Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Public meetings: Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan

bikesville walksville sign
The original highway sign, reading Pikesville and Essex, is on York Road in Baltimore County. The image was created by Shahid Rana of the Baltimore County Office of Planning.

Typically, I only write about public meetings in the DC region, even if I do believe that the blog is more national in scope, at least in terms of how people are expected to think about the information presented.

I was the project manager and chief author for the creation of the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, although the posted draft does not include all that was submitted. The plan was turned in at the end of June 2010 and posted in August 2010. (My position was funded by a grant which ended the day the plan draft was turned in.)

Even though the plan hasn't yet gone through public hearings, through an unusual confluence of events, many of the process design revisions were enacted into law in February 2011, as part of the creation of a county-wide Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Commission. The law is actually one of the stronger ordinances in the U.S. The trick will be to see how the systems are developed to bring about the changes. See "Baltimore County passes pedestrian & bicycle legislation unanimously."

• Wednesday, Jan. 18, 6 to 8 p.m. at the Benjamin Banneker Museum, Almanac Hall, 300 Oella Ave., Catonsville.

• Wednesday, January 25, 6 to 8 p.m., in the cafeteria of West Towson Elementary School, 6914 N. Charles Street, Towson.

have to do with getting public comments in advance of scheduling public hearings for approval, which evidently will be later this year.

I do plan to go to one of the meetings, probably the one in Towson, just to see if anyone shows up and to hear people's reactions "to my work product."

Walking the street because there is no sidewalk, Warren Road, Cockeysville, Baltimore County. This location is a few hundred feet from the area middle school. Photo taken during an informal workshop on walk to school/safe routes to school.

The plan isn't perfect. We just didn't have enough time to do everything. I wish that the County would have been willing to pop for a few months of ungrant money to pay me and my assistant to cover some additional issues, do fine tuning, etc.

But overall I think it's an important step forward and helped me understand better the constraints of working within government, and how to think about doing bike and pedestrian planning at various scales.

Also see "Best practice bicycle planning for suburban settings using the "action planning" method."




Baltimore County Sidepath/Hiker Biker Trail on Franke Ave. in Lutherville

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