175-108 INTERSECTION IS FAILURE IN PLANNING
From: Scott Foerster
Here's Bobo's latest boo-boo:
Route 175 is one of the major entrances to Columbia and Howard County from Interstate 95. The first traffic light coming off I-95 toward Columbia is Route 108. You need to know that (County Executive M.) Elizabeth Bobo has decided that this intersection will fail. Fail means something worse than the Route 29 and Owen Brown intersection problems of the last decade.
Fail means traffic backing up more than a couple of lights in all directions during morning rush hour. Are you interested in spending another 10 minutes commuting through this mess . . . each morning, each evening?
The Route 175 and Route 108 intersection has been planned to fail.
Howard Research and Development is clearing trees for an I-95 pit stop at the corner of Route 175 and Route 108. It is this development that will cause the intersection to fail. Construction has already started. This is going to happen unless you do something about it.
Elizabeth Bobo's administration is refusing to enforce the law. There is a law that has been part of New Town Zoning since Columbia existed, as follows: "In acting upon a Comprehensive Sketch Plan, the Planning Board shall be guided by Section 122 of these regulations and shall particularly consider the location and adequacy of all streets and ways, in relation to the highway plans of the county and state." New Town Zoning Regulation 122.C.5.A.
This law legally and specifically applies to this case. Yet Elizabeth Bobo's administration refuses to enforce this law claiming that it was "poorly written" and "would not hold up in court." Since when do elected officials get to pick and choose which laws they enforce?
If you want to get involved, call Elizabeth Bobo. Let her know of your concerns. Call Shane Pendergrass, D-1st, and let her know that you feel the same way about this development as she and many others felt about the I-95 truck stop. Call Vernon Gray, D-3rd, and ask him to publicly oppose this I-95 pit stop. Vote for State Delegate Virginia Thomas, D-13A, who has consistently supported appropriate development. Donate money to the Route 108 Corridor Coalition, 8417 Freedom Court, Columbia, 21045. The coalition has filed an appeal in the Circuit Court of Howard County of the county's approval of the I-95 pit stop.
Elizabeth Bobo will claim Route 100's completion is going to solve the problem. But these are the facts:
*There are no traffic studies supporting this.
*Route 100 currently is scheduled to connect Routes 29 and 104. Route 104 will dump the Route 100 traffic onto Route 108, further congesting the 108-175 intersection.
*The section of Route 100 between Route 104 and I-95 will not be completed in the near future. Not all the land has been purchased and citizen groups are fighting over the path it will take.
*Traffic studies in similar areas repeatedly have shown that if a road such as Route 100 were completed, it could increase traffic along the Route 108 corridor.
*A four-lane extension of Snowden River Parkway would help alleviate the 175-108 intersection problems, but HRD has decided that it is not willing to pay for a four-lane extension. The county is not fighting HRD on this issue either.
Elizabeth Bobo will claim that the development is not an I-95 pit stop.
*The traffic study predicting the 175-108 intersection failure projects that 40 percent of all new traffic will arrive from the general I-95 direction. Where is this traffic coming from? Not Jessup.
*Where are 24-hour restaurants, a hotel and gas station usually found next to each other?
*If every single neighborhood group, school principal, PTA, and home owners association in the region actively opposes the development, who is it for?
*If a truck stop advertised 30 miles in each direction is on one side of the interstate, what is usually on the other side?
*Why is the development called Benson Business Center, when it consists of all night restaurants, a gas station and hotel?
*If it is not an I-95 pit stop, what is it?
If you do nothing, HRD is going to turn this entire area into one massive traffic jam. A new elementary school has opened that was not part of the most recent traffic study. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Bobo is making plans for a 10,000-seat soccer stadium at this same failed intersection.
Elizabeth Bobo's 1990 General Plan proposes a 6,000-person employment, mixed use, high density, industrial, commercial and residential development on what is now the 200-acre University of Maryland Horse Farm 1 mile from the 175-108 intersection. But neither the state nor the county has any funds budgeted for correcting the nightmare at the intersection.
Someday irresponsible growth has to stop. Growth should improve everyone's quality of life. This I-95 pit stop is but one example of how unrestrained, inappropriate growth transfers the wealth of our property, our time, our safety and our community into the pockets of HRD.