Unbeknownst to me when I banged out this post was that Courtney Watson was already all over this. Last night I received an email from the current council chair in response to my lament about the sorry state of the Route 40 corridor. It’s pathetic that this primary gateway artery in the third or seventh best and richest place in the country, looks a lot like the Ritchie Highway corridor in Glen Burnie. Don’t even get me started on how difficult it is to cross from one side to the other, in a car. To cross on foot is, well let’s just say unwise.
Though I kvetched about the lack of any visible improvement since the Route 40 Enhancement Study was completed in 2004, things have apparently progressed, to a degree. Courtney writes that “There is a streetscape master plan already designed and that will be implemented starting in July. The design manual is still within the committee, but should be released shortly. “
Today she told me that the streetscape improvements will occur over about a one year time frame. That makes sense. This is not a good time of year to plant trees for instance.
Still, real progress will take time. The property in the most congested areas is largely private and it will take a voluntary effort on those property owners part to implement significant changes. As a carrot the county holds out the possibility of redeveloping a commercial property under TNC (Traditional Neighborhood Center) zone in exchange for adhering to the Design Manual standards.
From the Howard County Zoning Regulations:
“This district is intended to provide for the development of pedestrian-oriented, urban activity centers with a mix of retail, service, office and residential uses. These centers should be located near Route 40 and close to residential communities that will benefit from a pedestrian-oriented local business area.”
So there you go. There is some movement to a better day on forty freaking west but it’s gonna take some time.
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