The stretch of Route 40 between Rogers Avenue and Plum Tree Drive is a mess. In fact it has been a mess for as long as I’ve been around here and I’m no spring chicken. The fate of forty west was sealed long before planning and zoning caught up with the “miracle mile” sprawl of suburban retail. Its dysfunction predates the development of Columbia.
The Route 40 Enhancement Study that was published in December 2004 acknowledged that “Commercial uses have been built at different times creating awkward or nonexistent pedestrian and vehicular linkages between uses. Setbacks, landscaping and building types have also varied over time creating a hodge-podge appearance. Pedestrian linkages between the residential neighborhoods, shopping centers and services were rarely considered.”
Though the report called for a variety of measures to be completed in six years very little appears to have occurred. It’s still a mess. In an editorial last year in The Howard County Times observed that “the county government has checked off a few items on the to-do list, but the bulk of the rezoning and the design manual needed to realize the big-picture aspect of the panel's recommendations remain unfinished, without any timetable for completion.”
While there has been much discussion in District 1 about the development plans for Doughoregan Manor, it’s been awhile since I’ve heard anyone talking about forty freaking west.
This year's walking tours of Columbia
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