Marks will amend bike trail measure after West Towson group voices concerns

Fifth District County Councilman David Marks said Friday that in the wake of concerns expressed by a neighbor community group, he'll amend his proposal to add a West Towson trail to the county's bike and pedestrian plan — but won't pull the resolution.

The West Towson Neighborhood Association sent Marks a letter on Friday asking him to withdraw the resolution, citing a lack of input and listing several issues that members have with the proposal.

The resolution, which is scheduled for a council vote Monday, June 4, seeks to amend the county bike and pedestrian master plan to add a community trail that stretches behind the Towson Y property between Allegheny and Chesapeake avenues.

Marks, who represents Towson on the council, said adding the trail to the plan would help its standing when state funding applications are due on July 1.

"The whole purpose is to secure funding to stabilize the trail and stop erosion," Marks said. "The resolution will help me get funding form the state recreational trails program to provide some important repairs to the trail, and I've made it abundantly clear that any improvements will be done with the community in mind."

"There's no sinister motivations behind improving a trail that is clearly disabled," he said.

But after hearing the concerns listed in the letter — and speaking with Stephanie Keene, president of the West Towson Community Association — Marks said he will amend the measure to remove all references to bicycling, and add that there will be no intensive signage.

He said the measure will also stipulate that any construction activities to repair the trail will be done with community approval.

All three issues were raised in the letter.

According to Marks, he mentioned his desire to secure funding for the trail at a community association meeting in early May. This past week at a council work session, he told council members he had community support.

But the letter from the West Towson association contends that "the timing of this bill puts (the association board) in a position where we have no time to discuss with our board and adjacent property owners."

In an email, West Towson Neighborhood Association board member Mike Ertel said the board had asked Marks to hold off on the legislation until they met to discuss it in June.

The resolution was introduced at a council meeting on Thursday, May 24, and was discussed at a work session on Tuesday, May 29. It is scheduled for vote at the council's Monday, June 4 session.

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