Thursday, April 29, 2010

Forty Freaking West

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.


Scott said...


There you go again. Trying to have it both ways.

Why would we ever want to hold back Turf Valley's commerical expansion until the county actually had a plan for 40 F-in West?

What exactly do you stand for? Development at any cost or waiting for a prudent, measured plan that supervises and controls growth?

Get off the F-in fence.

Anonymous said...

Route 40 is like a time-line diorama of how to develop New Jersey, as you head west from the Patapsco. Slap-dash zoning with no future vision has led to a recreation of the armpit of America.

It gets better the further west you go, but, seriously, who signed off on this sh*t? Surely, not stewards of the land...was it the Sopranos?