Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Coffee with Calvin

This morning I met up with Councilperson Calvin Ball for coffee in Columbia. Among the wide range of topics we covered was councilmanic redistricting, specifically the redistricting of the Wheatfield and Brampton Hills neighborhoods in Ellicott City. Under the proposed plan those neighborhoods would move from Courtney Watsons District 1 to Calvin Balls District 3. To listen to some of the affected residents you’d think the council was trying to put an intermodal terminal in their backyard.

Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

There are some similarities though. In a show of solidarity at a recent public hearing on the issue, the opposition wore red, just like the Hanover activists. They are almost as irrational too.

It’s as if these people think that the county political district they fall in will somehow decrease their property values and forever change their community identity.

It won’t and yes it might, but so what, change is inevitable after all.

Honestly, most people have no clue as to what council district they live in and, in this case anyway, it doesn’t really matter. If these people like Courtney Watson as their councilperson, they’ll love Calvin Ball. He’s just the kinder gentler version of Courtney.

It some ways Calvin may be the better fit for them. These communities are hemmed in by a busy Montgomery road on one side and MD Route 100 on the other with little to no bicycle and pedestrian connections to nearby shopping, schools and parks. With his experience developing an pedestrian/bicycle plan connecting Blandair Park to Town Center and eventually the hospital, Calvin could potentially help make these neighborhoods more pedestrian friendly.

Not that he might just do that anyway, even if they’re not in his district. He’s just that kind of guy.

By the way, Bridge Columbia is a critical piece the Blandair/Town Center bike route. It's a grassroots efforts to help fund and build a new bus/bike/pedestrian bridge to replace the dismal pedestrian bridge that currently connects the two sides of Columbia. If you like that idea go visit the website and sign up to get involved.
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