Savage to quiz Redskins on stadium traffic plans

January 28, 1994|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,Staff Writer

If Redskins representatives can resolve traffic problems that the proposed Laurel stadium might bring, they could win support from residents in Savage.

That's what some residents plan to tell Redskins officials at a community meeting 7 p.m. Monday at Carroll Baldwin Hall, called by the Savage Community Association.

"Our biggest concern, I'm sure, is going to be the traffic," said Bill Waff, president of the community group. "If the traffic is going to go down U.S. 1, I think it's going to be a serious concern."

Redskins traffic engineers are projecting that the proposed stadium -- a 78,600-seat complex in Anne Arundel County with parking there and in Howard County -- would bring 23,000 cars to a sold-out football game.

Some of those cars could travel Route 32 and U.S. 1 through Savage, which sits between Route 32 and Laurel, to get to the stadium.

The Route 32-U.S. 1 interchange has for years been a sore spot for Savage residents. Over the past two months, engineers from the State Highway Administration have erected three traffic lights along U.S. 1 in Savage to help eliminate traffic snarls and accidents in that area.

Residents worry that additional cars could add to traffic problems. But some say if Redskins representatives can quell those concerns, they might find an ally in the community.

"Pretty much everyone is for it," said Metta Lash, smiling as she stood behind the counter at Ma's Kettle, a restaurant on Baltimore Street and the hub for community discussion. "Of course, we don't have to live right next to [the stadium], either."

The Redskins' presence in Laurel could attract more attention to the community of about 20,000, which is known mostly for historic Savage Mill and the area where workers from the old mill used to live.

The mill and the historic homes sit off of U.S. 1, along Foundry and Baltimore streets. Those traveling Route 32 and U.S. 1 can see brown signs that tell of the site.

"It can't do anything but help us," said Beverly Schwink, manager of the Mill, which is now home to antique and artisan shops. "That's just more exposure for the mill."

Bruce Jaffe, owner of the Freestate development, has said that he believes the Redskins' move to Laurel will have minimal impact on what stores go into the shopping center.

Walter Lynch, the Redskins' stadium project manager, has agreed to attend Monday's meeting to discuss concerns of Savage residents. He said one of his economic advisers also would attend.

"The real reason we're going to Savage is because it's part of our community outreach," Mr. Lynch said. "We just want to listen to their concerns. We're trying to get into the community so that people can realize that we are not two-headed monsters."

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