JUNCTION FOCUS: Traffic – mission impossible?

JUNCTION FOCUS • BY TERESA LO

The traffic at the intersection of Carroll Avenue and Route 410 is an almost impossible situation, said a Takoma Park resident – speaking for many.

The intersection, near Takoma Junction, is frequently jammed with traffic because both roads have only two lanes, said Daryl Braithwaite, Takoma Park’s Public Works Director.

Three schools are located near the intersection. In the mornings and afternoons there are children who walk to and from school, use the crosswalks, and cause stops in traffic. The crosswalks are set up so that whenever someone hits the crossing button, the traffic will stop, said Braithwaite.

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The two crosswalks required to cross from one side of Carroll Avenue to the other at the Junction. Photo by Bill Brown.

“It’s always a balancing act between safe ‘cross-age’ and stopping traffic,” said Braithwaite.

The Takoma Junction redevelopment that the city council is currently considering will also add to the pedestrian traffic.

“The traffic here is an almost impossible situation. The only parking accessible in this area is that lot [next to the co-op],” said Ina Phillips, owner of Healey Surgeons located on Carole Avenue, “I don’t think they’re ready for prime time yet.”

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However, intersection parking decreased when the city installed parking meters on the street and a park-and-pay system in the city lot next to the Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-op

Philips believes that many commuters used to park their cars in those spaces, and they have now parked elsewhere due to the meters.

Construction on Carroll Avenue, Route 410, and surrounding roads pose a problem for traffic. Luis Nascimento, an employee of R.S Automotive located close to the intersection, said he was stuck in traffic for 30 minutes waiting at a stoplight due to construction on Route 410.

The Maryland State Highway Administration is also doing construction on New Hampshire Avenue by Sligo Creek, which redirects traffic to the intersection, causing even more cars in the area, said Braithwaite.

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Both Carroll Avenue and Route 410 are state roads so only the Maryland State Highway Administration can make any changes to those roads. However the SHA is unable to widen the roads, as there are houses up against them that would need to be purchased in order to do so, said David Buck, Media Relations Manager for the SHA.

The SHA will improve Route 410’s signals to better manage traffic sometime in 2015 or 2016, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation’s six-year budget plan for transportation.