It's Bay Bridge Safety Week: Thoughts in Traffic
by Russ Pellicot
A weekend at the beach. It's a tradition for many Maryland families. From surf and sun to sightseeing and seafood, it's a pleasure now and a time to remember.
Equally memorable, but for different reasons altogether, is the time spent making one's way to the beach. For a large percentage of travelers, this includes a trip over the William Preston Lane Jr. Memorial Bridge. The Bay Bridge, as it is known by most, is the only driving route that spans the Chesapeake Bay until you get to its bottom in Virginia's tidal basin. For this reason it is very heavily traveled, accommodating as many as 23 million cars per year.
As luck would have it, I enjoyed the privilege of sharing the Bridge with all 22, 999,999 other motorists on a recent trip out to the ocean. Who would've guessed that Saturday afternoon at 2:30 would be a heavy traffic time on Rt. 50 east? Thirty-five minutes of pre-Bridge gridlock allowed me plenty of time to ponder the error of my ways.
And to ponder the Bridge.
Looking ahead, it's nothing but a narrow, crowded road. Take a look to the side, however, and you'll swear that you're about to drive onto a huge piece of playground equipment towering above the Chesapeake.
With so much to see at every level, it's easy to forget the responsibility of safe and courteous driving. To help remedy this situation, July 26-30 has been named Bay Bridge Safety Week.
Safety brochures are handed out at the eastbound tollbooths. Shaped curiously like envelopes, the brochures explain the lane markings in detail and restate what we all learned in driver's ed. The brochure also explains the best times to travel the Bridge, which will soon become the worst times as word gets out.
Sitting in traffic, safety brochure in hand, I allowed my mind to wander. My wanderings led me to what I believe to be the only way to eliminate the potential for accidents on the Bridge.
Passing out brochures is a good start, but to reach their full potential I think the brochures should be placed in tightly bound stacks to block off both spans of the Bay Bridge. Now that would be a safe bridge.
Russ Pellicot joins NBT for his second summer as all-around man. This is his second story for the paper; his first, "Breaking up Boats: Some Derelicts Evicted from Rockhold Creek," appeared in Dock of the Bay last week. Pellicot will be a senior at South River High School this fall.
| Issue 30 |
Volume VII Number 30
July 29 - August 4, 1999
New Bay Times
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