BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Traffic in parts of Baltimore is frequently at a standstill, which is drawing backlash from not only drivers but also city leaders.
All eyes are now on the city’s Department of Transportation.
If your commute takes you through downtown Baltimore, chances are you’ve been dealing with the nightmare of being stuck in gridlock and stopped at one red light after the other.
“The traffic signals aren’t synced up. I get through one green light only to be stopped at the next red light,” said one Baltimore City driver who recently moved to the area from Pennsylvania.
Traffic over the past few weeks may be worse than ever.
“It’s impacting everyone on the south peninsula. These are people that live in the city who are being impacted,” said Baltimore City Councilman Eric Costello, District 11.
Costello said he has been demanding change and said something needs to be done immediately. He added the complaints are pouring in and he feels there’s no sense of urgency from DOT.
“I’ve probably received about 300 complaints in just the past 48 hours, inundated with people are fed up with the traffic, sitting in traffic for 30 minutes and only moving one or two lights,” Costello said.
DOT has long said an outdated network of traffic signals is part of the blame and will take millions of dollars to fix.
They added that recently, engineers were re-timing key intersections to prepare for the eventual block the box implementation, but it had an adverse effect, turning some parts into a disaster.
“In the last two to three weeks, this imbalance began to occur,“ says Michelle Pourciau with DOT.
Officials said an outside expert firm will be in Baltimore within the next few weeks, analyzing re-timing and synchronizing the signal system citywide.
“We’re gonna bring in the best consulting team that we can find because we have to retweak the whole system,“ Pourciau said.
It’s something city leaders say they’ve heard before but have yet to see a concrete plan of how to fix it. While the wait continues, Costello said the message is simple.
“Fix it. Fix it. Get it done. It’s their job, get it done,” Costello said.
DOT said traffic signals were flowing better Friday, thanks to timing changes implemented late Thursday. They said they have deployed a lot of resources out on the ground, along with engineers.
If there’s no concrete plan or it doesn’t improve, Costello said he plans to bring it in front of city council later next week.
Officials told WJZ that they already have $20 million in their year’s fiscal budget to reconstruct traffic signals.
DOT told WJZ that fewer than a third of the city’s 1,300 electronic traffic signals have reliable communication with the downtown transportation command center.