Representatives for the communities of Brooklyn and Curtis Bay met with Jessica Keller, Chief of Transportation planning for the city of Baltimore on Wednesday March 30 at the Environmental Education Center at Masonville Cove to discuss current and future projects relating to those southern-most communities of the city.
Among topics discussed were establishing new truck routes, traffic calming, and enhancements to the intersections at Potee Street and Patapsco Avenue, and Potee Street and Frankfurst Avenue. The primary concern of both communities was the redirection of heavy truck traffic away from the struggling small business districts in both Curtis Bay and Brooklyn.
Specifically, residents wish to be rid of the danger and aggravation of having loaded tractor-trailer rigs roaring through their communities, spewing choking exhaust and causing damage to the infrastructure and buildings of what should be zoned as “business local” environments.
Residents from Brooklyn want relief for the beleaguered “Main Street” section of Hanover Street at Patapsco Avenue, which sees frequent blockages due to over-sized rigs which are forced to use what is a narrow street intended only for local small businesses. Bill Lehman of Brooklyn introduced a design for improvements to the intersection at Potee and Patapsco, which depicted a left turn lane that would allow north bound traffic to turn left onto Patapsco Avenue from Potee Street. In addition, the Brooklyn representatives gave instructions on how truck traffic from Frankfurst Avenue could be diverted off Hanover through some simple modifications to the existing roadways.
All suggestions were immediately shot down by chief transportation planner, Jessica Keller, as being too costly. Her summary estimation for a left turn lane and traffic light modification was $750,000.00 dollars. In fact, no matter how inexpensive any plan might be, she confessed that there is zero money in the traffic fund for any enhancements whatsoever, and that this will probably remain the case for years to come.
Curtis Bay representatives questioned what progress had been made regarding a traffic study that was to be started over a year ago, which was to study a future Curtis Bay Bypass or South Baltimore Expressway that would carry all truck traffic in and out of Fairfield along a path parallel to the existing roadways of Curtis and Pennington Avenues. No answer was given.
Neither was an answer given as to why one recommendation that was put forth years ago to eliminate the tolls for trucks which enter and exit I895 without using the tunnel has never been enacted. Allowing free access to I895 for such trucks would remove much truck traffic from smaller local roads which were never designed for such heavy usage.
Local residents who would like more information or have suggestions of their own are encouraged to contact their respective community associations and representatives.