At times, the road markings on East Drive through Arbutus are so confusing that it seems better to wipe them all out and start over again.
That's exactly what's going to happen soon, according to county officials.
Last week, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz approved a plan to resurface East Drive and lay down a single set of clear markings, according to special assistant Bryan Sheppard.
The resurfacing project brings to fruition one of the goals of a working group of community leaders that began meeting last year to find ways of improving Arbutus, according to Councilman Tom Quirk.
"There were about 15 leaders of community groups, and we did a walk through Arbutus and talked about problems," Quirk said.
Fixing the conflicting and often dangerous markings of East Drive was among the group's top priorities, he said.
"The resurfacing is something I've been advocating for since last August," Quirk said. "I'm glad that we could work together as a team to get this done."
"I am so happy!" said Patti Sue Nolan, president of the Arbutus Business and Professional Association and a member of the working group.
"East Drive has been a sore spot, not to mention a traffic hazard for a long time now, with the road surface wearing away and the confusing lane and crosswalk markings," Nolan said.
The problem, Sheppard said, is that while the road surface of East Drive isn't in bad shape, its surface shows three different sets of lane, crosswalk and directional markings.
The last time that East Drive was resurfaced, county crews used a material known as "slurry seal"-a thin asphalt mixture that fills minor cracks and restores skid resistance to a road.
"Slurry seal is a good way to resurface a road," Sheppard said. "But if you change road markings, they can show up again as the slurry seal wears down."
Although residents have complained about the road markings for years, a remedy seemed elusive in an era of tightened budgets.
According to Sheppard, Kamenetz looked at East Drive on his way to the sponsored by the Arbutus Improvement Association.
Kamenetz decided that county road cews could work on East Drive after finishing , while milling and resurfacing equipment is in the neighborhood, according to Sheppard.
"We're going to clear the slate," Sheppard said. "They'll do it right after Leeds Avenue. You couldn't have timed it better."
The cost of the East Drive resurfacing project has not been determined. Sheppard said that it will be paid out of the county's $10 million road resurfacing budget.
The design for the markings on the new pavement have not yet been worked out, according to Sheppard. County traffic engineers have not yet determined the ideal location for the double-yellow line, turn lanes and crosswalks, he said.
Traffic engineers will meet with community groups before a design for street markings is finalized, according to Sheppard.
Community leaders expressed relief and gratitude that the confusing road markings of East Drive will be fixed at last.
"The AIA is very thankful to have County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Bryan Sheppard on board in helping us improve the Arbutus area," said Nikki Marlatt-Young the group's president.
"I'm grateful to Mr. Kamenetz for adding in this much needed project," she said. "I hope that the crosswalks will be well marked so people using the business district can cross safely."