On February 28, 2023 the Protect Perryman Peninsula (3P) coalition in conjunction with the office of Harford County Council District F Representative, Jacob, Bennett, sponsored a Town Hall on Traffic and Safety at the Harford County Sheriff’s Office Southern Precinct in Edgewood. The Town Hall was a follow up to the Traffic and Safety Town Hall conducted by 3P in September 2022.
Over 90 citizens and government representatives including Harford County Council President Pat Vincenti, Council Representatives Dion Guthrie and James Riley, Council Attorney Charles Kearney, Aberdeen Councilman Adam Hiob, as well as individuals from State Highway Administration, Harford Department of Public Works, Harford County Sheriff’s Office and Maryland State Police. Along with members from the 3P Steering Committee who were in attendance, we were honored to have 3P attorney Rig Baldwin V and attorney Rachel Clark from Evans & Associates in attendance.
Stacy Stone, PE, Resident Engineer for 3P described the results of a survey of traffic and safety concerns that was conducted in Fall of 2022. The survey’s 69 respondents called attention to issues on Spesutia Road, at the intersection of Woodley Road and Michaelsville Road, the new circle at Perryman and Old Philadelphia Road, and Clubhouse Road. One statistic that caught attention was that 93% of respondents said that they do not feel safe driving on Perryman Road.
Kimon Johnson of SHA described multiple projects that SHA is involved with on the Perryman Peninsula including the Mitchell Property Development. He described mitigation measures that can be recommended such as shoulder widening which narrows the traffic lanes and can lead to slowing of traffic. An audience member pointed out that 93% of traffic survey respondents said that they currently do not feel safe on Perryman Road and wondered how shoulder widening could make drivers feels safer, particularly when it is the clear intent of developers to bring much more truck and car traffic to the peninsula. Mr. Johnson said that SHA is not involved in decisions on approving development, only the acceptance or rejection of the traffic study.
Joe Siemek, Director of Harford DPW, described his office’s role in the development process. As they had for the SHA presentation, multiple audience members decried the current traffic and safety problems on Perryman Peninsula and said they thought it is incomprehensible that any further large industrial developments would be allowed. Mr. Siemek noted that citizens can use Harford County’s “You Click We Fix” reporting system to correct issues that they encounter that are in the county’s responsibility.
During the discussions of the highway projects in the area it was announced that the plans for the Rutters Truck Stop between Rt. 7 and Rt. 40 has been approved. An entrance into the truck stop will be off Rt 40 and the circle at Rt 7. In addition, an update on the extension of Woodley Road to Rt 715 was provided. There is only about 1500 feet needed to connect Woodley Rd to Rt715. There will be a 75% design plan submitted in April. Once reviewed the design will be completed and then send to the Pentagon for final signature.
SGT Joe Sanchez of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office presented statistics on the number of traffic violations occurring over different time periods and described their system for issuing warnings and eventually tickets for truckers who violate parking laws. Given that most drivers are transient, he said it is difficult to control the problem. LT Tim Mullins of the Maryland State Police passed out maps showing the incidence of accidents in Harford County in 2018 and 2022. He also noted how difficult it is to cover 720 miles of road with only four officers. LT Mullins also discussed the Harford traffic safety advisory board, federal motor carrier groups, and a traffic data collector.
Audience members thanked the officers for what they do to try to make roads safe and said they appreciate the difficulties officers face trying to control traffic issues, but blamed careless overdevelopment for the traffic problems that face southern Harford County.
Many thanks to Stacy Stone and Crystal Yamber for all their hard work in putting this Town Hall together and to the members of 3P who assisted. Much gratitude to SHA, DPW, the Sheriff’s Office, and Maryland State Police for participating in the Town Hall and to Jacob Bennett’s office for their assistance.