Redskins plans come under fire

May 14, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

Traffic assumptions the Washington Redskins made in their quest for permission to build a stadium in Laurel are "highly optimistic," Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening said yesterday.

Mr. Glendening criticized in written comments to Anne Arundel County zoning officials the team's assumption that each private vehicle traveling to games would contain an average of 3.5 occupants. He also said the team underestimated the cost of necessary infrastructure improvements.

In their request for a zoning exception, Redskins officials promised to ease traffic problems on roads into the stadium by encouraging fans to car pool or ride buses or trains to the games.

They didn't say how much road improvements would cost, but a state study found that improvements could cost as much as $186 million.

Yesterday was the deadline for neighboring jurisdictions to submit written comments to Anne Arundel County.

Bond as incentive

Mr. Glendening suggested that Anne Arundel zoning officials insist that the Redskins post a bond to give them the incentive to make the necessary improvements and meet their assumptions on auto occupancy rates and mass transit use.

Mr. Glendening also worried about how often the stadium would be used.

"Twenty-five or even five additional events intensifies the community and environmental disturbance substantially," he wrote.

Joseph W. Rutter, director of planning and zoning for Howard County, wrote that Baltimore Avenue in North Laurel should not serve as a connection between Md. Route 216 and U.S. Route 1, as was proposed.

He said stadium traffic should be kept off Whiskey Bottom Road. Its narrowness, sharp curves and the fact that it passes through a residential area make it unsuitable for widening or use by stadium traffic, he said.

Parking tax proposed

Laurel Mayor Frank P. Casula suggested a parking tax that would be shared by the affected jurisdictions. He also said that a heavy reliance on Md. Route 198 to carry stadium traffic "would seriously affect the quality of life of our residents," and suggested diverting some traffic to Md. Route 32 or Brock Bridge Road.

He included a list of 33 preliminary questions from city officials on noise levels, impacts on wetlands, mechanisms for regulating parking, air quality, mass transit and the zoning process .

Walter Lynch, the Redskins' project manager for the stadium, said yesterday he had not seen the jurisdictions' written comments and could not comment on them.

"I'm surprised to see that [Mr. Glendening] is commenting on an Anne Arundel traffic study that does not encompass Prince George's County," he said.

A regional study that will address effects on Prince George's County roads and will explain the Redskins' traffic assumptions should be completed in four to five weeks, Mr. Lynch said.

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