Additional comments re the Crumland and Thatcher proposed annexations—
The argument that building roads causes more traffic problems is a generalization that should never be used as a standard to determine when and where new roads are built. It is certainly not an absolute. We need extra lanes in Frederick; we are already inadequately served by sufficient lanes on our main arteries. Those who appreciate the tremendous growth that is projected for the Frederick area, recognize that in the next 20 years the County population is projected to increase by almost 100,000 (including 30,000 in the City). This will be about a 30-35% increase in population. This will make our already congested arteries much worse. And, again there are only two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes on US 15 running through the city. The rush hour congestion is already so bad that it stifles businesses and impacts lives. The commute from Montgomery County to Frederick during evening rush hour has doubled in time over the last 20 years, and the period of peak congestion in Frederick has expanded to be almost two hours in length.
Because Frederick is regarded nationally as an ideal place for many businesses, it is projected that there will be large increases in the number of residents and employers coming here—not only for the next twenty years, but for the next 30 years after that as well. This growth projection for Frederick is different from projections for other municipalities. Frederick’s close proximity to Washington, D.C. and to Baltimore combine to make Frederick one of the most desirable locations to live and work in the entire nation.
Thus, before the nation runs out of fossil fuel, there will be so much growth in population and businesses in this region, that our currently inadequate roads will become worse and worse. Battery-operated cars, bicycles, buses, scooters, trains and other modes of transportation should be developed—but this will not reduce the need that now exists for some new lanes.
I will work to bring about other modes of transportation to help meet our problems. But it will be at least 50 years before reliance on the automobile changes.
Currently, there is no feasible rail alternative (from Montg. Co. to Frederick) that would help Frederick County. A transit option would be feasible, and I am working to help bring it to pass. Extra lanes on I-270 would help the transit option.
There is no basis to project that a modern rail system in the city would be a viable mode of transportation. There is no basis to conclude that such a system would boost our economy. The current transit system that we do have (operated by the County) does not pay for itself; it is highly subsidized by the State; and there is no projection that it could become self-sustaining.
As I previously mentioned, bringing more jobs to the region would be a big help in taking cars off of the road.
I love farm land, too. But the highest and best use of the land immediately adjacent to the City of Frederick is for employment and housing. This is a prime principle of smart growth—to build homes and businesses where they can be best served by public utilities—rather than to sprawl all over the county. Some people argue that the development of the Crumland and Thatcher properties would be “sprawl,” but that is not an accurate description. Both of these properties constitute the northern most areas for development by the city in plans that were adopted at least twenty years ago.
If someone really believes that Frederick County is going to increase its population from 240,000 to 340,000 in twenty years, then he/she should begin now to plan for the basic improvements needed so that the growth will not cause any more problems than necessary. This is the basis for my support of the two northern annexations.
With regard to your comments on which businesses and which employers would be good for the region, and which would not—the City government is not going to be micromanaging which businesses establish themselves here and which do not. The City may have a small say in this, but it will be market forces that primarily dictate this.