a 30-day ex­per­i­ment, and then if it suf­fices to meet our ob­jec­tive, we will con­sider this per­ma­nent,” Bow­ell said.

The res­o­lu­tion passed by the com­mis­sion­ers de­tails the rea­sons for their ef­forts: “Whereas, the Com­mis­sion­ers of Queen­stown have re­ceived com­plaints from cit­i­zens and have ob­served an in­crease in the vol­ume of traf­fic on Dud­ley Av­enue, as well as an in­crease in ve­hi­cles trav­el­ing at ex­ces­sive speeds.”

The is­sue came to a head re­cently when Lon­nie An­thony of Queen­stown ap­proached the com­mis­sion­ers about the speed­ing traf­fic on Dud­ley, even pre­dict­ing there would be a “catas­tro­phe.” He men­tioned a woman’s dog was hit and killed while the woman was walk­ing the dog on a leash on Dud­ley, which has no side­walks.

A crowd of Queen­stown res­i­dents, many el­derly, at­tended the com­mis­sion­ers’ meet­ing on Sept. 28, and ex­pressed their con­cerns about speed­ing on Dud­ley and a gen­eral crime prob­lem in the town. About 20 peo­ple at­tended the meet­ing, and most of them spoke about those is­sues.

In­cluded in that crowd was An­thony.

The speed­ing hasn’t stopped, he said, and the speed bumps aren’t work­ing. “The speed­ing is out of con­trol. We need to con­sider a change,” he said.

One el­derly woman said she fears walk­ing to her mail­box across the street be­cause the traf­fic is so bad. She also said it’s a real prob­lem with chil­dren on the street. Res­i­dents also cited the in­ci­dent where a Grasonville woman was struck by a car as she was walk­ing her dog on Prospect Bay Drive West on Thurs­day, Sept. 22.

A male res­i­dent said Dud­ley begs for a side­walk, whether the street is two-way or one-way.

One woman talked about her win­dow be­ing shot out by a BB gun, and many res­i­dents talked about their fear of young peo­ple in the neigh­bor­hood and fear of re­tal­i­a­tion by peo­ple re­ported to po­lice.

Town Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent Tom Wil­lis Jr. at one point sug­gested the town will need its own po­lice of­fi­cer, who would be an off-duty sher­iff’s deputy, who will work on ro­tat­ing shifts so peo­ple can’t tell when he’s work­ing. The com­mis­sion­ers also talked about a town watch.

Mark Meil, pa­trol com­man­der for the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, at­tended the meet­ing and ad­dressed the res­i­dents and talked to some af­ter­ward. Ad­dress­ing the res­i­dents, he urged them to call 911, which they can do anony­mously, if they see some­thing.

“We try to do the best we can, but you have to call,” he said.

Some­times peo­ple post on Face­book, but he doesn’t have the staff to mon­i­tor it all the time, he said.

Af­ter the meet­ing, John Foster of Queen­stown said the prob­lem on Dud­ley venue has been go­ing on for years, cit­ing two cir­cum­stances that made it worse. Royal Farms opened, cre­at­ing more traf­fic, and the state changed Route 301 so mo­torists can’t go north on 301 from Del Rhodes, mak­ing mo­torists cut through Dud­ley to get back onto 301 north­bound.

“We’ve got too much traf­fic, and it’s driv­ing through fast. It’s been a prob­lem for 30 years, and it’s got­ten worse,” he said.

PHOTO BY CHRISTO­PHER KERSEY

Mark Meil, pa­trol com­man­der of the Queen Anne’s County Sher­iff’s Of­fice, speaks to a res­i­dent of Queen­stown af­ter a crowd of peo­ple com­plained at a Queen­stown com­mis­sion­ers meet­ing about the traf­fic on Dud­ley Av­enue and crime in the area.

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