Friday, July 22, 2011

Bifurcated Elkridge

HoCo loco blogger TJ Mayotte recently wrote a column for Elkridge Patch where he lamented how I-95 divides his community.

“Our sense of community should not be split by a mere highway, and we should not allow our self-perception (or deception) to create a town divided. There are many outside forces working against a solidified Elkridge; we should not be one of them. Our elected officials represent portions of our town, none the whole, dividing their attention with other communities. Major roads run against us, and the sway of our neighbors (Columbia, Ellicott City, and Baltimore and Anne Arundel Counties) seeks to pull us apart.”

And yet that is almost certainly the reality on the ground. Even the state sees it as such. In the most recent “Brief Economic Facts” for HoCo prepared by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development, the Maryland Department of Planning separated Ilchester from Elkridge, showing Elkridge as having a population of 15,593 and Ilchester with 23,476.

I believe many folks living in “Ilchester” feel more aligned with Ellicott City than with Elkridge. Market researchers have long acknowledged that major barriers like rivers and highways create both real and perceived separation in communities. Even in Columbia there are those who feel the difference between the east and west sides of Route 29.

TJ thinks this house divided is unhealthy for Elkridge.

“Secession is not an option. Upper, Lower, Harwood Park or Rockburn, we are one community with shared concerns. We would do well to remember that.”

He faces an uphill battle with this notion. I am not convinced that the east side of I-95 shares the same concerns with the west side.
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