Capital Op-Ed: “It’s time to fix Forest Drive, Anne Arundel’s most dangerous road”

Capital Gazette: Opinion, December 3, 2019

By: Debbie Dillon, President, Eastport Civic Association

It’s historic!

Following the unanimous passage of a City Council resolution, agency representatives from the State of Maryland, Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis are meeting with designated citizens from each of the eight Annapolis wards to begin to coordinate ways to address planning and mobility issues along the Forest Drive corridor.

It is the first time that these three jurisdictions have worked together to confront and solve the problems that a citizen encounters in entering and driving on this long, essential roadway that hundreds use to get to and from work and to and from medical appointments, grocery shopping and entertainment.

The new Task Force also mandates that meaningful citizen participation be part of this effort.

All agree that something has to be done.

This is happening because Forest Drive is our county’s most dangerous road. From 2015 to 2017, five of its intersections have experienced the most accidents in the county:

  • Forest Drive and Hilltop Lane: 82.
  • Forest Drive and Bywater Road: 60.
  • Forest Drive and South Cherry Grove Avenue: 51.
  • Forest Drive and Tyler Avenue: 45.
  • Forest Drive and Solomon’s Island Road: 42.

Most intersections are failing, they cannot move traffic efficiently during peak periods. This is before the proposed Village at Providence Point is built with 315 units; the Parkside Preserve’s 130 homes are built and sold; the Lidle grocery store, if approved and built, begins operations, and any other retail, healthcare or residential project is either completed or approved.

The city’s Forest Drive Sector Study is controversial because it recommends increased land use density, changing the zoning, without regard to increasing traffic. Forest Drive is already saturated with traffic. The city surrounds Forest Drive, which the county owns and maintains.

Citizens, through the Eastport Civic Association and The Annapolis Neck Peninsula Federation, brought their concerns to the Annapolis City Council and Anne Arundel County’s Transportation Commission. The City Council, led by Alderwoman Rhonda Pindell-Charles, D- Ward 3, and Alderman Ross Arnett, D-Ward 8, directed that a task force be established.

The task force has representatives from state, city and county organizations and citizens from the city and county, including the city and the Annapolis Neck Peninsula — 21 in all:

  • Kate Hopkins, Ward 1; real estate agent/residential broker.
  • Retired Army Col. Christopher Aiken, Ward 2.
  • Lon L. Powell, President, Ward 3; Greater Parole Community Association.
  • Camille Camino, Ward 3; President, Fairfax Road Community Association.
  • Brian Hoxie, Ward 3; Vice-President, Heritage Pool and Community Association.
  • Adam “AJ” Eckert, Ward 3; Annapolis Design District, Ward 3.
  • Kim Golder, Ward 4; Kingsport.
  • Raynaldo Brown, Ward 4; Oxford Landing.
  • Brooks Schandelmeier, Ward 5.
  • Juwann Smith, Ward 6; resident and local entrepreneur representative.
  • Guy Shafer, Ward 7; Bay Woods.
  • Claire Miller, Ward 7; King James Landing.
  • Debra Dillon, Ward 8; president, Eastport Civic Association.
  • Bill Reichhardt, Ward 8; chair, Planning and Major Development Committee, Eastport Civic Association.
  • Lily Openshaw, Bay Ridge community in the county.
  • Sally Nash, acting director of city planning & zoning
  • Ben Sale, city planning commission.
  • Martha Arzu-McIntosh, county transportation; planning and zoning.
  • Ramond Robinson, county transportation director.
  • Michelle Vrikkis, assistant district engineer, traffic and access management, Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration.
  • Kimberly M. Tran, deputy district engineer, Maryland Department of Transportation, SHA.,
  • The Task Force’s first meeting is from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center, 273 Hilltop Lane, in Annapolis in the lower level meeting room. The public is invited.

W.C. Fields said, “There is a time in the affairs of man when he must take the bull by the tail and face the situation.”

It’s time.

Debbie Dillon is the president of the Eastport Civic Association.

Link to Original Article