Jefferson Streetscape Task Force
Citizens working with government.
June 10, 2006
5036 Corun Road
Jefferson, MD 21755
Mr. Neil J. Pedersen
Maryland State Highway Administration
Mail Stop C-400
707 N. Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
Dear Mr. Pedersen:
This letter is a formal request of the Jefferson Streetscape Task Force for a waiver of bike compatibility lanes in the Jefferson Streetscape design, which follows a two mile stretch of Maryland route 180 from Valley Elementary School eastward to Old Holter Road.
The Task Force is a citizens group formed to work with the State Highway Administration (SHA) on the Streetscape project. You may recall that the Jefferson Streetscape project started in May 2000 as a cooperative venture between the Maryland Department of Transportation and the citizens of Jefferson for the purpose of improving our main street (Jefferson Pike or MD 180). After two years and 30 community meetings with MDOT’s engineering team, general public and block meetings, and with the full backing of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, the conceptual design was approved by the community and sent to the legislature as part of the Draft Consolidated Transportation Program. The citizens of Jefferson, under the direction of the Task Force, and the SHA engineers labored hard for two years to obtain 100% acceptance of over 100 property owners - a very remarkable accomplishment. Unfortunately, at the end of Phase 1 in February 2002, the entire Jefferson Streetscape initiative was shelved due to state budgetary constraints.
After a two year hiatus, the funds for Phase 2 (the Engineering Design phase) were finally allocated. In January of this year, SHA engineers redrew the conceptual plan to accommodate new Federal ADA sidewalk requirements and new state guidelines regarding bike compatibility lanes in state construction projects. To our surprise, these redrawn plans forced the elimination of over 30 oneet parking spaces, about half of the total that were in the 2002 conceptual plan. Nearly all the originally planned green space was lost as well.
After a April 6 meeting with Jefferson Pike property owners, the Jefferson Streetscape Task Force unanimously adopted a resolution requesting SHA to redraw the plan without the bike compatibility lanes - to determine just how many parking spaces might be recovered. SHA has produced the plan as requested and discussed it with the Task Force. After review, the Task Force unanimously approved a resolution that recommends this latest, revised plan to the citizens and property owners of Jefferson.
While many of us regret the elimination of the bike lanes from the design, the physical constraints of our historic town and the practical needs of our residents pragmatically preclude such bike lanes. The town was laid out in the 1840's, so most of its houses abut the road. The lack of space requires choosing some use options over others. We therefore respectfully request a waiver of the bike compatibility guidelines in Jefferson's Streetscape design, so that our Task Force may move forward towards securing approval of the revised design from the citizens and property owners of Jefferson.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter.
James F. Carpenter
President, Jefferson Streetscape Task Force