Billingsley Road safety issues should be addressed now

Friday, Sept. 5, 2008

With respect to alleviating safety issues on Billingsley Road, studies suggest that the proposed cross-county connector extension could have precisely the opposite effect.

The phenomenon of induced traffic, which can lead to increased vehicle miles traveled in a region when a new highway is introduced, is well established.

In addition, in summarizing a seminal study on induced traffic, the Environmental Protection Agency has stated that ‘‘a decision to use the new road probably means a decision to use a road connecting to it.”

The majority of Billingsley Road will remain a two-lane road connecting to the proposed highway and might be subject to increased traffic and accidents as a result of induced traffic and induced growth.

The degree of induced traffic could be multiplied by the potential for the proposed highway to enable significant growth in Bryans Road in the deferred development district which is currently a rural conservation zone and in other areas opened to development by the proposed new highway.

The induced growth is reasonably foreseeable with the cross-county connector-dependent and -facilitated growth that is acknowledged in the Charles County application.

Hence it is foreseeable that the cross-county connector could have adverse impacts on Billingsley Road’s safety, in contradiction to one of the stated needs of the Charles County application for wetlands destruction for this new highway.

Safety was the key subject of the proponents’ defense of the highway at the July 31 hearing. It is important to understand that the citizens who support an environmental impact statement study before permit decisions are made by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maryland Department of Environment also support safety.

We are requesting the county to immediately address the safety issues on Billingsley Road.

The county needs to bring in consultants who are experts in dealing with this kind of problem; it is not unique to Charles County. Surely there is a way to improve signage and introduce traffic calming and safety improvements on Billingsley Road now.

Stefano Briguglio, Marbury