New traffic patterns and development on Maryland Route 3 have forced more drivers to use Patuxent Road and Piney Orchard Parkway as a bypass to get to state Route 175 in Odenton, residents and police said.
While the roads have long been used as a cut through to get from Crofton to Odenton, the traffic has picked up in recent months as drivers seek to avoid the congestion and confusion of Route 3.
“The traffic coming from Piney Orchard Parkway onto Route 175 has increased dramatically,” said Cpl. Tom Middleton, the traffic coordinator for the Anne Arundel County Police Western District.
Middleton spoke on Jan. 11 at a meeting of the Police-Community Relations Council in Odenton, where dozens of areas residents expressed concern about the increasing number of cars and the speed at which they travel.
Residents said they were particularly concerned about the area near the roundabout in Piney Orchard, where county traffic engineers recently modified the design to keep drivers from changing lanes. Despite the modification, residents said the area is still dangerous, especially for pedestrians walking to and from the nearby shopping center.
“People just don’t respect the speed limits in that area,” said Will Thorpe, a resident of the Cedar Ridge community in Piney Orchard.
Drivers traveling north on Route 3 are known to make a left onto Conway Road, then take Patuxent Road through Woodwardville, until it becomes Piney Orchard Parkway into the heart of Odenton. Residents said this bypass allows drivers to turn off prior to the new Village South at Waugh Chapel development and the new “Michigan-U” traffic pattern.
But residents of Woodwardville and Piney Orchard said the increasing number and speed of the cars has been noticeable.
“It’s such a wide open area [entering Piney Orchard] that people think it's 65 miles per hour until you hit the circle,” said Jeff Andrade, president of the Piney Orchard Community Association. “And I think we’re starting to see a lot more people than we’re normally accustomed to.”
Nestor Flores, the county traffic engineer for Western District, said he often receives calls for speed bumps and other traffic calming measures along Patuxent Road. He said the county is limited in its capabilities, because Patuxent Road is considered an arterial road, and thus must allow for traffic to flow through relatively unimpeded.
Flores said any traffic calming measure would have to meet the approval of the fire department, but that he could explore installing broad “speed humps,” which can slow cars down but aren’t as problematic for fire trucks.
“We can get the fire department out there, and if that’s something they’re willing to accept, we can look at it,” Flores said.