It’s the last week of summer vacation for Howard and Baltimore counties, with students returning to school on Monday 8/30. That means this is the last week I get to enjoy relatively light traffic on my morning rides, before the roads get clogged with buses and other school traffic. This week I’m enjoying a few last rides on roads that I tend to avoid during the school year. One example is Ilchester Rd. between Montgomery and Landing. I’ll occasionally ride eastbound on this road during school, but westbound (approaching the light at Montgomery) I avoid like the plague. Today I took the fixie down Landing Rd – first time I’ve ever ridden Landing on this bike. Then I turned left on Ilchester, rode all the way out to Montgomery, turned right and headed down Bonnie Branch Rd into the park. The weather looks nice for biking through the end of the week. I’ll likely switch to the road bike for Thursday and Friday’s rides. One of those days I want to ride out to New Cut Rd. and then through Oella and Catonsville, and the other I was thinking about taking College Ave. out to Ellicott City and then taking River Rd. and riding through the park. Next week, the plan is to start my rides out by going down Lawyers Hill Rd, to avoid the traffic on Montgomery Rd. in Elkridge.
Classes also start at UMBC next week, which means that navigating through campus is going to become a challenge, particularly with all the construction for the PAHF building going on, combined with all the new parking regulations. The first week of classes is going to be a traffic nightmare. I’ve already decided that I’m going to avoid Wilkens Ave/Hilltop Rd and come onto campus via Poplar Ave., at least for the first week. After that, I’ll try to time my arrivals so they don’t coincide with the start of morning classes, to avoid the massive gridlock coming in on Hilltop. The PAHF construction has pushed the student parking up beyond the Hilltop Circle traffic light, which means there’s going to be a LOT more pedestrian traffic in that area. UMBC’s new zoned parking plan seems like a good idea, and I’m sure they’ll do what they can to manage things, but the first week is still going to be rough. Hopefully things will settle down after that.