DOT officials visit neighborhood to discuss traffic issues

photo of street with traffic lights
Park Ave. from North Ave. was one area reviewed with DOT (Credit: Google Streetview)

In what optimists might see as a sign of progress, two officials from the City’s Department of Transportation (DOT) last month came to Bolton Hill with and at the urging of city council member Eric Costello to investigate complaints about traffic dangers.

William Haynes, chief of the traffic division, and Clea Baumhofer, Complete Streets manager, said they hoped to come back later with traffic-calming ideas that could be implemented after further conversation with the neighborhood. They were escorted around by Bolton Hill residents Sebastian Ruhs of Laurens Street, Madeleine Rubenstein of Bolton Street and Jessica Dailey, until recently on Lafayette Avenue (now on Park), along with Kevin Cross for BHCA’s Transportation Committee.

Costello came with three aides. He has repeatedly said that nothing will happen quickly; DOT is flooded with traffic-calming requests, with 70+ from his 11th district alone.

The group visited Laurens Street to discuss ways to slow traffic and increase compliance with stop signs leading to and from North Avenue. They discussed speed humps, painted stop bars and lane lines and possible street curb bump-outs. Some neighbors have proposed making Laurens one-way, with angled parking that would increase available slots. The DOT team also suggested repainting crosswalks.

Similar traffic-calming ideas were explored for Lafayette Avenue east from Eutaw Place toward Mt. Royal, with particular attention to intersections at Mason and John Streets with heavy pedestrian crossings. Residents on and near Lafayette submitted petitions gathered by Jessica Dailey and Drew Dupuy, signed by 206 residents including 59 percent of residents on the affected area of Lafayette. They also staged a 311 campaign, urging residents to call the city hotline to report driver misbehavior.

Cross said recent requests for work on similar problems affecting Dolphin Lane is in the queue but was not part of the discussion on this visit, Sept. 18.  “This visit was just about Lafayette and Laurens,” he said.