ANPF and ECA submitted comments and concerns on the May 31 draft of the Sector Study. Many of
these were not addressed in the July 26 version. We still have a number of issues and unanswered
Firstly, we continue to be concerned that some of the recommendations ignore or do not address the results of Community Survey #1. When asked “What do you not like about the study area?”, respondents indicated, “Traffic when there was an accident”, and “Traffic on a day-to-day basis”. When asked “What is most important to focus on?”, two of the top three items were, transportation and environment. We remain concerned that this community feedback is not adequately addressed by the study. Also, the response rate to Survey #2 was very low and should not be considered representative of community views.
We would like to have a discussion with Planning and Zoning about the traffic and population and growth assumptions and the items below.
1. There can be no failed road intersections. All intersections should have level of service indicators of D or higher. The infrastructure recommendations from the 2009 Comprehensive Plan should be funded and the work completed prior to considering any land use changes. The recommendations remain valid today and are the basis on which many of the Sector Study’s recommendations are made.
2. For projecting future growth and for traffic analysis, the development pipeline (Appendix A) should include those projects within the entire geographic area that impacts Forest Drive. Additional TAZs in the county should be included in the analysis. The pipeline of potential projects is not up to date and should include those with applications approved, submitted for City and County review, and those in the concept stage where the property has been zoned for development and where discussions have been held with the City/County. Projects adjacent to the study area should be included because those potential developments have traffic and other consequences in the corridor.
3. We appreciate the City’s coordination with a County traffic specialist. However, additional coordination, broadening the discussions to the County’s long term land use/zoning and infrastructure funding plans, should be undertaken.
4. Several additional traffic model forecasts should be run, based on a build out of additional City and County pipeline projects that are located in or adjacent to the corridor. Forecasts should include the existing conditions shown in the Study’s Technical Appendices on pages C-9/12 and improved conditions pages C-31/32.
5. Land use changes could have a negative effect on the environment (more traffic, destruction of trees, storm water runoff into the creeks and the Bay, etc.). One of the plan’s three themes is to “promote a Green Annapolis”, which we take in part to mean protect the environment. A Green Annapolis is more than establishing a greenway and planting new trees. It is about protecting the land and existing trees. The plan should include a recommendation for the City to pass the No-Net-Loss Ordinance, 0-27-18, which will provide clear safeguards to prevent canopy trees from being removed (and other protections).
6. The City traffic standards should be the same as or higher than in the county, but should not be addressed until the feasibility of potential infrastructure improvements is confirmed with neighboring jurisdictions.
7. A plan for affordable housing should be formulated, including recommendations for incentives that could be offered. Affordable housing is crucial for attracting middle class workers. This is cited in the Technical Appendices, Section B (US City Economic Trends Memo) “… as a critical driver of business and workforce location decisions.” If an objective of the study is to create more jobs so that residents can work in the corridor, affordable housing is an important component.
8. Metrics should be included to assess whether the plan’s goals are being met and the land use/zoning changes are effective or need adjustments.
9. The character and zoning of properties along Forest Drive should remain suburban. The majority of the surrounding area is suburban. Per the community surveys, there is little community support for the Forest Drive corridor to be urbanized and transformed into a boulevard with four to five story buildings sited close to the roadway. Urbanization means up zoning properties and increasing densities. That will result in increased traffic congestion, require more traffic signals, and slow the movement of vehicles on the arterial.
Eastport Civic Association
P.O. Box 3539
Annapolis, MD 21403
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