My three (and three-quarter) year-old is obsessed with just about any vehicle that can go “super-fast.” He loves driving his toy cars around the house with a cacophony of sirens, horns, and engine noises. Why does it seem like almost every toy on the market lights up and makes noise? Living next to an improvised toy racetrack is one of those things that we tolerate and even enjoy as part of raising him though we are thankful that track operations shut down come bedtime.
However, turning our neighborhood streets into an improvised racetrack is not something that should be tolerated by the residents of River Hill. Lately there has been a problem of modified cars racing around the neighborhood both day and night. These cars present two hazards for the community. First, they are often driving too fast for the neighborhood streets, which is a danger to pedestrians and other traffic. Second, their modified mufflers are disruptively loud and adversely affect everyone living here. If you want to race your modified car, take it to an actual racetrack – not the residential streets of River Hill.
In addition to modified cars, there are also other factors contributing to the increasing sound pollution in River Hill. Route 32 is being widened to support the increased development in western Howard County. With this development comes increased traffic on Route 32 and the increased noise associated with it. Noise barriers along the side of Route 32 would significantly mitigate this problem. There have been petitions in the past to add sound barriers to Route 32 in River Hill, which have been denied by the State Highway Administration stating that the expansion of Route 32 would not increase traffic near River Hill. (https://chaowu.org/2016/07/11/traffic-noise-barrier-request-at-river-hill-community-md-32/) This seems flawed since it is unlikely that all the additional traffic on Route 32 will be exiting before it reaches Clarksville.
One of the things that we all enjoy about River Hill is the safe and peaceful environment of our neighborhood. We must work with the county and state leadership to prevent reckless driving in the village and also to implement the necessary infrastructure changes to improve safety and reduce noise pollution. Everyone must do their part to slow down and drive responsibly on our neighborhood streets.
Eric Greenberg is the River Hill Representative to
Columbia Council and the CA Board of Directors.
Disclaimer: This column reflects the views of Eric Greenberg only and not those of the CA Board or the River Hill Board of Directors.