Thursday, April 01, 2010

Wrong Way

When I sat down at my desk this morning I discovered that the batteries in my wireless mouse had died. As is often the case we had batteries in our supply closet but not the right batteries.

No matter. It was a gorgeous morning so I decided to walk across the street to Walmart to procure the proper size.

My office is located in the Columbia Business Center, the same complex as the MVA Express and Sushi King. Walmart is right across Dobbin Road in the Dobbin Center shopping center. This should be an easy walk.

It isn’t.

There are no sidewalks leading out of our office complex and there is no crosswalk at Dobbin Road. Once I managed to evade manic Dobbin drivers and cross the road, I found that there is no sidewalk on the other side either. Granted this wasn’t a huge problem for an old dog like me but when I came back across I passed two young women with a stroller attempting to make the same crossing. That is a recipe for disaster.

We really can do better than this. While all the focus has been on making Town Center a walkable community, there are plenty of other places in and around the county where a few simple fixes could provide a much more pedestrian friendly environment.

Now that’s a Healthy Howard plan I could really get behind.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. I live in Elkridge and could technically walk to Eggspectations/Donna's area on Snowden & 108 or the Food Lion/Costco/Lowe's shopping center on 108. I've tried it and it's a death trap! It's sad that we have all of these clusters of businesses in convenient areas that we can't even walk to from home or work. I wish that Howard County, of all places, would be more pedestrian friendly.

Mama said...

Amen. This is something I run into a lot in Ellicott City where I live. I have walked from my home in Valley Mede to the Miller Branch Library. It's not that far, but in order to do it safely with baby in tow, I have to walk east on 40 to Chatham Road to cross at the light, then west again on 40 to Plum Tree. Plum Tree does have sidewalks, but the curbs end abruptly making stroller use almost impossible, so I frequently end up walking on the road.
Sometimes on these jaunts, I would like to go a smidge further east to the Starbucks, but there are no sidewalks on that section of 40. Other times, I think it would be nice to walk to Safeway in the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center, but again, no sidewalks.
I love Ellicott City, but it is extremely pedestrian UN-friendly.

Sarah said...

Absolutely. It would make biking around easier-- no way am I taking my bike all over 175 and Snowden River.

Anonymous said...

Waverly Woods has sidewalks and they run in the street! Will never figure that out. They run with their dogs in the street, they run with cars coming in both directions, and last week there was a large peice of debris in the road which precluded me from driving. I had to stop in the mid-trek, risk getting rear ended (who stops for no reason?) so that the runner could run in the street and I wouldn't hit the debris.


Nina said...

Agreed. I live in Long Reach, easy walk to Victoria, where I often have brunch, but cannot walk due to lack of sidewalks. I would be much more likely to hit the bar there regularly if I could walk back and forth.

I used to walk from my house in Long Reach to the Dobbin starbucks regularly -- the path route is very short from Phelps Luck. However, the path ends and one is forced to cut through grass to make the last connection

Anonymous said...

I would love to be able to walk to Eggspecations and Donnas, as well as the Shipley's Grant shopping center (gotta earn my ice cream and Starbucks!) but going down Old Waterloo Road is nigh-impossible, especially given that there's no side area whatsoever on the bridge (and I know they're reworking it but I don't think they're expanding it all that much) and very poor visibility. And to get to Shipley's, I'd need to cross Snowden River Parkway, which is pretty much taking my life into my hands.

My husband grew up in Silver Spring and walked a lot of places. He's dismayed at the lack of walkability here.

Sadly, the one place I could walk fairly easily is the Lyndwood Giant, but I never do as I'm usually buying enough groceries to make carrying them back by myself pretty much impossible, especially when there's a twelve-pack of soda involved.

And yes, I don't understand why people won't run on the sidewalks when there are sidewalks. It is what they are for!

Dave W said...

...maybe if they called them sideruns instead of sidewalks...okay, bad joke....

Anonymous said...

To answer the question about running in the street vs running on the sidewalk, concrete is less porous and harder on your knees than asphalt. A runner can tell the difference after 30 minutes. Of course, there is no excuse for hogging the road and impeding traffic. The same is true for people walking their dogs without a leash or refusing to pick up after them. Or watching some driver toss a bag of MacDonald's trash out the window.
I will also give you one answer to why there are no sidewalks in many places in Columbia. Senators Cardin and Mikulski didn't include money for it in their earmarks in the stimulus package. That's a real shame considering that far less worthy projects were funded in the ARRA.

Anonymous said...

Sidewalks are not a priority as long as people prefer to walk and run in the road.

Stop doing that. Sidewalks would be a great project for ARRA funds.

Michelle said...

I work in the same business park and my coworkers and I agree that the situation needs improvement.

Give us sidewalks and we would be over at the Panera/Baja Fresh almost every day.

Make it easy for women in high heels to walk over and those lunch spots would see even larger crowds at noon.

As it is, Columbia's Best Deli gets most of my last minute "Oh Crap, I forgot my lunch!" business. Why? Because I can walk there and not step in mud.

Anonymous said...

I've been running for 15 years and will never understand running in the street. It's dangerous, much more dangerous than shin splints or knee wear. And you're breathing in the fumes from cars, yuck. Run at the lake, run at the gym, run on a treadmill at home, but you're undoing lots of good breathing when filling lungs with car exhaust.

Anonymous said...

Problems presenting pedestrian perils pursuing portable power purchase:
- private plot purveyors' poor plat plans?
- petroleum-powered pods' poor pilots petulantly produce precarious pavement passage?
- puffing proximate pods' produced pollution plumes?

Prevent predictable painful prognoses.

Proven: publicly-planned pedestrian pass-over ponts, pass-under penetrations preserve people.

Price presumed prohibitive? Pishaw. Protect precious progeny.

HoCoRising said...

Anonymous 12:09. How could you let that masterpiece go unsigned?

PZGURU said...

Why hasn't GGP done anything to install more sidewalks in Town Center over the last X years since they took over HRD???? I guess they needed to be "incentivized" before they could do the right thing.

It's also funny/ironic how nobody who supports the ill-conceived Town Center plan ever brought up the issue of a lack of sidewalks until the Town Center plan was concocted. Truly a red herring "justification" for this huge mistake of a political gift to GGP.

wordbones said...


Nobody has said anything about the lack of sidewalks in Town Center.