The residents of Linganore Lake want traffic to slow; owners association will consider | Politics and government


Woodridge Road is a fairly common residential street that runs along the descent of Gas House Pike and winds slightly before connecting to other eastern parts of the communities that make up the Linganore Lake Association.

It’s also where some residents say speeding has been a huge problem in recent months, as new homes have been built and dozens of families with children have moved in.

Steph Mox and Chris Matheson are two of many residents who lobbied the Lake Linganore Association (LLA) board of directors to install speed cushions to alleviate the problem. Speed ​​cushions have a more gradual incline and decline than traditional speed bumps.

Matheson, who works as a firefighter in northwest Washington DC, said he and other residents had struggled to get LLA officials to implement any kind of change.

Chrissy Lashaun, who lives across the street, agrees with this assessment.

“People don’t walk through this neighborhood like it’s residential,” Lashaun said. “I’ve seen kids get almost hit, and people fly around here like it’s a racetrack.”

Debate between residents, council

Much of the ongoing discussions between the LLA Board of Directors and the residents of Woodridge have taken place over the past year, with LLA officials initially proposing to update their rules and regulations to mitigate the problem.

Michelle Doster, chief executive of LLA, said in an interview late last month that radars were part of that proposal. The proposed changes also created a schedule of fines for motorists who violate posted speed limits – a warning for those driving 11 to 15 mph over the limit, with penalties of $ 50 and $ 100 for the second and third offenses.

But in October, after releasing the fine schedule and regulations for a 30-day public comment period, the board agreed to table the proposal at an upcoming meeting.

“The residents felt like it was more application than they wanted in the community,” said Doster. “It’s true that speed is an issue, and most people recognize this as an issue, but would like the board to take a different approach.”

That different approach, for now, is to set up a committee of five to seven members to research and see how speeding could be addressed in the region and in the communities of the Linganore Lake Association, according to Doster. .

Mox, who lives near where a school bus picks up and drops off the children, said she appreciated the board deliberating on how to proceed. But she and Matheson also released polls within their community – one in August, they say, showed 54% of those polled wanted some sort of traffic calming device, like a speed pad.

Matheson said a petition he sent to dozens of neighbors was signed by more than 90% of residents, saying action needed to be taken to tackle speeding tickets.

LLA officials have told him that speed cushions slow emergency vehicles down, but he disputes that, given his experience as a DC firefighter. He added, along with other neighbors like Mox and Lashaun, the main focus is safety, especially for the children who live in the neighborhood.

“If any of these kids are affected, you can also rename the lake because they will own it,” Matheson said.

Is the application of speed in HOAs allowed?

Speed ​​enforcement is not an issue at all homeowners associations (HOAs) across the state. But Doster said LLA officials have the right to regulate their own roads, given that they are private and do not belong to the county or state.

“Frederick County has a public access easement, but we have obtained clarification from the Frederick County lawyer that this public access easement does not negate the association’s obligation to maintain, nor its ability to govern, its private roads, ”Doster said.

Jeremy Tucker, an attorney at Lerch, Early, and Brewer in Bethesda, has worked extensively with HOA law across the state.

Tucker said HOAs and their governing bodies have the right to write rules and regulations related to traffic and speed enforcement, in accordance with state law.

These rights should not conflict with state or county laws, such as if a fire escape route is required or other restrictions are placed on the road. But rules and regulations are perhaps more common in larger HOAs, like LLA.

“If you think of a large-scale community that has a lot of private roads, versus a small section of townhouses… when the community itself has more private roads and functions like a small town, you might have be more of an option to enforce speed, ”Tucker said.

He added, however, that speed bumps aren’t the only way to manage traffic and control – additional stop signs and speed cameras and plenty of other options are available for HOAs.

And after?

In a follow-up interview Thursday, Doster said the aforementioned traffic management committee would meet in the coming months and provide the LLA board of directors with potential solutions early next year.

A study conducted and published in January 2018 by Wilson T. Ballard Company, an engineering firm in Owings Mills, and commissioned by Elm Street Development, showed that there was no need for physical calming devices on Woodridge Road.

She declined to forward the study to the Frederick News-Post, saying she did not have permission from the company.

Doster also said the road where residents worried about speeding was still owned by Elm Street, the developer, and had not been turned over to the association. This would not happen until a final asphalt topcoat was installed on the pavement.

She said the board of directors, traffic management committee and board of directors will carefully consider whether to install speed cushions in the area, which could happen by spring 2021. .

But Mox, Lashaun, and Matheson think something, like installing the speed cushions, needs to be done soon. Matheson, in an email, highlighted a letter of support from New Market District Volunteer Fire Company fire chief Benjamin Nalborczyk.

“There are so many kids in this neighborhood,” Matheson said. “I just want to protect everyone.”

Follow Steve Bohnel on Twitter: @Steve_Bohnel

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