Crisis center needs an appropriate location I would...

LETTERS

March 17, 2002

Crisis center needs an appropriate location

I would like to thank both the Long Reach and King's Contrivance villages for hosting public forums on the proposed crisis and support center. The public is well-served when the opportunity to present various points of view is offered.

The concept of a 24-hour central crisis and intervention center is worthy. The three non-profit organizations involved have played a pivotal role in assisting those who need a helping hand. Their hard work has made life better for all of us who live and work in Howard County.

However, as a State Senator, the mother of a teen-aged daughter, and a resident of Columbia, I share the apprehensions of county residents who are concerned with the location of such a facility. First and foremost, the quality of life of our Howard County neighborhoods must be preserved.

Thus, I, along with State Senators Ed Kasemeyer and Robert Kittleman, have asked the County Executive and the Howard County Council to work together in searching for an appropriate site. This process must be thorough, and I urge my constituents to continue to express their views on this important issue.

Sandra B. Schrader

State Senate, District 13

Put crisis center near Brightfield Farms

I'm writing to express my support for the Crisis and Support Center that is being planned in Howard County. I think the location on Old Montgomery Road near Brightfield Road is a good choice.

I live in Brightfield Farms, which is along Brightfield Road. I think the Center will bring many benefits to our community, one being increased property values. A $6.5 million structure will add to the value of our surrounding land just as the new office buildings have.

The services are greatly needed. We are the clientele, so there is no greater safety threat to our neighborhood that does not already exist. Helping people in need adds color to our lives. Having the Center very close may encourage more surrounding community residents to become more socially aware and active within their community. The Center may also provide a few jobs. Someone could have a three-minute commute, walking.

I do think it is important to preserve existing mature landscaping and request that the woods and trees be preserved. I also think Howard County is in desperate need of sidewalks outside of East Columbia (e.g. near the entrance to our community Brightfield Road extending to Rt. 108 and Old Montgomery Road). Howard County's residents need options like walking and biking safely to nearby establishments. Moreover, conserving gasoline helps reduce our nation's dependence on foreign oil, saves us money and reduces pollution.

The Crisis and Support Center is something I want in my backyard.

Jeffrey Rose

Ellicott City

Light Rail spur should serve area commuters

I read with great interest the possibility that a Light Rail spur may be coming to Columbia. What troubled me was the destination, Arundel Mills Mall. What Columbia/Howard County needs now is public transportation for the commuter, not the shopper. If this proposed route is supposed to give Howard County Public transportation to Baltimore City, I think it is ill-conceived. Given the time is takes the current Light Rail to get from Baltimore to Marley Station this proposed route would require a Light Rail ride of at least two hours to get from Columbia to Baltimore City.

My proposed Light Rail route would instead serve the Baltimore/Washington Commuter. Currently there is a rail spur from the CSX's mainline already into Columbia.

This line was originally served the now-defunct GE assembly plant off Snowden River Parkway. This area has rapidly developed, Gateway office park being one example, and has open space still available for a large amount of parking, always an issue. This area has also become the "center of gravity" for Howard County.

By using this existing mostly unused spur, a Light Rail line could cross under two major roads, I-95 and Route 1, without building any new bridges. This Spur joins the CSX mainline very close to the Savage MARC station. The Savage station would be its first stop. Called the Camden line by MARC, this line already provides connections to Baltimore at Camden Yards and Washington at Union Station.

From Savage station, utilizing an old rail right of way, the Light Rail would continue across the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Fort Meade/NSA, one of the area's major employers. From Fort Meade, using the existing right of way, the Light Rail would continue on to Odenton's MARC station. Called the Penn Line by MARC, this line goes to Baltimore at Penn Station and Washington at Union Station.

This line also provides direct access to BWI Airport and Amtrak. This would be the first phase ending point for the Light Rail line.

Stephen A. Miller

Glenwood

Atholton Elementary doesn't need a sign

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