Friday, April 29, 2011

Another Elkridge Perspective

Yesterday I was having a casual doorstep conversation with a Teamsters union guy. We were discussing union benefits, specifically those dealing with healthcare when he happened to mention that he lives in HoCo. I asked where in HoCo he lived.

“Elkridge,” he replied, “or more specifically, Hanover.”

It seems this intermodal issue finds me even when I’m not looking for it. I asked what he thought about it.

“I live about a third of mile from the site they’ve been talking about. I really don’t have a problem with it.”

I honestly did not prompt him one way or the other. He didn’t know about my blog or my position on the matter. For obvious reasons I’m not using his name here.

“I tell you what I would like to see happen though,” he went on. “I’d like to see them close off Hanover Road at the rail crossing.”

He told me that Hanover Road has become more congested since Verizon opened their new call center on Coca Cola Drive a few years ago. “They drive way too fast too.”

As far as he was concerned, if CSX / MDOT selects the Elkridge site and it results in Hanover Road being closed, he was all in favor of it.

“But what about the people who live closer to the proposed site,” I asked. “They seem adamantly opposed to this.”

“Well they did buy homes next to a major rail line,” he answered.

After we parted ways I thought a little more about our conversation. Elkridge is a community of approximately 35,000 people. As of this writing, there are 144 members of the No Elkridge Intermodal Facebook page. Approximately 200 people showed up for a community meeting to urge politicians to stop it, That works out to less than one half of one percent of the residents. I point this out because some have suggested that the political activism in Elkridge is putting Columbia and its village elections to shame. In reality, the political apathy is about the same in both communities, even with a high profile issue such as this.

The other point is that not all residents of the Elkridge / Hanover area are "adamantly opposed" to having an intermodal terminal along Race Road, just as long as they can get something back in return...say perhaps a road closing.
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