Board of Education: Parkville schools may close due to heat

Hot Summer HeatStudents who attend schools in Baltimore County that do not have air conditioning may finally get some relief.

On Tuesday night, the Baltimore County Board of Education approved a policy that will help students in jurisdictions without air conditioning.

Under the new policy, if the heat index is forecast to reach a temperature of 90 degrees or more, the superintendent must close schools or institute early dismissal in the 21093, 21133, 21222, 21228 or 21234 zip codes.

Schools will be closed if the heat index is set to reach 90 degrees by 11 a.m. Early dismissal will go into effect if the heat index will hit 90 degrees by 2 p.m.

The superintendent is required to announce the closure or early dismissal by 8 p.m. the night before.

The new policy also allows students to carry water bottles at all times and it gives school principals the discretion to move students to cooler rooms.

You can read the new policy in full by clicking here.

MDTA Police to target aggressive drivers as part of Smooth Operator Program

MDTA PoliceBALTIMORE, MD – From August 11 – 20, the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Police will continue to enhance highway safety and target aggressive drivers during the third wave of the multi-state Smooth Operator Program.

The Smooth Operator Program is a cooperative effort among law-enforcement agencies to reduce the number of crashes caused by aggressive driving. Aggressive driving includes speeding, tailgating, running red lights and stop signs and unsafe lane changes. The campaign encourages motorists to make decisions that help ensure a safe driving environment for everyone on the road.

Smooth Operator began in 1997 and focuses on the four “E”s: Enforcement, Education, Evaluation and Engineering. Law-enforcement agencies throughout the region have increased patrols and public awareness, researched previous campaigns and helped develop long-term roadway solutions. For more information, please visit www.smoothoperatorprogram.com.

The MDTA Police also support the “Toward Zero Deaths” campaign — a partnership to save lives and prevent injuries on Maryland’s roadways. For more information, visit towardzerodeathsmd.com. For more information on seat belt safety, please visit nhtsa.gov.

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How Baltimore County street names and house numbers are determined

House NumbersThe following is a post that appeared on the Baltimore County Government’s official blog:

A road by any other name

Joe Chmura
House Numbers and Street Names Section
Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections

Usually we take road names and numbers for granted, but have you ever wondered how roads are named and who decides on the house numbers in a neighborhood? Well, like everything, there is a system.

Most of the main roads in the County were named long ago, often for landowners and family names, like Ridgeley Road and Stevenson Road; or for the road’s final destination, like York Road, Hanover Pike, and Frederick Road. Many were named after significant features like a church, a mill or some unique geographic element (like River Road, Ridge Road, Gunpowder Road.)

Neighborhood roads are named by the developer of the subdivision, and we’ve got some interesting ones for sure! Have you been to:

  • the Dundalk neighborhood known as “the Ships” with nautical street names like Bayship Road, Sunship Road, Broadship Road and Township Road?
  • Aero Acres in Essex, one of the oldest planned developments in the country, whose streets were named with an aerospace flair, including Fuselage Avenue, Hydroplane Drive, Propeller Drive and Helicopter Drive?
  • the Stevenswood neighborhood in Windsor Mill where the developer named streets after his children, including Lauri Road, and Janvale Road?

Nowadays we have to place some limitations on the developers’ creativity with good reason. For example, some requirements to be taken into consideration include:

  • The maximum number of characters is 17, so that the name can fit on a standard street sign. Just like with Twitter, this includes spaces and abbreviations.
  • Road names need to avoid duplication to prevent confusion. There are already about a half-dozen Church Roads and Church Lanes in the County, and about eight Ridge Roads. We don’t need any more!
  • No hyphens or apostrophes are allowed because they are too prone to typing errors in the age of computers.
  • We don’t allow directional terms, like East, West, North or South as new street names.

The Post Office and the 911 Center have to approve new roads and addresses and enter them into their systems.

Have you ever wondered about the difference between a road, lane, boulevard or avenue?

  • Lanes are private roads.
  • Avenues, roads, streets, and drives tend to have many access points and cover long distances.
  • Courts and ways have only one exit or entrance.
  • Circles are roads that turn back on themselves.
  • Boulevards are through streets with raised medians. (Fun fact: The name is derived from boule, the French word for ball.)

In the early 2000s, we retired these road suffixes for simplicity’s sake:

  • Terrace
  • Place
  • Garth
  • Green
  • Numbered streets like 3rd Avenue

The ABCs of House Numbering

Who decides what address number goes with what building? That falls to the County as well.

Back in the early days of Baltimore City, engineers designated the intersection of Charles Street and Baltimore Street as the epicenter for street numbering. All of the address numbers increase moving away from this center point going in all four directions. So, the numbers get bigger heading north on N. Charles Street and also increase heading south on S. Charles Street, east on E. Baltimore Street and west on W. Baltimore Street. We use that system as a guide in the County. Likewise, York Road splits east and west, and Reisterstown Road does the same on the west side.

Street numbering is sort of a fun process, a bit like a Sudoku puzzle, where we have to be careful not to duplicate addresses. Like anything, it’s not a perfect system, but it gives us something to go on.

You have probably noticed that one side of most streets has even numbers and the other side has odd numbers. Did you know that the north and west sides of roads have even numbers and the south and east sides of roads have odd numbers? See for yourself next time you are out and about.

Have you ever wondered why, in a sequence of houses, you sometimes see skipping in the house numbers? For example, you see 100, 102, 104, and then 108. Or, an address might be split into 702a and 702b. If it appears that a property is large enough for subdivision, we will give some breathing room and skip a couple of numbers intentionally.

The most important thing about house numbers

We strongly recommend that you post your street number in a visible way on your house and on your mailbox so that emergency responders can find you easily. This also helps to avoid mail delivery mix-ups and confused visitors.

Editorial assistance provided by Juan Veloza, Office of Communications intern

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Baltimore County ranked 6th in U.S. for tech use

Digital Counties SurveyFor the fifth consecutive year, Baltimore County has been ranked among the top ten counties in the U.S. according to the Center for Digital Government‘s 14th annual 2016 Digital Counties Survey in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Among the counties that participated, Baltimore County earned the sixth place ranking in the category for counties with populations of 500,000 or more. The award recognizes counties considered to be “digital leaders” in terms of aligning technology initiatives with strategic priorities to provide significant cost savings and administrative efficiencies.

“We came in seventh place last year and have worked our way up to number six this year, thanks to our highly talented and dedicated technology staff here at the County,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “While the ranking is nice, it’s really gratifying that these outside experts recognize the tremendous strides we have made in harnessing technology to make our government work smarter and more efficiently so we can enhance the services we provide.”

This year, the survey recognizes leading counties across the nation that focus their technologies and innovations to enhance the lifestyle of people in the county. Topics in the survey included: transparency in government, mobility and mobile application initiatives, citizen engagement, collaborative initiatives, cybersecurity, hiring and retaining competent staff, broadband and wireless infrastructure, efficiency, resiliency, and the use of innovative and best practices.

Baltimore County will be honored as a top-ranked county at the 2016 Digital Counties Survey Awards Reception during NACo’s Annual Conference & Exposition in Long Beach, California and will receive the Digital Counties Survey Award. Additionally, winners will be featured in the Center’s best practices and thought leadership white papers.

The Digital Counties Survey is hosted by the Center for Digital Government, a national research and advisory institute on information technology policies and best practices in state and local government. The organization also provides government, education and industry leaders with decision support, research and educational services to help them effectively incorporate new technologies in the 21st century. This survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), a full-service organization that provides legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to county governments.

Congratulations to the 2016 Digital Counties Survey Winners!

500,000 or more population category:
1st Wake County, NC

2nd Fairfax County, VA

2nd Montgomery County, MD

3rd Sacramento County, CA

3rd County of San Diego, CA

4th County of Alameda, CA

4th King County, WA

4th Miami-Dade County, FL

5th Oakland County, MI

6th Baltimore County, MD

6th Prince George’s County, MD

7th Bexar County, TX

7th Orange County, FL

8th County of Ventura, CA

8th Hennepin County, MN

8th Westchester County, NY

9th Los Angeles County, CA

10th Chester County, PA

10th Cook County, IL

250,000-499,999 population category:
1st Sonoma County, CA

2nd Chesterfield County, VA

3rd Dakota County, MN

4th Loudoun County, VA

5th Cumberland County, NC

5th Dutchess County, NY

6th Bell County, TX

7th Leon County, FL

7th Ottawa County, MI

8th County of Santa Cruz, CA

9th Douglas County, CO

10th Dauphin County, PA

10th Richland County, SC

150,000-249,999 population category:
1st Arlington County, VA

2nd Charles County, MD

3rd Frederick County, MD

4th St. Tammany Parish, LA

5th Boone County, MO

6th Cabarrus County, NC

7th Davidson County, NC

8th Oneida County, NY

9th Delaware County, OH

10th County of Barnstable, MA

Up to 150,000 Population Category

1st Nevada County, CA

2nd Albemarle County, VA

2nd Allegan County, MI

3rd Roanoke County, VA

4th Montgomery County, VA

5th Brunswick County, NC

6th Coconino County, AZ

7th Goochland County, VA

7th Martin County, FL

8th Skagit County, WA

9th Franklin County, VA

10th Summit County, UT

10th Tompkins County, NY