Annapolis Mayor Addresses Forest Drive Gridlock
Annapolis, MD (4-2-14) Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides, Acting City Manager Brian Woodward, Police Chief Michael Pristoop and Fire Chief David Stokes met jointly today with staff to discuss and make recommendation regarding the series of events that took place on March 31, when a BGE telephone pole carrying electric wires fell, resulting in major traffic gridlock.
The response to the accident involved Annapolis police, in coordination with significant resources, other City departments, as well as Anne Arudel County.
“I understand completely the frustration and anger felt by our residents and visitors stuck in traffic on Monday,” Mayor Pantelides said. “I feel that the City departments all acted to the best of their ability, but despite all their efforts, Forest Drive is like a land bridge. When a bridge opens up, it causes major disruption in traffic. Forest Drive is a land bridge into the Annapolis neck. I called a meeting today to discuss citizen
feedback and to conduct an after action report of the incident.”
As a result, Mayor Pantelides and County Executive Laura Neuman will be meeting to discuss continued partnerships and available resources. The Mayor hopes to work together to identify the root problems associated with the Forest Drive corridor and the challenges related to the area.
The Mayor also requested more information from the Department of Public Works and their traffic engineers regarding the traffic load on Annapolis roads, specifically Forest Drive. Another suggestion was to improve on the communication strategy in place, to better incorporate the Emergency Preparedness and Risk Management (EPARM) office.
"Annapolis Police took immediate action and redirected traffic out of necessity," said Annapolis Police Chief Michael Pristoop. “We notified mass and social media without delay. Unfortunately the heavy volume of traffic on limited roads amounted to very slow travel despite our best efforts."
An overarching citizen concern from the March 31 event was if the same situation could occur if the City needed to evacuate. “This was in no way an example how traffic would be impacted during an evacuation, Deputy Chief Kevin Simmons said. “We have an evacuation plan in place and each department knows its role. The plan identified seven evacuation routes and involves 14 other city, county and state departments and agencies whose roles are specifically identified. Yesterday was like a funnel, you were going from major arteries to smaller streets. An evacuation would be going from smaller street to major arteries, allowing more access to leave the City.”
The Mayor and his constituent service staff are working to address community complaints regarding the event and will contact each of the individuals to express the mayor’s concerns and as a result, his initiatives related to the situation.
As a reminder, EPARM offers an emergency telephone notification system to contact residents and businesses quickly in the case of an emergency. Through the CodeRED system, the City can send out automated telephone messages quickly and efficiently in the event of an emergency. The brief message will provide information on the emergency situation and any important instructions.
The high-speed telephone calling system is capable of making several thousands calls per hour to traditional landline phones, cell phones and voice over internet protocol (VOIP) phones. CodeRED delivers messages to both answered phone lines and answering devices. The system allows the City to phone the entire community in two hours and the system also can target smaller geographic areas within the community for alerts that don't apply to everyone, such as a water boil order in a smaller area such as a neighborhood.
To ensure that your phone number is registered or to provide additional numbers, please submit your contact information at http://bit.ly/1pRUqKj. If you have difficulty entering your information through the website, please contact Office of Emergency Management at 410-216-9167 for assistance. There is no fee for the service or for adding additional phone numbers.