The A. J. Advisor Autumn 2017

Volume 23, Issue 1 | Download

Accelerate  |  Broken Transportation System | 


Winer on Odenton by Jay Winer

Two important announcements were made recently that both impact the Odenton Town Center.  Anne Arundel County announced the start of its process to update its General Development Plan (GDP) and the Central Maryland Chamber announced the formation of its reinvigorated “Odenton Now “Coalition. Each is important in its own right for different reasons. However, they have in common their likely concentration on the continuing buildout of the Odenton Town Center, guided by its own County adopted Odenton Town Center Master Plan (OTCMP) since 1994. They present opportunity for supporting and accelerating the managed growth of our area, while at the same time presenting challenges to implementing plans and “getting the job done” after 40 plus years of planning.

The County’s GDP has been updated on the average of every ten years, so this is the 6th time for this process since the County began it in 1968. Having been around for each and every Plan process, I can say they all differ in approach, some depending more on in-house planners and some with outside consultants. In theory, the GDP is general as to land use and depends on updates of its utility, transportation, environmental and other master plans to implement the general plan.  Most critically, the County’s Capital Improvement Plan and budget are to finance the improvements indicated by these plans.

The GDP has changed little in concept over 5 decades, depending on West County (including the Odenton Town Center) to be the prime driver of employment and residential growth. That is exactly what has taken place. However, the market has driven that more than the Plan. Arundel Mills and The Village of Waugh Chapel were prime examples, while the Odenton Town Center languished behind and the County’s implementing ordinance, utilities, transportation and Capital Improvement lacked coordination and also lagged behind.   Most growth in population, income and traffic in West County came from developer fronted utility improvements and road and sidewalk construction.

The County has for the first time under the current administration understood the County is the developer of its Town Center Plan for Odenton. Departmental coordination, planning and particularly funding were committed to support the OTCMP.   The transit-oriented development project at the MARC station, though delayed again, is a major financial commitment for the County. However, there are numerous other projects prioritized for need and submitted to Anne Arundel County by the community.

Hopefully, the County will not lose sight of the projects needing immediate design and funding to improve the connectivity between all the major development areas in West County. They are critical to creating a sense of place and community for the many new developments and growing population. They’ve been part of the Odenton Town Center Master Plan and all its revisions for many years.

The “Odenton Now” group was borne out of the frustration of owners and developers a number of years ago. The group’s focus on providing infrastructure in cooperation with the County, is what created the degree of activity we see today in Odenton. The group, now under the auspices of the Central Maryland Chamber (formerly the West County Chamber that merged with the BW Corridor Chamber), is beginning a new push to keep the County’s “eye on the ball”.  Sidewalks, local road and intersection improvements must be funded now for the vision of the GDP and OTCMP past, present and future to be realized.
Let’s do it NOW.


Do You Know

2018 will mark 50 years of waiting for fulfillment of the buildout of Anne Arundel County’s largest town center – Odenton Town Center.

When Will We Fix Our Broken Transportation System?

by Stuart Title 

I have been involved with, and an advocate for, public transit since joining the Board of the former non-profit Corridor Transportation Corporation (CTC) back in 1999. I served as President for six years and then remained on the Board when CTC became the CMRT (Central Maryland Regional Transit) and served until July 2014. Following are my observations since then and the consequences:

Over that period of time I cannot tell you how many transit plans and studies were done by the same people. So there have been few, if any, new or fresh ideas, thought processes or suggested solutions. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. WE CONTINUE THE INSANITY AS YOU READ THIS.

It took 16 years to find a property, wade through the bureaucracy, and build a bus maintenance facility with two counties, in agreement from the start about splitting responsibilities. Millions of dollars could have been saved during that time to expand services or improve vehicles. BUT IT WASN’T.

Unfortunately, funding and its formulas continue to be an obstruction. When it comes to funding public transit, federal funding is generally for major projects in metropolitan areas, not areas such as central Maryland with a larger population and workforce than the two major metropolitan areas in Maryland.  The current solution is privately funded roads/transit. These for-profit solutions may be the wave of the future (ICC, MagLev, HOV)…so long as enough people need and can afford to use them. NOT YET DEMONSTRATED IN THE USA.

The “culture” of taking public transit needs to be changed. It is perfectly acceptable in major cities across socio and economic means. However when we look at smaller metropolitan and suburban areas, not so much; its primarily blue collar, entry-level riders. In order to get white collar, executive level riders out of their cars and accept public transportation, the “culture” needs to be changed, in addition to offering a clean, reliable choice. UBER AND LYFT HAVE BEGUN THAT PROCESS IN SOME RESPECTS.

Funding, innovation and fundamental change in culture continue to be major impediments to dramatically “fixing our transportation system”.

Accelerate | Broken Transportation |
Odenton – A New Sense of Place | Pigs Get Fed, Hogs Get Slaughtered | A Season of Farewells

Are You Ready?

by  Michele Waits

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