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Beltway – Route 1 Intersection Set for Major Improvements

beltway-edgewood-interchange

Great news! The SHA has been studying the interchange at Route 1 and Edgewood road, in order to improve safety at this intersection. Here is the latest concept plan I got from the SHA. Highlights of the improvement include:

1. Three out-bound lanes from Edgewood to Route 1 (currently there are two lanes). The SHA has been in touch with the owner of the property (where the old house was demolished recently), for the right-of way acquisition along Edgewood Road.
2. Two in-bound lanes to Edgewood from Route 1 and I-495 in-bound ramp (currently there is one lane)
3. Elimination of the current ramp going to the internal loop from north bound Route 1.A new ramp is planned, north of the existing one. The eastbound ramp pavement will be removed as part of this project.
4. Elimination of the current ramp coming from the internal loop to Route 1 north. There will be a new two lanes added to the existing ramp going to Route 1 south.

As far as the project’s status goes, topographic survey is anticipated to be completed by the end of next month. At this time, the SHA will have a preliminary concept for this project, however the alignment is not set due to delays in survey. After the project is funded, construction is estimated to start in Spring 2019.

The project will be added to the Project Life Cycle section of SHA’s website and may be viewed here: http://apps.roads.maryland.gov/WebProjectLifeCycle/ProjectHome.aspx?d=36.

Our City staff has been involved in the current concept phase. Additionally, I’ve asked the project manger to come to a future Council worksession, so that we can discuss the project in more details.

Please let us know if you have further questions.

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5 Comments to “Beltway – Route 1 Intersection Set for Major Improvements”

  1. By DAK4Blizzard, September 29, 2015 @ 10:15 pm

    Looks pretty good overall, as it eliminates a couple of tricky merges. One concern I have is that traffic exiting the Beltway northbound will join southbound traffic on the southbound ramp. I typically exit the Beltway to go north on Route 1. I can bypass any traffic that backs up from Route 1 southbound. But if the northbound exit is merged with the southbound one, I’d need to share the same ramp as the southbound traffic, potentially exacerbating the congestion and adding considerable time to my trip. The purple line will hopefully take some cars off the Beltway going towards Route 1, but certainly this congestion pattern will continue. Not shown in the graphic is the beginning of the southbound ramp. I would suggest that the beginning of the ramp be modified in some way so that there is a distinct separation between northbound and southbound traffic. I think the northbound traffic should be able to use a separate lane to enter the ramp. I would consider keeping this lane physically separated on the ramp from the southbound traffic in some manner, so that southbound drivers can’t use the northbound lane to cheat ahead of other southbound drivers and attempt to merge back in, causing more delay and backup.

    I would also ask the SHA to enhance pedestrian access. This should be seen as a rare and important opportunity, as we know it’s not often that Route 1 gets enhanced. (I imagine it’ll take another decade before the rest of Route 1 in north College Park not within this project’s limits gets enhanced.) We should be thinking about how we can get pedestrian/bike access to match what we ultimately want in the sector plan for this stretch of Route1. I do see in the graphic there’s a new crosswalk for pedestrians to cross Edgewood Rd on the east side of Route 1. And it’ll help that pedestrians will cross one fewer ramp along the east side of Route 1.

    I think the sidewalk along the west side of Route 1 should extend north a couple hundred feet to meet the crosswalk on the north side of the Edgewood Rd intersection (where the southbound ramp meets Route 1). I also think we should consider pedestrians crossing Route 1 on the south side of the Edgewood Rd intersection. As I understand, no time window exists for pedestrians to use that crosswalk without traffic having a green light to interfere (i.e. cars always have a green light in at least one direction on Route 1 at this intersection). This includes a green light for traffic turning left from Edgewood Rd southbound onto Route 1. Though this traffic just gets a solid green (not a right-of-way arrow), it is nonetheless a green light that can cause risk for crossing pedestrians, especially at night when pedestrians can’t be seen as easily. This project is proposing an additional lane for such traffic turning left onto Route 1 from Edgewood Rd, and though I’m not against this, it does mean some more risk for a collision. I’d suggest enhancing the lighting at this crosswalk for turning drivers to have a better chance at seeing crossing pedestrians. I’d also suggest at least studying whether it’s possible for pedestrians to get their own designated time-slot to cross Route 1. For example, pedestrians could hit a button on either side of Route 1 at this crosswalk. Preceding or following the next green light for traffic turning left from Edgewood Rd, all traffic would have a red light and the pedestrian signal would indicate to walk. The pedestrians would then have some designated time to use the crosswalk. I understand the crosswalk is 100 feet in length (from the west side of Route 1 to where it’d meet the triangular island in the graphic), and so too much time may be required, as again, this would call for all traffic to be stopped. Still, I think it’s worth considering while the SHA is early on in the design of this.

  2. By Fazlul Kabir, September 29, 2015 @ 11:25 pm

    DAK4Blizzard, Thanks so much for your thoughtful comments. I will ask forward your suggestion to project’s PM for review. Thanks. Fazlul

  3. By Sam, September 30, 2015 @ 7:59 am

    I agree with the previous commenter that this is a rare opportunity to include needed pedestrian improvements. It would also be a missed opportunity to not add bicycle infrastructure to help connect Edgewood road and the shopping center north to where the bike lane starts on rte 1 near ikea. Sadly this seems to always be SHAs last priority. We need to advocate for safe transportation infrastructure for ALL modes.

  4. By Patrick Wojahn, September 30, 2015 @ 11:47 am

    I agree that we need to make sure that SHA takes advantage of the opportunity to look at some pedestrian improvements. Coincidentally, a high school student last year put together a great report on some needed pedestrian improvements at this intersection, which we forwarded on to SHA. The recommended improvements included LED markers at the off-ramp from the Beltway onto southbound Baltimore Ave., as well as increasing the time for the pedestrian signal to cross Baltimore Ave. Another improvement I’ve asked them to look into is a crosswalk on the west side of the intersection of Cherry Hill Road and Baltimore Ave. We will be having a worksession with SHA to discuss these improvements and are open to other suggestions. Thanks to both of you for your comments!

  5. By Bill Smith, October 1, 2015 @ 12:10 pm

    Removing the northbound ramp and putting the northbound traffic in the southbound lane with a left turn at the light is a disaster unless they have some way of separating the north and southbound traffic by something more than a stripe.

    The southbound traffic spills out over all lanes – even into those going across to Edgewood Road. Sometimes it is even is on the shoulders as traffic tries to weave thru there.

    These similar to the points AK4Blizzard made.