Monday, August 18, 2008

what's up the pike: dumping grounds and new towns

Apartment complexes in White Oak, seen from the new Whitehall Square development at Stewart Lane and Lockwood Drive.

It's a new week, and I'll be kicking it off in New York City, checking out grad schools. (Could Just Up The Pike be moving to the Big Apple? We'll have to wait for those big fat acceptance letters.) Here's a look at what's happening Up The Pike:

- East County has long been considered a dumping ground for affordable housing, with over ten percent of Montgomery County's subsidized units in the 20904 zip code alone. Last week, Adam Pagnucco at Maryland Politics Watch kicked off a five-part series on the county's MPDU (Moderately Priced Dwelling Unit) program, examining where affordable housing is located and why it's become that way.

As always, Adam backs up his argument, with solid data from the Housing Opportunities Commission and some unseemly comments from Bethesda residents who fought to have a county-owned house torn down rather than used for a low-income family. Check it out: Part One | Part Two | Part Three | Part Four | Part Five

- Over the weekend, the Post wrote about Konterra Town Center, the centerpiece of the mini-city on the Montgomery/Prince George's line. Set to open in 2012, it'll be like "National Harbor . . . but bigger," with forty-five hundred new homes and six million square feet of office and retail space.

Not surprisingly, residents in Burtonsville - right next door - worry it will "destroy their community's rural landscape," with one complaining that the area "is not ever going to be the same again." I can't wait.

- A photo from Just Up The Pike was selected for inclusion in the Schmap Guide for Baltimore, an online travel site with reviews and information about local attractions. The image - of a light-rail train taken for last year's story comparing the MTA to the future Purple Line - will be used for a piece on Baltimore's public transportation.

It's the second time a JUTP photo appears in a major publication; last spring, a picture of Rockville Town Square appeared in a newsletter published by Rutgers' school of public policy.


Sligo said...

Randomly, I have a photo included in the Schmap Guide for Chicago.

Thomas Hardman said...


While on the subject of Burtonsville never being the same again (and you not being able to wait)...

I was just up the pike out to Burtonsville and beyond, on a mission of utmost secrecy entirely unrelated to anything international. Both times I just had to stop off at the Dutch Country market and buy some produce.

On the way back home, I noticed that there was yet-another public notice of hearing to be held on the matter of Mr Jones and the shopping center there. It seems he wants to get out of building a path or somesuch.

Evidently there are going to be a lot of hearings before much of anything happens at that shopping center. The Dutch County market was full of signs to the effect of "we'll be here until further notice, thanks for your loyalty".

As long as there was no real hurry to any plans to do with that center, I decided to reconnoiter along the path of my proposed straightening-out of MD-198 along a straight line from the MD-29 underpass to rejoin the old Spencerville Road alignment at roughly Kruhm Road. Well, it looks like we'd have to kiss some houses goodbye along Winifred Road. Other than that, there are so few structures along the way that it seems almost as if planners had long expected such a straightening of Spencerville Road through Burtonsville, and sensibly didn't build there.

But wait! -while driving up Santini Road, it appears there's a proposal to go before the MNCPPC folks about turning the Athey property into a 12-home cluster development.

That's smart, folks, let's plant some new McMansions right in the only space left that would serve the purpose of ameliorating Burtonsville's crushing traffic woes.

Totally unrelated to Burtonsville, I suggest that folks take a drive along Batchellor's Forest Road between Norbeck and Olney. Those last farm fields out that way look to soon be even more oversize tract housing.

Dave Murphy said...

Nothing- but nothing- that exists in the corridor between Baltimore and Washington ought to be considered "rural". Burtonsville's rural character disappeared a long, long time ago when 29 was widened to 6 lanes. It's a halfway mark. Konterra won't ruin its rural character. Baltimore and Washington will.