Five Ideas for Frederick Road

A group of community leaders met with State Highway Administration officials to discuss options.


A group of community leaders is hoping to keep the momentum of small busines revitilization going on Frederick Road by further partnering with the State Highway Administration.

On Friday aftertoon at , local business leaders and elected officials met with SHA officials to discuss what projects could be started to make Frederick Road through downtown Catonsville more pedestrian-friendly. Since Frederick Road is a state road, most projects would have to be done through SHA, officials said.

The meeting was organized by the economic development committee for the .

Here are five ideas that were discussed at the meeting and where they stand:

1. Adding more pedestrian crosswalks: SHA officials said the only funding for Main Street improvements are funding sources that make ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) improvements and improve pedestrian safety. An example of a more visible crosswalk is outside the Catonsville Library.

2. Expanded sidewalks for outdoor seating for restaurants: The idea has been proposed by local real estate agents Kirby Spencer and George Brookhart and was discussed at the meeting, but any expansion of sidewalks for outdoor seating would also involve partnerships with the county and local business leaders.

3. Improved signage reminding motorists of pedestrian and bicycle traffic:  Some of these improvements will occur as part of the county's long-term for the area.

4. Having parking kiosks instead of meters: Business leaders and Councilman Tom Quirk are starting to look into the idea of replacing parking meters with kiosks similar to what is available in Baltimore City and Towson. SHA officials said the changes in parking would just need approval on a state road, but it's typically not an issue.

5. Sidewalk improvements: SHA officials shared maps that outlined sidewalk improvements that are from South Rolling Road east to the Baltimore Beltway.

Catonsville resident Jim Himel said the group hopes to prioritize what can be done with existing proposals.

"Our timing to work on this is actually good because of this existing plan," he said referring to the state highway's sidewalk upgrades, which are ongoing.

What do you think is the highest priority for downtown Frederick Road?

charlie Murphy February 04, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Many communities that "welcome" pedestrian traffic thrive. Parked cars do not purchase goods, people do. If parking along Frederick rd. is completely eliminated and adequate parking lots established our sidewalks will come alive. Turning parking lanes into bike lanes will increase pedestrian traffic, reduce the volume of vehicular traffic, lessen the need for parking and reduce speeds. I ask store owners: would you rather people walking in front of your store or a parked car. Frederick road needs to be the road to Catonsville, NOT through Catonsville. Charlie Murphy
Jean February 04, 2012 at 04:53 PM
"New buildings" could mean anything from commercial sites to residential developments. I would saw that the increase in residential development in the past 20 yrs in Catonsville has caused a traffic influx. That being said, I agree that commuters (both local and beyond) cause this glut of traffic problems. There are ways, of course, to help alleviate these problems - in making our community roads more pedestrian and biking friendly, we reduce and narrow travel lanes in order to push traffic that should be on the highway actually on to the highway. (Widening some of them, as proposed in the plan linked in #3 above, only serves to help traffic aggression.) Traffic calming measures (speed bumps, traffic collars etc) should be used without the excuse of emergency vehicle access - ask Del Malone about this. Building more crosswalks like the one in front of the library would help with ped access and would make the crosswalks more visible to drivers, and again, narrows the road slightly (if only by perception) making community roads commuter unfriendly and pushing those cars to the highways were they belong.
Ed Riesner February 04, 2012 at 08:07 PM
Bingo! Charlie you hit it on the head. TO Catonsville not THROUGH Catonsville
Linda Sanders February 04, 2012 at 09:14 PM
Growing up in Catonsville meant going to the Alpha Theater, Woolworth's, Moss's Drug Store (both locations -- learning to smoke behind the new one), banks, 3 supermarkets (A & P, Food Fair, Acme) within a few blocks, and so on. Also a few bars generally regarded to be patronized by n'er do wells but probably visited by many pillars of the community as well. It was busy, bustling, and full of things to do. Then, things went right down hill. No more Herald Argus, no more theater, NO supermarket, etc. Recently I lived in Catonsville for two years and was so happy to see the positive changes, updates, new stores, etc. It isn't stores that bring traffic problems, it's parking and use of Frederick Road as a freeway bypass. Nothing would be more pleasant than a few outdoor eating venues, wider sidewalks and off-street parking. Atwater's arrived after I left, much to my dismay -- the molasses cookies at the Belvedere store are worth the 10 pounds they added! Don't give up on Catonsville, work on upgrading, do things privately without all the government help (when possible). Engage the community. And get a good, upscale supermarket!
Bob Cross February 07, 2012 at 12:24 PM
I concur that the traffic problems on Frederick Rd are commuter based, but I don't see a solution short of putting up toll booths and charging $$ per car, or installing many more traffic lights making travel slower and therefor more inconvient. My own personal contribution is to always drive the posted speed limit. It is amazing how quickly cars will stack up behind you. If everyone did this it would slow down the flow of traffic. As for the village, we love to walk down and see what is going on or to get a treat. And anticipate seeing any additions.


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