Arbutus neighbors vs. big rigs

Posted at 6:30 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 18:35:05-04

"You open your windows and it's constant noise. The diesels, the semi's, the package trucks," neighbor Joe Costa said. 

"It's really a quality of life issue," John Merson said. 

Costa and Merson live on Benson Ave. in Arbutus and are just two neighbors taking on the big rigs tha plague their community. 

"If someone did potentially lose control of their vehicle, they could very easily end up in someone's yard," Costa said.

Sandwiches between I-95 and a commercial area, the half-mile stretch on Benson Ave. is a 'No trucks over 3/4 ton' zone. The law is clearly marked with signs on both sides of the street, but still it happens. 

"It's frustrating," Merson said. 

Today, Councilman Tom Quirk met with Costa and Merson to see how to address the problem. They say it's just getting worse. Costa says he has seen a dozen trucks drive by in an hour. 

The county has already denied traffic calming measures like speed bumps because a study showed the road has too much traffic. Baltimore County Police say they have increased enforcement because of the complaints. According to data provided to Quirk, in the last 2 years, officers have written 55 citations and issued 90 warnings for the trucks. Quirk says they should be focused on other things.

"The police can't be here all the time and quite frankly, the police really need to spend a lot of their time going after the bad guys and making sure they fight crime. But saying that, we need help from the businesses owners that have these big trucks going through Benson Ave. They know their drivers aren't supposed to be doing that. There's another way they should be going," Quirk said. 

Costa says one of the many companies they've caught is Ward Trucking, which is located just a mile down Benson Ave. A spokesman says they are well aware of the complaints and their driver know to avoid that stretch of road, but if they choose to do it anyway, maybe out of convenience, then the drivers have to pay the tickets themselves.

Another company, Chesapeake Beverage, says their driver uses the road to get to a customer just outside of the restricted zone, but they will tell them to use an alternate route. 

Enterprise sent this statement: “The signage along the road is clear, and our employees are extremely conscientious about following the restrictions when moving vehicles from one location to another. Unfortunately, some rental customers, although warned in advance, may decide to ignore the restrictions and drive this stretch of road regardless.”

A UPS representative said they respect the weight restriction and it's not the normal route for the large tractor trailers.

"I'm going to talk to the traffic department and see if there's things we can do; whether it's choke points or traffic islands. Hopefully we can come up with something creative because the bottom line is you can't have these big big trucks in a residential area," Quirk said.