Annapolis Summit ponders plans for city's future

October 02, 1994|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,Sun Staff Writer

The city of Annapolis is "a place that has been loved to death," according to Robert Yaro, a professor at Columbia University.

Much like other cities, such as Westport, Conn., high-priced chain stores have invaded the picturesque downtown. "It's destroyed the life of the community," Mr. Yaro told the Annapolis Summit, a meeting yesterday of planners and civic leaders trying to devise a strategy for the future of the Annapolis Neck Peninsula.

In many areas, the damage of uncontrolled growth will be difficult to reverse without drastic steps, he said. "You need to adopt the Nancy Reagan-just-say-no school of planning."

In addition to stopping unwanted growth, he said, communities can reshape strip shopping malls into areas of parks and small shops. "The notion is to turn a strip into a living, functioning

community," he said.

The summit drew about 200 people who are angered by urban sprawl, traffic congestion and the disintegration of their communities, to the Governor Calvert House on State Circle.

After listening to national planning experts, the participants divided into groups and spent two hours identifying problems and proposing solutions.

Topping the list of problems were an inadequate transportation system, poor land use and pollution. The groups also cited concerns about racial and ethnic discrimination, the erosion of neighborhoods and the loss of diversity.

"You've got to fit the whole community in here, not just the fancy houses," said Carlo Brunori, a biologist who lives in Hillsmere Shores.

The participants proposed solutions ranging from a change in the structure of city government to multicultural education.

Anne Pearson, head of the Alliance for Sustainable Communities, which organized the summit, said the conference was designed to be the start of a community-based effort to shape the land-use policies of the area.

Patrick Hare, a transportation consultant, said communities will have to do a better job of persuading families to give up their second cars and use mass transit.

"Transit is a dog," he admitted. Public transportation is usually slower, less comfortable, and less convenient than the automobile.

But, he said, mass transit is cheaper. "What is the way to market this slow, cheap dog?" he wondered.

Mr. Hare said communities need to stress that families can save up to $3,000 a year if they give up their second cars. He said rental car companies should be encouraged to set up satellite lots near residential areas so families could rent a second car if they need to.

"If we keep knocking the car and don't realize how good it is, we'll never be able to control it," he said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.