Way..... Out there !

Way..... Out there !
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Monday, June 23, 2008

Staples Corner Urban Design Meeting

A large crowd – more than usual for such meetings according to the Planning officials – turned out to listen and offer their concerns and advice at the first project meeting for the Staples Corner urban design project. In all it looked like more than 100 people crowded the media center (library) at Crofton Middle School on Wednesday, June 18, at 7 pm.

A few points stood out:

• The county planners are not considering recasting the area for big box stores (think Wal-Mart) or hi-rise office or apartment buildings, they repeatedly assured us. The intent is for Staples Corner to remain low-key commercial as it is now, but make it more accessible and safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. The planners refer to it as a "village center" concept.

• Reno's Restaurant has a lot of fans in the area! People kept coming back to this – that the restaurant is a community center, beloved by local residents, and must continue to be a part of the area. The planning officials seemed to agree.

• A traffic circle or roundabout brought mixed reactions: about half the audience seemed to think they're the solution to the traffic problems of such intersections; the other half thought they would be a disaster that would only contribute to congestion and rush hour backups. The planners said they needed more time to analyze their data on traffic patterns and come up with possibly workable solutions. Everyone agreed that the ever-increasing traffic at Staples Corner is dangerous (especially for anyone on foot) and maddeningly slow at some times such as evening rush hour and when the Renaissance Festival is open in the fall.

Two more community meetings are planned: the next to be on transportation issues (the traffic analysis and consideration of various possibilities including mass transit); and then one on urban design concepts when these are fully developed. 

Contact: Lynn Miller, planning administrator; Michael Fox, senior planner; or Kevin Gambrill, community planner  at 410-222-7432  (Office of Planning and Zoning, Long Range Planning)

John L.

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