Frustrated with the slow wheels of the public works apparatus, a group of residents are banding together to pressure government to make Leeds Avenue safe for pedestrians.
"We have had it," says Leeds Avenue resident Melinda Adamz. "The state and county do not care about pedestrians on our street."
An independent technical writer and graphic artist -- and Arbutus Patch blogger -- Adamz says she has spent eight years trying to get county and state officials to address the poor condition of the street.
"The state has ghettoized our neighborhood by making arbitrary decisions which provide use of our street to non-pedestrians over pedestrians," she says. "I am very sure that if we lived in Roland Park or Annapolis or Towson, we would not be expected to take our life in our hands when we walk outside."
Leeds Avenue lacks a continuous sidewalk on either side of the street from Linden Avenue to Southwestern Boulevard, a route that many people take to the supermarket and other destinations in Arbutus.
The street lacks curbs, stop signs or traffic lights, and crosswalks. Most of the street is poorly lit at night.
Leeds is inaccessible with a wheelchair or stroller, and pedestrians encounter potholes, missing chunk of sidewalk, and stretches that turn into a muddy mess when it rains.
"We have old people, deaf people, disabled people who live in this neighborhood," Adamz says. "They don't have a choice. I've seen old people fall with their groceries."
Adamz says that county and state officials have passed Leeds Avenue back and forth because it is designated a "collector road" that feeds I-695.
"I've had the same circular argument from the state and county for eight years," she says.
The area around the Beltway and Leeds Avenue is scheduled for a make-over that includes the removal of the inner loop entrance ramp, which will alter traffic patterns throughout Arbutus.
County government sources tell Arbutus Patch that pedestrian safety on Leeds Avenue will be remedied with new sidewalks -- eventually. Whether it happens within the next year or two remains to be seen.
First District councilman Tom Quirk says that he is aware of the problem on Leeds Avenue and is forming a planning group that includes ten residents from the Arbutus area who will consult on community issues.
The planning group is expected to begin work next month, Quirk told Arbutus Patch.
Residents along the Leeds Avenue area plan to meet together and develop a strategy to move froward. A website has been created -- www.leeds-united-pedestrians.com -- and Adamz says she is designing a banner, flyers and t-shirts.
Adams is drafting a petition, and is seeking a lawyer to help press the issue under state and federal equal-protection laws.