Saturday, August 19, 2006

howard county wants to pick a fight? bring it on

There's some major Montgomery-bashing happening Up The Pike in Howard County:
There are few better contrasts between the well thought out planning in Howard County and the sprawl, traffic congestion, and unnessisary reductions in the quality of life of Montgomery County and Northern Virginia.
Yes, let's talk about sprawl, Howard County. Forty years ago a man named Jim Rouse stood at a point halfway between Washington and Baltimore and said he was going to stop sprawl by building a city there in what was the middle of nowhere. Forty years ago, Montgomery County only went up as far as Calverton, roughly ten miles south. That isn't sprawl?

Man, and I was looking forward to shopping at the Mall in Columbia for back-to-school. I might have to hit up Montgomery Mall or Wheaton Plaza instead and keep my hard-earned dollars from floating up there in to the too-pristine-for-you acres of Howard County.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think your idea of shopping more locally is very responsible, both environmentally and for reducing congestion in Howard County.

But seriously, why do you think so many people move further and further out from cities? It wasn't thousands thinking "Hmmm, now how can I have a longer commute?". It was, in many cases, people wanting to flee congestion, crime, and pollution. Facilitating urban flight occurred with publicly funding highways that made commuting doable. Up until cars, cities grew far more quickly than surrounding areas.

Believe it or not, there was a time when people actually moved to D.C. because it had better public schools.

No one wants sprawl (other than those who see $$$ when it happens), but until urban life's societal and environmental woes are fixed the incentive for urban flight continues. So, looking at what has and hasn't worked in counties closer in certainly seems valid for those counties further out to best maintain quality of life.

thecourtyard said...

Very, very true. We have to make the cities competitive with the suburbs again, though for a number of people (such as myself) living closer-in will always outweigh a half-acre lot.

I was just frustrated by the tone of the Howard County blogger. I know Howard pretty well, but it sounds like they don't have a good idea of Montgomery County yet.

Silver Springer said...

This is the county where 95% of residents in Columbia drive to work and they have the nerve to talk about development in Montgomery? At least 80% of our county isn't one large residential subdivition. Do they have an ag reserve?

If only Howard county implemented some of Montgomery's land use decsions. It would be their saving grace.

Anonymous said...

Ok, Silver Springer, time for you to put some meat behind your stated numbers. Please cite a source for your claim that 95% of Columbian's residents commute to (or through) Montgomery County.

Until you do, is it ok to assume *all* your numbers are a little fuzzy?

hocoblog said...

Silver Springer. Where did that come from? Howard County is not Columbia. We have agricultural preservation. We have a number of methods to preserve open space. Have you ever driven up 29 from Silver Spring? When you cross the river what do you see? A lot of open space.

Development in Howard County isn't as urban as Montgomery County. But MoCo has a lot of open space left too. No doubt. We have a lot of development issues and no one should kid themselves about that. Our biggest development obsticle is Ken Ulman

hocoblog said...

Dan, You commented on HowardCountyBlog.

"I don't disagree that Howard County was well-planned,"

Thanks for the compliment.

"but then again, it's predominantly composed of Columbia, which is a giant development."

For Christ's sake. Howard County is not Columbia any more that Montgomery County is Silver Spring.

Marsha, Marsha Marsha.

Their are 270,000 people in Howard County and they don't all live in Columbia, only 90,000 do and they all don't commute to Silver Spring either. Where do you think the rest of the 180,000 people live in Howard County? 70,000 live in Ellicott City. BTW: Ellicott City is a much nicer place than Columbia - you should visit sometime.

Silver Springer said...

"Ok, Silver Springer, time for you to put some meat behind your stated numbers. Please cite a source for your claim that 95% of Columbian's residents commute to (or through) Montgomery County.

Until you do, is it ok to assume *all* your numbers are a little fuzzy? "

I don't make claims without the numbers to back them up. Go to the link below and look at pages 32-37. It was a study done by Reid Ewing of the National Center for Smart Growth at University of Maryland.

http://mc-mncppc.org/strategic_planning/centers/May_17/montgomery%20county.short.pdf

I don't bash Howard County and I would expect you guys to do the same. What you posted is different from a statistically backed critique. I find it as a form of internal cannibalism in this great state.

Anonymous said...

SilverSpringer, it appears I took your statement "This is the county where 95% of residents in Columbia drive to work" to mean "This (Montgomery County) is the county where 95% of residents in Columbia drive to work". Was your statement ambiguous? Maybe, maybe not. Was it accurate? No. The source you cited (p. 35) referred to commuters, not all residents.

Expanding on that nuance for a moment, perhaps Columbia has a higher percentage of one-earner households than Bethesda? If that were the case (I doubt it is), then having a higher percentage of commuters driving cars than Bethesda could equate to the same number of commuting cars per household in each community.

That said, other information from that center got an "interesting" review here

To address the point I guess you were trying to make - that a far higher percentage of Columbia's (vs. Bethesda's) commuters do so via cars, I agree. If Columbia had access to a more robust transit system, I'm sure that difference would be much less. Unlike Bethesda, Uncle Sam didn't dump a gazillion* dollars on Columbia for a metro stop. (* - I have no source for that amount.) Not yet anyway. When it does start raining Benjamins for such a project, I'm hoping for this sweet ride instead.

Regarding both counties' land use policies, both have a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully, improvement will be achieved.