City hasn't involved the community in Walmart traffic plan

November 11, 2010

The letter from Jennifer Erickson, Judith Kunst and Peter Duvall on behalf of their respective neighborhood associations suggests that the "community" has come to an agreement with the Baltimore Department of Transportation on a comprehensive traffic plan for the area around the proposed 25th Street Station ("Traffic improvements planned for city Walmart project," Readers respond, Nov. 10). The letter reveals significant differences in approach from that of the Remington Neighborhood Alliance.

The RNA was founded 10 years ago on the principle — widely shared throughout Baltimore's neighborhoods — that residents and homeowners must be informed about issues that affect them and must be given the opportunity to influence the decision-making process. When transportation department develops a traffic plan for Remington without soliciting input from those affected or even holding a single public forum, it violates this basic principle of fairness and due process.

It also violates basic principles of traffic planning.

A Federal Highway Administration/Federal Transit Administration publication entitled "The Transportation Planning Process: Key Issues" advises: "Without meaningful public participation, there is a risk of making poor decisions, or decisions that have unintended negative consequences. ... The fundamental objective of public involvement is to ensure that the concerns and issues of everyone with a stake in transportation decisions are identified and addressed in the development of the policies, programs and projects being proposed in their communities."

So why is the city's transportation department ignoring this advice?

The RNA will continue to push for the inclusion of affected Remington residents and homeowners in the process of planning changes to the traffic grid around the 25th Street Station. Until the transportation department reverses its policy of excluding Remington stakeholders, no one can legitimately claim that the "community" has agreed to anything.

Joan Floyd, president, Baltimore

The writer is president of the Remington Neighborhood Alliance.

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