All eyes are on Columbia redevelopment recently, as they should be. Larry Carson had a piece in this weekend's paper about the new plans and some contrarian views on the subject.
Frequent readers know that I am concerned about these plans. Originally, this was little more than an uneasiness in the face of change, which I admit had less to do with substance and everything to do with confused concern. Now I know very well why this sounds like a bad idea. The infrastructure just isn't there. Furthermore, the infrastructure that is planned to be built while the new living spaces are created is experimental. As County Council District 2 Candidate Anthony Jordan recently said to me "Buses and green transit are great, but a mother of two that needs to get errands done is not going to be able to manage the mass transit systems and long walks that go along with those plans." The passageways and foot bridges sound like a good idea, until you think of their practical application. Part of the reason these aspects of the redevelopment plans are so important is because parking is a low priority in the face of "cultural hot-spots" and the like.
Is Columbia looking to push out families to recruit young professionals? That's not the Rouse dream. My parents had me when they lived on the "Bridal Path" near Hobbits Glen. They had block parties, shopped exclusively at Columbia town centers, and participated in multiple community service organizations, including the now defunct Columbia Jaycees (Side Note: Columbia Jaycees were one of the first to allow female members). Pushing out families under the banner of "growth" will empty out Columbia's core. I obviously don't think this is a conscious goal, but I think the pre-existing families are being taken for granted.
I agree with, and wish our government would promote, organic growth. This forced influx of 5,000 residents just screams problems to me. I can't help but think of the Arundel Mills mall as a perfect example of pie in the sky thinking that has now turned into a crime zone. What is being done to make sure that doesn't happen here?