Monday, August 29, 2005

If You Build It, They Will Drive

How far is too far, asks this interesting article in the Wash Post, about a developer's plan to build a 4,300-unit residential development in western Maryland. And he figures some of the buyers will be commuters to the Washington area's suburban job markets along the I-270 corridor in Maryland.

' "If I was going to draw a realistic radius, I would think you'd get folks going to Germantown, to northern Montgomery County, to work," says the developer, Michael Carnock. "You can get there in an hour and a half in rush hour." '

Here's a thumbnail of the project: a 23-acre equestrian center, a hiking trail and a shopping center, 2,280 single-family homes, 424 townhouses, 912 condominiums and 684 apartments. Carnock says it will be kind of new urbanist, "similar to Montgomery County's Kentlands."

Carnock says it will attract "active adults" who are willing to commute for a few years before they retire, and the recently retired who want to be close to their former homes.

And speaking of distant commutes, here's Post auto columnist Warren Brown's bitter description of what has happened to another Washington highway corridor - Route 7, which used to be a ride through open countryside.

Now, says Brown, Route 7 is "a permanently congested artery filled with cars and trucks and drivers commuting to jobs miles away from their faux-rural, prefabricated houses and rushing to shopping centers to spend the money they've earned on stuff that they ferry back to their homes."


At 8:28 AM, Blogger Jim Bacon said...

Terrapin Run is a poster child for the type of "New Urbanism" project that does more harm than it does good. First off, by attracting residents willing to commute an hour and a half, the development will put unnecessary strain on Maryland's secondary roads. Secondly, it won't be a balanced community: 4,000 residential units supplemented by a shopping center, hiking trail and an equestrian center. Residents will have to travel long distances to avail themselves of services and amenities (like health care) that won't be located in the shopping center. Mr. Carnock may be able to sell houses based on the beautiful mountain setting, but it's hard to imagine residents remaining satisfied for long. Thirdly, the affluent residents will demand urban-style services from a rural county unprepared to deliver them. Not a positive scenario.

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Ray Hyde said...

Its location will make Terrapin Run an oxymoron in more ways than one, but look at the bright side, now you will have lots of space for infill.

At 12:04 AM, Blogger C. P. Zilliacus said...

Mr. Burke, here in Maryland, we
usually refer to the western
counties of our small state as
Western Maryland, much as we refer
to our friends and neighbors across
the Potomac River in reasonable
proximity to the Capital Beltway
as Northern Virginia.

Mr. Bacon, the part of Allegany
County where Carnock is proposing
to construct his development
doesn't have much, if anything,
in the way of secondary roads,
in part because this is rugged
terrain, and in part because
Maryland is _narrow_ from north
to south (the narrowest point is
at Hancock). There's one road,
and not much else - that road
being I-68, the National
Freeway - in some sections it
is paralleled by Scenic U.S. 40,
but not continuously.


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