This doesn't really matter to probably 99% of the people on the board, but I wanted to rage about this for a minute. Back in July the MD SHA (state highway administration) changed I-70 between the park and ride at the start of I-70 to I-695. Aparently the area was popular for street racing late at night. I can understand why as from the park and ride to I-695 there is rarely any traffic past about 10pm or before about 5am and it is 3 lanes wide plus super wide shoulders (could fit 6 cars wide if you were careful).
There is the 'on ramp' where I-70 starts at the park and ride, a merge from Ingleside Ave. and then one from Rt-170/Security Blvd. so it builds from 1 lane up to 3 (each on ramp adds a lane) and these three lanes eventually go to I-70, I-695 outer loop and I-695 inner loop about a mile after they all come together (for a total length of about 2 miles).
In late June there was a crash killing 2 spectators and serious injuring the drivers of two cars there during a street race. Well the SHA decided to step in and put a stop to it. They've closed all but a single lane, the merges are all very abrupt (no more then 50 yards to merge to the single lane from each on ramp) and the 'closed' lanes are now blocked by large road closure signs to prevent anyone from driving on them (A sign about every 20 yards).
The consequence of this is instead of being able to nicely merge at the posted speed limit of 55mph it forces traffic to slow to about 10-15mph to funnel through the single lane most days (4 out of 5 days during rush hour) and some times (that fifth day) traffic slows to a halt and backs-up the on ramps taking 5-6 minutes to get on and through instead of the maybe 60 seconds to drive that section it took before. I've also witnessed quite a few near misses include several near taking-outs of the road signs because there is 0 shoulder to swerve on to to miss an accident now (not as dangerous as having closed it with jersey barries, but these are big heavy signs, they are going to serious screw your car up or even shatter your windshield putting the driver/passengers in danger).
Frankly in my opinion instead of a reasoned, calculated and well planned design to try to limit street racing they decided to just throw a choker collar on it. So now they may have stop street racing, but they've greatly impacted a large number of legitimate driver's commutes and also increased the risk and danger to regular law abiding commuters (vastly outwaying the few illegal street racers and spectators to those illegal street racers).
I just wrote up a nice email to the SHA complaining about it and asking them to please reevaluate the changes to the road. We'll see if I even hear anything back, but I suspect not. If you happen to live in Maryland though (or even not if you want to), please write a NICELY WORDED email to the SHA complaining about the changes and requesting that they reevaluate the changes. My email is below as a sample so you can get an idea of the sort of email to write.
Send it to [email protected]
Or if you want to call and talk to them directly call 1-800-962-3077 for the District 4 office (covers Baltimore County).
"To Whom it may concern,
I wanted to provide feedback on the changes to I-70 between the park and ride and I-695 in Baltimore county. I understand the reasons the changes were undertaken; however, the collateral fall out of the changes has impacted my commute, in some cases significantly. The closure of two lanes and the way the merge is structured frequently causes traffic backups during my evening commute. On average during rush hour traffic has to slow down to 10-15mph to merge and get through the single lane before being able to get on the I-70 or I-695 exits. At least once per week traffic slows to a halt and some times take 5-6 minutes to funnel through the single lane the way the merge is structured. This is opposed to being able to merge seamlessly at the posted speed of 55mph that was possible before. Several times I have witnessed near misses due to confusion over the changes and the poor structuring of the merge combined with the road closure signs that prevent a cleared shoulder to swerve to avoid an accident.
I would make the suggestion that the changes to I-70 near the park and ride be revisited in the hope of both improving the flow of traffic and the safety of regular commuters, which has been seriously impacted by the current changes, while still achieving the goal of making illegal street racing along that section of I-70 difficult or impossible.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
I am also sending a letter to the editor at my local news paper.