Speed Enforcement, Signs Coming to Charles Street

In a letter to Councilman David Marks, state highway officials explore ways to address speeding on North Charles Street.

State highway crews plan to put up new signs and ask Baltimore County police to step up enforcement on the stretch of North Charles Street near , according to a letter

New speed limit signs could be posted in the area in the next three months, according to the note, sent Friday to Councilman David Marks and forwarded to Towson Patch.

Dear Councilman Marks:   

This is a further follow up to your constituent's inquiry regarding traffic safety concerns along MD 139 (Charles Street) at Towson West Elementary School in Baltimore County.  The Maryland State Highway Administration appreciates your concern for safety along state maintained roadways.

Our traffic engineering staff has completed an investigation of traffic operations, including a spot speed study, sign and pavement marking inventories, and a crash history review of this location.  The results of our spot speed study indicate that the 85th percentile speed for vehicles traveling along MD 139 is 50 MPH, while the posted speed limit along this section of roadway is 40 MPH.   When the results of the 85th percentile speed are within 10 MPH of the posted speed limit, enforcement is usually the best way to address the issue of speed violators.  

The 85th percentile speed is the speed at which 85 percent of motorists drive on a given road when unaffected by slower traffic or poor weather.  This speed indicates the speed that most drivers consider safe and reasonable under ideal conditions, and is a good guideline when determining and setting appropriate speed limits.  If the speed limit appears to be reasonable, as is the case in this section of MD 139, but speed violators are creating a safety hazard then enforcement is usually the best solution to target the relative percentage of drivers who exceed the posted speed limit.  In most instances, a speed limit set by the 85th percentile speed best reflects the expectations of the largest proportion of drivers, and is found by most to be a safe and comfortable limit.  Engineering, education, and enforcement all play a role in addressing aggressive driving, including speeding.  Having said this, we will request the Baltimore County Police to conduct selective speed enforcement in this area of MD 139.

During our site observations, we also conducted an inventory of all existing roadway signing and pavement markings along the subject section of roadway.  The results indicate that the existing roadway signing and pavement markings are in good condition, and currently meet SHA standards.  We did, however, notice that there were no speed limit signs posted along the southbound approach of MD 139 between the IS 695 ramps and the entrance to Towson West Elementary.  We are pleased to inform you that we have sent a work order to our maintenance staff to have a 40 MPH speed limit sign installed in this area of MD 139.  We anticipate the sign installation to be completed within 90 days, weather permitting.  In addition, we will continue to monitor this section of roadway to determine if any future changes may be needed.

Thank you again for your interest in this matter.  If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me or Mr. Kimon Johnson, Transportation Engineer in our Traffic Division.  He may be reached by phone at 410-229-2395 or by email atkjohnson5@sha.state.md.us.


David W. Peake

State Highway Administration - District 4

Metropolitan District Engineer

Baltimore and Harford Counties

JDStuts March 04, 2012 at 01:54 AM
Actually, I was thinking the speed limit could be bumped up to 45.


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