It's the birds and the bees of community activism.
Here is the awkward question that no civic leader is really comfortable asking, andno bureaucrat is really comfortable answering:
Just where do roads come from?
That's the question Severna Park residents will be welcome to ask county Senior Transportation Coordinator Roland Davis at 7:30 Monday evening at the United Methodist Church on Benfield Road.
The meeting will be sponsored by the Millersville-Severn Run Federation, an umbrella association representing western Severna Park and Millersville. The discussion will focus on thearea north of Benfield and west of Jumpers Hole Road, but all are welcome to attend, says president George Cumberledge.
"I don't really know how it happens. We want to leave this meeting with a clear understanding of where roads in our (region) come from," Cumberledge said.
Federation members suspect that roads -- and the communities that pop up along them -- are born after some kind of mysterious "interface" between the county and developers, Cumberledge said.
"We want to ask about community-county interfaces," Cumberledge said. "The people who are sitting in these communities don't want to see them filled in completely."
Cumberledge and the federation's public works chairman, James Pell, have asked Davis to bring maps and charts related to road building planned in their area during the next 10 years.
Questions also will be posed about the ongoing Benfield Boulevard/East-West Boulevard state study, development along East Frontage Road and planned improvements to Jumpers Hole Road and Old Mill Road.
Davis, who coordinates the planning and evaluation of roads with the county's public works department and the state, says he will not be able to shed any new light on the outcome of the state's East-West Boulevard study that is due out next July.
But he plans to explain to the federation that blocking secondary roads like East-West Boulevarddoes not generally block fill-in development.
"People who don't know the process think the highway brought the growth, but it's the other way around. I haven't seen many exceptions to where the growth isstopped just by not building the road. Look at the mess in Montgomery County," Davis said.
Davis said plans to develop the area were set in motion more than 20 years ago. Now that there are jobs in the area and major highways like I-97 and Route 32 in place, he said, "theball is rolling," and "it is very hard to stop the secondary and tertiary growth of the network."