Today's story by Frank Roylance about Beacon Park plans contained an interesting nugget:
In focus groups and email and phone surveys, the consultants found that, overwhelmingly, their target audience was looking for a "walkable" community with ample green space, a relaxing atmosphere with athletic opportunities, nighttime activity and a top-ranked school.
The biggest barrier for this audience was crime. Sixty-nine percent of those who rejected the location cited "risk and safety" as the reason.
The consultants also concluded that the new community needed a "story" or "theme." After more research they determined that the theme that most appealed to the Hopkins community and the broader Baltimore residents surveyed was "wellness."
I like the idea of a health theme, but I have to cringe a bit at the idea of yet another walking/jogging path that just doubles on itself, making any runner feel like a tiny space station that just goes round and round.
I was just lamenting to my wife last night that we had to drive in order to get to the NCR Trail. I know there are plans to extend the Jones Falls Trail northward to Cylburn Arboretum quite soon, but my impatient side wants it going all the way to Sparks now.
The Washington Times reported yesterday about how our neighbor city's bike system is now staggering a bit under growth. Part of the reason for that is the system's breadth: You can actually use Capital Bikeshare to get across town, even though -- as the article mentions -- you might have to go out of your way for a parking slot.
Here's hoping we eventually have to face similar challenges on an interconnected trail system. It would be lovely to explain to tourists at the Inner Harbor that they can indeed ride their bikes to York, but that they might want to call ahead if they want a trail-side hotel room because of heavy demand.
I'm not holding my breath.
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