Community Issues

Intersection of Mt Vista, Glen Arm, and Harford Road - the "Circle"

Current traffic situation

With the increased traffic on Harford Road, it became very difficult to get through the stop signs on Mt Vista and Glen Arm Roads at rush hour. Although there have not been an excessive number of accidents, the State Highway Administration considered ways to improve this intersection, including the installation of a four-way stop or traffic signals.

On March 3, 2008, a representative of State Highways stated that they were going ahead with the plans for a roundabout. It's pretty funny that he referred to the roundabouts in Essex and on Charles Street as examples of how successful and loved these roundabouts were. In fact, people in Essex hate theirs, and the one on Charles has already been ripped out because it did not work.

On March 19, 2014, a representative again spoke to a community organization and said that the project is back on, with funding in the order of $3,000,000 already committed. (See below for some of the actual cost!) The plan they presented is pictured below. They heard very vocal opposition from numerous community members against this monstrosity.

Meanwhile, drivers continued to wait in a long line on Glen Arm Rd every evening. It's hard to understand why they did not simply install a normal 4-way traffic signal. They claimed it won't work, although the one a mile north in Fork has been dealing with the same traffic for years (although very badly recently due to missing left-turn lanes). It was impossible to imagine how a circle could be built on the side of a hill! Surveyors were sighted at the intersection, apparently scratching their heads.

The construction resulted in the closing of Glen Arm and Mt Vista Roads, each for about 6 months. The detours added to the traffic problems around the area.

See here for the original version of the plat (27 Feb 2015) of property to be acquired.

See here for the revised right-of-way plat (17 Sept 2015) which changed the area to be purchased from Michael McFall from 0.339 acres to 0.417 acres.

But note that on 11 Aug 2015, SHA purchased 1.772 acres from Kevin McFalls for $550,000 (and demolished the house built in 2002), even though the plat revised a month later still shows a plan to acquire only 0.417 acres of this property. The cost of this roundabout kept increasing, and it seems that it was done in an under-handed way, maybe to hide the real cost.

See article in Aegis (Baltimore Sun) about start of work on October 5, 2016 with the ensuing detours which further exacerbated traffic at the Kingsville triangle. It indicated that the detour closing Mt Vista Rd would extend through the Winter when it could be expected that no work would be done anyway. And to further indicate the total waste going on here, the County had just resurfaced all of Mt Vista Rd, including the final 600 ft or so that was then ripped out during this construction!

The Cost

This plan was supposedly selected (over simple traffic signals) because it would be less expensive in the long run (e.g., changing burnt-out lights). Earlier, $3,000,000 was quoted as the cost. A newspaper article stated that it is a $3.7 million project. Well, SHA's own document on the cost showed:

  • Planning - $0
  • Engineering - $1,785.000
  • Right-of-way - $1,259,000
  • Construction - $4,471,000
for a whopping $7.5 million! Interesting that no money was listed as being spent on "planning". And this does not include ongoing maintenance, which will be significant, since the plan also includes street lighting and landscaping.

Right-of-way acquisition:

  • From George Mink $14,500
  • From Kevin McFalls $550,000
  • From Redeemer Presbyterian $187,350
  • From Erina Puree $6,000
  • From Michael Bischoff $27,450
  • From Jeff Sevidal #1,100
  • From James Mengel $23,500
  • Easement from Ronald Mitcherling $1,500
  • Total: $811,000

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Updated 25 Oct 2020 by MAP