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Safety Improvements Planned for Seven Courts Drive

At my request, Baltimore County will improve Seven Courts Drive near the senior center to slow down traffic. The project should be done by Memorial Day.

I am pleased to announce that the Department of Public Works will reconstruct part of Seven Courts Drive to slow traffic in the area between the senior center and elementary school. 

The county will install a brick island with a pedestrian crossing at the part of Seven Courts Drive between the Seven Oaks Senior Center and the Seven Courts common area.  The county will then reconfigure Seven Courts Drive between the Weis Market shopping center and the traffic circle so there is a two-way center turn lane, a single eastbound and westbound lane, and parking lanes on either side of Seven Courts Drive. The existing pavement markings will be removed, with new lanes designated with reflective paint.

The parking lanes will have the added benefit of increasing safety for those who park for events at Seven Oaks Elementary School or Seven Oaks Senior Center during the week.  During the weekend when there is less activity, they can be used as bike lanes.

The project will cost $10,000 and be finished by Memorial Day.

This stretch of Seven Courts Drive was the site of a hit-and-run that killed local resident Beverly Moore in January 2012.   I have also received numerous complaints about speeding along Seven Courts Drive over the past two years.   Several cars that belong to nearby residents have been hit along this stretch of Seven Courts Drive.

Seven Courts Drive is one of the busiest corridors in Perry Hall, but unfortunately, it was never designed with pedestrians in mind.  Since the hit-and-run incident, I have pushed for improvements that will slow down traffic. I think these changes will help.

I actively consulted with the Perry Hall Improvement Association about the need for these improvements.  I would like to thank Dennis Robinson, the President of the Perry Hall Improvement Association, as well as PHIA Vice President Jack Amrhein for testifying before the Baltimore County Planning Board on behalf of the PHIA to advocate for these measures.   I would also like to thank the County Executive and Department of Public Works for their support.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

FIFA February 18, 2013 at 10:45 PM
I would disagree. The traffic enters Seven Courts in a single lane, why four lanes? The traffic exits Seven Courts in a single lane, why need four lanes? Name another road in the area that goes into a major subdivision like Oakhurst that has four lanes leading into it. If you live in Oakhurst, I did, how long will it take you to go from Joppa to Parkfalls at 30 mph? Four minutes instead of three? Are you in that much of a hurry? Wow!
FIFA February 19, 2013 at 12:25 AM
Gosh Evets, I did it in my head. Does that take the traffic circle into account?
FIFA February 19, 2013 at 12:48 AM
I have the solution, widen Northwind down the hill to four lanes also. Wheeeeee! More speed traps there.
SG from PH February 20, 2013 at 02:58 AM
Marks does a good job for Perry Hall. If you have a sensible solution send it to him. Plans can change but after construction starts we will have to live with the solution.
Mike Fisher February 21, 2013 at 07:13 PM
Seven courts connects with a major four lane highway and is a high traffic area. You cannot compare it to Northwind, that's ridiculous. Cars are turning onto Seven courts from Joppa in two directions plus people entering and exiting the food store area. It's much easier to get in and out of there with two lanes to turn into instead of four and people who have to wait to turn into the food store don't hold up the whole line of traffic waiting to turn in because you can just go around them. Name another major road that connects with another high traffic street the way Joppa and 7crts do. There really isnt another residential street that is like seven courts unless I'm just missing something. Traffic enters both sides with two lanes on each side, not four, so I don't know why you're taking it from single lane to four lanes just to exaggerate your point because it doesn't make sense. There are many turn offs on seven courts and two lanes/wider road allows people to go around them instead of backing traffic up down the street unnecessarily. Traffic isn't a problem now because of how the road is, but this is an extremely busy street for being residential, way more of a major road than Northwind will ever be. That's a ridiculous comparison. It's really not hard to see why Seven Courts was designed this way and changing it for the reasons its being changed for doesn't make any sense. The crime happened, the criminal is in jail and said problems only affect a small part of the road.
Mike Fisher February 21, 2013 at 07:15 PM
.. and by the way, Harford road goes from four to two lanes on each side and that road leads into a heavily populated residential area with many side streets leading to more residential areas. It's not hard to see why. In that case, Harford road runs past highway on and offramps and traffic needs time to situate itself in that section of Harford road. Before and after this section (between two lights), it goes back to single lane. It's not hard to understand. Seven courts doesn't have highway on and offramps, but similar high volumes of traffic affect the part of seven courts that has four lanes. It's pretty simple really.
FIFA February 21, 2013 at 07:33 PM
Mike, you are just wrong. Of course I was being facetious about Northwind to make a point. Traffic turns into Seven Courts from Joppa one car at a time, not two as you suggest and very easily creates a single lane of traffic. Yes, a few cars may enter Seven Courts from Weis but that is insignificant. The sole purpose of having two lanes going into Seven Courts is so that the impatient driver can pass as once you reach the school you are supposed to be in a single lane anyway. Your need to pass people in that small stretch of road is nutty and dangerous. Yes, traffic leaving Seven Courts onto Joppa need a right and left turn lane. You don't need two lanes going into Oakhurst though.
Mike Fisher February 21, 2013 at 07:48 PM
Brad, people have tunnel vision when it comes to this stuff. If something *must* be done for people to shut up about this, the sensible, logical solution would be to apply something to that part of seven courts, not the whole street. It doesn't make sense to do all this because of one accident and it wasn't because of speeding, it was because the guy was drunk! He's in jail, it's over and done with and over this one incident, we're going to change the whole road? All I'm saying is if you're going to make any changes, apply them to the school zone only. I agree that I don't think any change is needed really. I don't mind change so long as it makes sense and this doesn't make sense.
Mike Fisher February 21, 2013 at 07:58 PM
No, I'm really not wrong. Having two lanes there isn't hurting anything and never has. You're creating a problem out of nothing and then screaming for change based on it. Traffic comes from two major roads into seven courts: they come from Joppa which also comes directly from Belair road, that's two major roads that filter into seven courts. During the day, there's almost always people coming out of the food store. I'm not wrong and the Harford road example proves it. If Harford road was single lane in that area, it would be a MESS. Many residential streets off seven courts are constantly producing traffic, all headed to Joppa road. The Joppa road side is constantly producing traffic, there is no break. I really don't care to see cargo-train sized lines of traffic up and down my street because that makes it even harder for cars to pull out especially for buses coming out of the school or people who live on Plantaganent, Hapsburg or further down. You take away space for cars in that situation and you have more chaos. You have more cars parked on the side of the road and you have more problems pulling out because you can't see. There is no problem here, only in people's minds and this imaginary complex of problems simply does not exist. This is making change for the sake of making change and has more potential to cause more problems than it does to solve anything. These problems simply don't exist, only in people's minds who hate being passed on the road.
FIFA February 21, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Clearly Mike Fisher knows best. Not. Perhaps a job in traffic engineering in the County is in your future Mike. Have a good day, I moved away from Seven Courts and no longer have a dog in the hunt. What happens to Harford Road 200 yards past Joppa as you head north, it becomes a single lane? What happens to Joppa Road as soon as you cross Belair Road going east, it becomes a single lane and Ebenzer becomes a single lane with a center turn lane for a short while? And you want to run two lanes each way into Oakhurst? To save one minute of your day? Simply misguided, have a good day.
Mike Fisher February 22, 2013 at 12:16 AM
I am not familiar with Slater, sorry about that. Yes, there are two schools along Ebenezer and the first one has *gasp* crossing guards AND a crosswalk if I'm not mistaken which works just fine, does it not? I can't remember if PHHS has crossing guards or not, I think so? I haven't heard of any incident from those two schools with traffic being a problem and there's loads more kids that cross that street than Seven Courts from Seven Oaks. Look, if there were houses facing seven courts during the four lane section, if there were an abnormally high incidence of accidents or pedestrian injuries and/or fatalities or anything significant that justified changing the whole road, then it would make perfect sense. The problem is there is absolutely no reason to change the street, its just being done to do it and that's why I take issue with this. There are numerous ways to make the small school zone safer without tearing up the whole street and that's what drives me crazy.
Mike Fisher February 22, 2013 at 12:20 AM
..and what happens to seven courts when houses are facing the street? Single lane. You want to make the school zone safer, hire crossing guards, paint a crosswalk on there and have yellow flashing lights on during times when school lets out and impose a 25 MPH speed limit during those times. Problem solved, no need to tear up the street and it's a hell of a lot cheaper too. Keep the street as it is, that's all I'm saying. I'm for NOT changing it, not for changing it. There's nothing misguided about it, I've given plenty of valid reasons as to why I have this opinion. If there is no good reason to change it, don't change it and there is no good reason.
FIFA February 22, 2013 at 12:33 AM
That is where your argument falls apart Mr. Fisher. Crossing guards for life or a single lane. Which is really cheaper? There are 180 mandated school days per year. If the crossing guards were only hired for 3 hours per day times 180 times a year the minimum wage of $7.25 plus fringe costs of FICA, etc. That is $4,000 per year. I guess we catch up to that $10,000 pretty quick and then pass it along the way like it appears you wish to do. Of course that assumes you can find someone to work for a total of $21.75. Ask amark or CP, maybe they have some friends that will do it.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 02:41 AM
If you're so worried about that, then put signs up with the flashing yellow lights signaling a 25mph speed limit while it's flashing. A couple of those signs wouldnt even run two grand I bet and it doesn't make the road more dangerous. Nothing falls apart. Changing this road after what, 25 years where there is no significant traffic risk, barely any accidents, less than five pedestrians being hit by cars since the creation of the road for NO REASON is BS... and no, whining about being passed by other cars isn't a reason. An incident with a drunk driver who is now in prison isn't a reason. There is NO good reason to change anything, it is change for the sake of change. My argument doesn't fall apart at all, at least it's based on logic as opposed to the "change it because I think it's better, but have no evidence to warrant such a change except my feelings" argument. No evidence of dangerous driving conditions, no evidence of a higher rate of accidents along this street, no evidence of a higher rate of pedestrians being hit, simply no evidence period. There is no reason to do this at all.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 02:49 AM
Well I got the information here about that as I'm sure we had a discussion about the fact that he was drunk during the time this occured. Him serving only 18 months wouldn't surprise me even if he was drunk. Unfortunately, I know two people who have multiple DUI's and reckless driving that haven't spent a single day in prison. But ok, let's assume he wasn't drunk. Why does everyone else have to be punished for the actions of ONE man? If I remember correctly, this is only the third time in the history of seven courts that a pedestrian has been hit by a car? In 25 years? The ONE person responsible for this incident has been punished and it should end there. This is an isolated incident, not something that happens 10 times a year or even ONCE a year on average, far less than that. Just because something happens once every 8 years or so doesn't mean you make sweeping changes that are unnecessary. It's a knee jerk overreaction. Drunk or not, the guy is paying for his crime and everyone else who lives in the area should not be punished along with him for no good reason.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I mean that because of a freak occurrence where one driver was so out of his mind for whatever reason that he not only hit a pedestrian, but fled the scene and probably would have never been caught if he didn't turn himself in, you are changing something that affects everyone else unnecessarily. It's like it will be assumed that all drivers who travel on seven courts are exactly like this guy and so something must be done. It is "punishment" in the sense that all drivers are now assumed to be dangerous, so drastic, sweeping changes are needed and it's just not true. This kind of thing simply does not happen nearly enough to warrant something like this and it certainly doesn't mean that all drivers should now be assumed to be dangerous just because of one man's actions. He's paying for what he did, enough said, end of discussion.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Ok, so where is the abundance of lost lives that warrant such a change? In 25 years of existence, can you point out to me the dozens and dozens of lives that have been lost on seven courts drive? You can't because they don't exist. This is a non-issue and the event that is causing all this was an isolated incident and it should be treated as such. What lives will be saved by making traffic more congested and where are all these lost lives? Again, it is a knee-jerk overreaction based on nothing but exaggerating one incident that has been dealt with by the law and turning it into this HUGE issue.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 07:55 PM
Before it's too late? There is no reason to anticipate any of this except fear and making decisions based on fear is never good. They are too low, even the cops think so because they don't even follow the speed limits around here. In another thread where we talked about this, traffic studies proved that slower drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident, so that's not simply people "thinking" that, it's been proven. I've never heard the stop sign one before and as far as the law, if you rear end someone, it's always your fault unless I'm wrong, so that's kind of a moot point... and you're wrong about cutting down lanes because one incident might happen in 25 years. It's not worth it if it makes the roads more dangerous overall. Accidents will happen and three in 25 years is VERY good. Saving one life might mean costing 20 more. You don't make changes unless there is good reason to make them and there is no reason. Accidents will happen and will continue to happen. If there's only three in 25 years, there is no reason to change it because that is a very good track record. Is saving one life worth costing 10 or 20 more, theoretically? Of course it's not. How do you cut down on three lives in 25 years and why would you want to unless you think perfection is possible?
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 08:24 PM
I was just using that as an example. Improving on the current "three in 25 years" is virtually impossible. There is a *lot* more room for things to get worse than there are for improvement on this statistic. The odds are not good. Even if it's five lives, it's not worth it. One life in eight years? How do you realistically expect that to improve? There is a razor's edge worth of space for improvement and a million miles worth of space for worsening, you are really going to take those odds? That is not logical, at all. As far as Mr Fuller, I don't know what the guy was thinking. Maybe he thought the car was turning without his turn signal (which is very common these days) and just went around him or maybe he was having a bad day and just didn't care. Either way, one isolated incident doesn't make a crisis or panic state realistic especially considering the 25 year sample size we have to look back on. This is ONE person, ONE and three in 25 years. This is an overreaction, textbook really, based on fear and nothing else.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 08:27 PM
No, not at all. I just happen to agree with the speed thing because it's perfectly safe to drive at the speeds they cruise at, but you bring up an interesting point. These are people who are supposed to be setting examples for the rest of us and they behave this way? Is it any wonder people don't respect the laws? They are right with the speeds because they are too low honestly, but running stop signs, not using turn signals when you should be using them, running red lights and so on are things everyone does. Using a police officer's actions as a model is VERY reasonable because they are the model of example, or at least they should be. They are supposed to enforce these laws because they are dangerous, yet they constantly break these laws and give out tickets and arrests to other people who do it. That in a nutshell is a big reason why people don't respect the laws because the people who should above all else fail to do so.
Mike Fisher February 23, 2013 at 08:29 PM
Well, wait. Before I get yelled at, not *everyone* does it, but many people do especially changing lanes and making turns without turn signals when there are people around you who need to know what you're doing. I don't run lights or stop signs and I always use my signals when there are cars around me, but I see people all the time who don't use them or run stop signs. Rarely traffic lights, but it happens.
Evets February 23, 2013 at 08:35 PM
Well, Mr. Fisher, if you are an actuary or a statistician and can provide some actual evidence and data that these changes will cost even one life over the next 25 years, much less 5 or 10 or 20 or whatever number you wish to use, I am quite sure the traffic engineers and liability lawyers would be interested to see your data. Engineers love data and lawyers would be especially interested to know that the county had been warned, with statistical analysis, that these changes would cost lives and yet went ahead with the changes anyway. Speculation and anecdotal evidence make for interesting conversation, but are rarely used as actual evidence.
Evets February 23, 2013 at 08:53 PM
As I teach my children and my students constantly, you do the right thing (like respect laws) because it is the right thing to do, the moral thing to do, the thread that binds a society. You do not rely on what others do to guide your actions. If 99 people out of a hundred roll through a stop sign, you be the one who does not. Don't be the sheeple who do something because "everyone else does it." Losing respect for the law because you see police officers ignore common traffic rules is simply allowing people you do not even know to guide your moral behavior. Live by your principles, not principles demonstrated by others. If my fat and out of shape doctor tells me I need to stop eating so much meat because it is causing my cholesterol level to rise, I don't go out and ignore his advise because I have no respect for him. I know the right thing to do is to eat well and be physically fit. Those are my principles. I don't need a police officer to sow me that driving properly is the right thing to do.
Evets February 23, 2013 at 09:00 PM
As for running red lights, take a lawn chair sometime and sit at Joppa and Seven Courts, or Joppa and Silver Spring, or Belair and Ridgley's Choice, or especially at Joppa and Walther, and watch the cars run through the red lights. You might find it interesting and enlightening. Especially interesting are the people sitting in the left turn lane at a red light who apparently seem to feel it is perfectly acceptable to hurry through a light that is already red because they have been sitting and waiting for so long.
Evets February 23, 2013 at 11:11 PM
And, BTW, you did not respond to my initial question above, "What makes you assume that any of these changes are going to slow down traffic on Seven Courts? "
Evets February 24, 2013 at 02:06 AM
@Mike Fisher: " I always use my signals when there are cars around me, " How about when pedestrians or bicycles are around you? Or how about that car in the driveway waiting to enter the street? Why not use a turn signal every time you are turning or changing lanes? Are you worried that the bulb will wear out?
Mike Fisher March 30, 2013 at 08:40 PM
..and here is a great example of one major reason people don't obey traffic laws. I just got home from getting gas and I was coming down Joppa road. I was sitting at the light for Joppa and Seven Courts and was headed up to Magelet because I would rather just avoid the speed nazis on seven courts. Anyway, a police officer pulled up behind me while I was sitting at this light and when it turned green, I changed lanes to get around the slower traffic and was going about 43 mph because I'm just that confident that cop would do nothing and he didn't. I even hit 45mph and he was behind me and did nothing. Not only that, when the traffic spaced out, he flew around me and started weaving around traffic. No lights, no sirens and he was going close to 50 mph. This is cruising speed for cops, folks and after years and years of people seeing this, is it any wonder people don't respect traffic laws? Cops are the law and they don't even follow the law, however, the speeds are not unsafe. The weaving however, is. Speeding without weaving is not unsafe and this is why I say speeding is only dangerous if it's coupled with something else. This is a perfect example of that and it's also an example of the speed limits BEING TOO LOW! Stop trying to slow people down and get with the times. Even the cops agree, I see it all the time.
AngryBird May 07, 2013 at 02:22 PM
Mike, I agree with you on this. I live in Oakhurst and think this new traffic pattern is ridiculous. I personally believe it will only make things worse in this area. Every child at Seven Oaks Elm gets bus service to and from school and has for many years, there are no walkers. Even children who live on Hapsburg, the next street over have bus service. The center turn lane has been created on parts of seven courts that you can't even make a left turn because there is no street to turn on to! The bike lane is not going to keep the idiot kids from riding their bikes/skateboards in the middle of the street. Nor is the new traffic pattern going to deter the drunks from driving.
AngryBird May 07, 2013 at 02:32 PM
we can't get parking pads in our yards to alleviate the parking problem on our street which would not cause a traffic flow issue, or danger, but it's ok to completely reconfigure a main road with high traffic volume...
Mike Fisher May 07, 2013 at 02:53 PM
The new layout is completely ridiculous. All it does is squeeze traffic into a tighter spot. I think it's going to cause more accidents and I think it's going to make the area even more hazardous for pedestrians. This change was completely unnecessary and completely lacked vision. This was the great idea? Completely ridiculous and unnecessary. I guess I will be taking Magelet, Hines and Joppa road more often to get back to my house just to avoid the beginning of seven courts. It's more dangerous with the new layout than it's ever been. There was a reason the street was designed that way and the relatively low incidence of accidents and pedestrian problems proved they were right with the initial design. These changes will cause problems that never existed before, just watch. There was no good reason to do this and it looks horrible. How long before a head on collision in the turn lane I wonder? Horrible planning, horrible vision and horrible execution on a horrible idea.

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