OVERLEA — Overlea residents Caitlin and Brent Ceryes have seen the aftermath of dozens of car accidents in front of their house on the multi-lane Northern Parkway, often referred to as the “Northern Speedway,” a major west-east road that runs across the northern part of Baltimore. Increasing concern for safety led the Ceryes' to advocate for improvements, and at long last, they are now seeing movement on the issue.
In response to comments from drivers and pedestrians, the city is reviewing a road improvement project, and the goal is to start construction in spring 2022, according to an official with the city’s Department of Transportation.
Construction is expected to take approximately two weeks.
“The number of accidents are excessive to a ridiculous degree,” said Caitlin, who is also a board member for Overlea Community Association. “This could not have come a moment sooner, and we are very excited about it.”
At the OCA’s June 8 community meeting, DOT representative proposed several varied configurations of improvements to the parkway, most of which involved traffic calming, and those present at the meeting agreed to the purpose and need for such measures.
“It is about car traffic and foot traffic,” she said, referring to the bus stops and pedestrian paths near the road. “If this had not been addressed soon, we would have just been waiting on a catastrophic situation.”
Prior to the meeting, the city conducted a study in which it placed speed cameras along the road to assess mean speeds, and the study results warranted traffic calming measures, according to Brent Ceryes.
In developing the project, traffic engineers have considered how to best slow down vehicle speeds, while maintaining safety and similar traffic volume.
The plan, a DOT official said, is to maintain a single lane on Northern Parkway between Belair Road and Brooke Avenue, and west of Brooke Avenue, to open to the existing lane configuration of two through lanes and a left-turn lane at the intersection with Walther Avenue.
This configuration is “consistent with the approach lanes to this segment of Northern Parkway,” the official added.
Northern Parkway westbound begins at Belair Road, where it is fed by single lane approaches from northbound Belair Road, southbound Belair Road and westbound Maple Avenue.
“(DOT) is not anticipating any major reductions in capacity,” an official said.
Caitlin and Brent have helped get the word out to residents about the DOT’s proposal and said that they have seen broad community support.
“We have been impressed with and are appreciative of the DOT’s response,” Caitlin said. “(DOT) has been very communicative and helpful, and is addressing an important need.”