Baltimore County is asking the state to make about $3 million in improvements along Frederick Road in Catonsville's Paradise community.
The request from County Executive Kevin Kamenetz to state Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn also asks that state transportation planners look into a rail or rapid transit bus link starting from Woodlawn and ending at Lexington Market in Baltimore, where riders can connect to Metro subway and light rail systems.
Improvements have been made to the Catonsville commercial corridor on Frederick Road, but more needs to be done to an area inside the Beltway, Kamenetz wrote in an Oct. 20 letter to Rahn.
Each year, leaders of Maryland's counties send a list of project requests to be included in the state's consolidated transportation program to be considered for funding in a five-year period.
A streetscape project for Frederick Road, between Prospect Avenue and Briarwood Road — about one-fifth of a mile — would cost $3 million, according to county spokeswoman Ellen Kobler.
Construction could begin as soon as next summer or fall, if the state provides funding in next fiscal year budget, she said.
The most important improvement, Kamenetz wrote, would be removing elevated tree planters on the sidewalk that impede pedestrians and block signs.
"These planters are basically barriers to the businesses," said Maureen Sweeney Smith, a member of Partners in Paradise, a group of volunteers working on beautification and marketing efforts. "It's like putting a wall up on Frederick Road between the businesses."
Plans for the work go back to at least 2006, Sweeney Smith said. She said the work would be a "huge improvement" in Paradise. "I would be really excited, except I've heard this [before]," she said.
Joe Palozzi, president of the Paradise Community Association, said businesses are doing their part to spruce up the neighborhood, as some building owners are fixing up properties. In recent months, a Mexican restaurant and Dunkin' Donuts opened in the corridor, while the Paradise Cafe revamped its menu and extended its hours.
"People will be able to walk there," he said about the work, if it gets completed. "It'll look a lot nicer and people will come when they see something that looks nicer."
County Councilman Tom Quirk, a Democrat whose district includes Paradise, said the area could get a needed revitalization.
He has been impressed with what businesses, private investors and community members have done to improve the area and wants the county and state to continue the momentum.
"It's time for the government to step up and do our part," he said.
Additional requests include improvements to the Kenwood Avenue sidewalk from Lillian Holt Road to Hazelwood Avenue, as well as Eastern Avenue from Mace Avenue to Route 702 in Essex.
Other county traffic improvement requests include the funding for an interchange on Interstate 795 at Dolfield Boulevard and improvements at Reisterstown Road and Painters Mill Road in Owings Mills, work to accommodate development at Sparrows Point and funds for projects in White Marsh and Middle River.