Recently, the traffic company representing the proposed new Bel Air Walmart responded to the latest Harford County deficiencies of June 7, 2013. They continue to ask that the county approve the site plan.
If this group was capable of providing acceptable traffic mitigation plans, one would think they would have already supplied them as requested. It is becoming increasingly apparent that traffic mitigation at the intersections of Routes 924 and 24 with Plumtree Road, Bel Air South Parkway, Wheel Road, Bright Oaks Road, Patterson Mill Road and the proposed Blue Spruce Road is not feasible or possible without compromising the safety of the public and the roadways.
I still believe it is essential that the Planning and Zoning Department with State Highway Administration and Public Works Assistance examine the big picture of how all the proposed projects in the area converge and then determine the overall impact to traffic congestion and the safety of the public. The current system of reviewing and improving development projects in sequential and isolated steps fails to take a comprehensive view of the increased traffic generated by all the proposed developments. The reality is that one project will not have much of an effect, but when added together with a proposed Walmart Super center in the midst of other proposed projects in an already congested area, a traffic nightmare is inevitable.
I believe the recent amendment passed by the County Council to create a Maryland Route 924 corridor plan focused on land use, transportation connectivity and quality of life along the Md. 924 corridor from Lake Drive to Porter Lane is one step in the right direction. Secondly, the current grading system to determine whether an intersection passes or fails is antiquated and should not be used as the sole criteria whether new development can be approved in a congested area.
It is my belief there are two possibilities to stop the proposed Walmart project:
Walmart is unable to meet the P&Z; /SHA requirements for traffic mitigation and site plan is not approved. ph-ag-letter-snodgrass-0823
Walmart decides to abandon the project at this location.
It is my hope both will happen.