By Maryland Senator Roy Dyson
Last week, I wrote about a specific transportation issue (the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge) - as I have many times—before that bedevils thousands of motorists, including myself, everyday.
But for those of you who were once again caught up in the mess in Brandywine on the morning of Friday October 5 that backed up traffic for miles in both directions, you will understand that the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge is just one of many Southern Maryland traffic problems.
For those who say Brandywine is in Prince George's County and not in what is normally known as Southern Maryland (Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's counties) I submit to you that both Prince George's and Anne Arundel are Southern Maryland counties because we are connected to them and share similar bottlenecks that extend from Charles into Prince George's County or Calvert into Anne Arundel County. The Brandywine "malfunction junction" is just one of many examples.
For instance, how many of you get frustrated driving up Route 210 or Route 4 virtually every day?
That is why I included them in my bill which later became law to convene a blue ribbon transportation task force to study Southern Maryland's transportation needs.
I listen to the traffic reports on WTOP and 98 Star FM every day because I do a lot of traveling to many events throughout my district and to committee meetings in Annapolis. I want to know if I need to take an alternate route if there is a traffic problem in my way.
Every where I go, people complain about traffic in Southern Maryland. Recently, the Washington-DC Metropolitan area was named the second worst traffic region in the nation. This is a shame.
As I asked my constituents in my last column to attend a public forum on the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge on October 2, I'm asking you to come out in force again to express your possible solutions to our transportation mess in Southern Maryland.
The Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland is hosting three scheduled open houses in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary's County. If you are concerned about our transportation needs in this area, please show up at these meetings.
The first open house is slated for Charles County at the Waldorf Jaycees Community Center on October 24 from 6-8 p.m. The Jaycees Center is located on 3090 Crain Highway (Route 301).
On October 25, the open house will be held from 6-8 p.m. at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center (Central Hall) located on 44219 Airport Road in California.
The last open house will be help at the Calvert Pines Senior Center located on 450 West Dares Beach Road in Prince Frederick from 7-9 p.m.
I understand the temptation to just vent your frustrations about traffic in this area, but that is not constructive. I encourage you to participate in the pubic hearings in a proactive manner. The Tri-County Council is not the enemy, but the friend in this process. I like the fact that their flier promoting these open houses says: "Your input is needed."
By law, they are in charge of compiling the report. So please, bring your ideas to share with them. This is your chance to make a real difference to make our commutes better.
Southern Maryland is a beautiful place. I love representing it. We have so much going for us. We don't need transportation nightmares to ruin this great area.
According to the flier, attendees can come to these open houses to help identify transportation goals, issues and needs in Southern Maryland. The study results will be used as a decision-making tool for planning, programming and funding transportation improvement projects throughout the region.
Additional information is available in the transportation section of the Tri-County Council's website: http://www.tccsmd.org/.
If you can't come to these meetings, but want to participate, you can submit comments in writing by contacting Tony Chinyere at the Tri-County Council at P.O. Box 745; Hughesville, MD 20637, by phone at (301) 274-1922, fax at (301) 274-1924 or email at achinyere (at) tccsmd.org. Written comments should be received by November 16.