Fri, 07 Oct 2011

Why are there so many Dolfield Roads?

A question that perturbed me when I lived in Owings Mills was why there were so many roads named "Dolfield". There are three different Dolfield Roads, one South Dolfield Road, and three Dolfield Boulevards. I finally got around to researching the question, and now I share the answer (to the degreee that I have one) with everyone.

This is a map of Dolfield Road, past and present:

The thick, dark blue line is where Dolfield Road once ran. At one point, it connected Painters Mill Road and Deer Park Road.

The thinner, light blue line shows where Dolfield Road, in all its parts, runs today. When Interstate 795 was built, Dolfield Road was cut in two, as happened to many roads during the construation of the Interstate system. At the same time, part of the eastern portion of Dolfield Road was diverted to make room for the ramps from Owings Mills Boulevard to Interstate 795. The section of Dolfield Road south of Owings Mills Boulevard was renamed South Dolfield Road, for reasons I cannot find.

At some point--I cannot tell when, exactly--the chunk of Dolfield Road that extends from present-day Red Run Boulevard to Pleasant Hill Road was closed, though I was unable to find out why. The small section between Red Run Boulevard and Interstate 795 now serves as an access road to a SHA facility, and the rest of the closed section has been turned into a hiking/biking trail (colored in light green on the map). Finally, the section of Dolfield Road just west of Pleasant Hill Road was realigned when Dolfield Boulevard was built.

Here's a map of Dolfield Boulevard:

At some point in the past, the county planned to build a road named Dolfield Boulevard that would connect Owings Mills New Town with the eastern area of Reisterstown, both areas that were slated for new development. The road was planned to have two lanes in each direction with a raised median dividing the road. The dark purple line on the above map shows where it was to have gone, as far as I can tell. I'm not sure whether the original plans included anything further north, though it might have made sense to connect it to Owings Mills Boulevard.

Unfortunately for the county, a number of people living in the proposed path of the new road put up sufficient objections that the project stalled. Portions along Reisterstown Road and Academy Avenue were built and, in both cases, partly divided and partly not--the light purple lines are the divided sections and the pink lines are the undivided sections. Furthermore, the southern end of Dolfield Boulevard was built without incident as part of the development of Owings Mills New Town, though part of Pleasant Hill Road was rechristened Dolfield Boulevard but left undivided.

From what I can tell, the county never entirely abandoned its plans for Dolfield Boulevard, but they seems to be shelved indefinitely. Separately from those plans, they are currently considering adding an interchange between Dolfield Boulevard and Interstate 795 (which would have been really convenient for me if it had been in place when I lived there).

So there are three sections of Dolfield Road (and a South Dolfield Road) because Interstate 795 and other factors caused a former road to be split into pieces, and there are three sections of Dolfield Boulevard because that's as far as the county has gotten on the plans for a new road. This ends today's episode of "I'm a geek and will research anything that catches my fancy".


Phil! Gold