Friday, November 27, 2009

Bridging the Gap

The local press and blogs have been all over the story about Bridge Columbia, the grassroots effort to create a “transit” bridge connecting Town Center and Columbia points west to the Village of Oakland Mills and Columbia points eastt. The new bridge would theoretically replace the existing pedestrian with a widened version to accommodate mass transit vehicles along with pedestrians, cyclists, and perhaps others. The key distinction of this proposed bridge is that it would not permit regular automobile traffic.

Of course this is a good idea long overdue.

One of the founders of Bridge Columbia is Fred Gottemoeller. Fred is an architect and engineer specializing in bridge design. He is the president of Bridgescapes, LLC which is based in Rivers Corporate Park in Columbia. He is also my old neighbor from Town Center. Fred and his wife are quintessential Columbians. Pat tends the flowers surrounding the community sign and Fred helps out with other homeowners association tasks. I mention all this because I think it’s important to understand that Fred and the two others behind this effort really “get” Columbia.

Joining Fred in Bridge Columbia is John Slater. John has been a landscape architect in Columbia for almost as long as there has been a Columbia. After leaving The Rouse Company in 1974 he started Slater Associates, Inc.. After years of running his business out of suite of offices above the stores at Wilde Lake Village Green he moved his team to Town Center. This is another guy firmly rooted in Columbia.

Rounding out the group is Dave Bittner. Dave and his wife Ilana run Pixel Workshop, a Columbia multi media production firm. Dave grew up in Columbia and ended up purchasing his childhood childhood home on Lake Elkhorn. I don’t think Columbia roots can go much deeper than that.
Bridge Columbia is not just about a bridge either. Its really about intelligent transit planning to weave a redeveloped Town Center into the very fabric of Columbia.The group made three specific recommendations in their public testimony to the county council on CB 58 and CB 59.

1) Start all transit feasibility studies 60 days after legislative approvals of the GPA, ZRA and APF changes, before the First Final Development Plan.

2) Include a test for transit capacity in the APF ordinance and give APF credit for the necessary transit improvements.

3) CEPPA # 3 should be revised to test the need for a third interchange against improvements at the existing interchanges and proposed and required transit improvements.


Anonymous said...

my, aren't you the prolific poster over this thanksgiving hol?

Flowers said...

Excellent article. It was helpful and informative. hope to see more greats posts like this.

cmb said...

It's a great idea! I'd love to be able to ride my bike (safely) to my downtown office. We should all support this idea for the benefit of those who have to use public transit as well as to promote a green way to get to downtown.

PZGURU said...

AS LONG AS THE BRIDGE IS NOT FOR VEHICULAR USE, other than buses and mass transit, then I think it's a great idea.

I completely disagree with their recommendation to give APF credit for mass transit improvements. Mixing mass transit "factors" with regular ADT factors and the like would be inaccurate and misleading. No developer can guarantee mass transit usage therefore no developer should be able to get credit for mass transit "improvements". When the mass transit usage "predictions" turn out to wrong (ie: over-stated) and other road improvements are needed, who will pay for it then? The TAXPAYERS.

Leave APFO alone and make developers pay for their required road improvements.