The State Railroad Administration has reduced the number of parking spaces it plans to build for its MARC commuter train station in Odenton, and the agency plans to add green buffers and islands to make thelot more attractive.
"We have been working with Anne Arundel County to coordinate all efforts," said Tom Cashour, a Mass Transit Administration engineer who is working on the project. "We want a lot thatwill satisfy both of us."
-- The plans seem to meet with the approval of nearby residents -- at least those who serve on a town center committee charged with preserving the historic section of their community, which includes the station.
"This is the first time we were getting back anything from state," said Sally Shoemaker, who sits on the committee and is a member of the improvement association's board of directors. "There are some questions that are not resolved, but these plans are moving forward more in keeping with the community's wishes."
State officials haven't decided when construction will begin. The rail administrationstill must acquire one more piece of property before construction can began. "We haven't locked in a design yet," Cashour said.
The parking lot would then be about 9 acres. The state will not disturb thehistoric house owned by sisters Edna Lucille Jones and Elizabeth Lowman, both in their 80s. The sisters successfully fought the state's efforts two years ago to condemn and raze the family home.
Cashour said that decision reduced the number of spaces that could be added by 200. In addition, he said, a green buffer will be built around the house and workers will try to preserve trees near Lokus Road.
Early plans called for making the Odenton station a "super station" with spaces for about 1,100 cars, plus the 605 spaces currently at the site. The plans now call for about 800 spaces.
Shoemaker said there still are concerns about traffic in and out of the lot, which usually is overcrowded during peak hours. State and county officials are trying to address that problem, she said.