Baltimore County is improving its sidewalks and streetscapes in downtown Towson to match the glistening new movie theater and restaurants that will open this year at Towson Square, the county announced Thursday.
"The opening of the new Towson Square entertainment center begins an exciting new time for downtown Towson," County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said in a statement. "We want to be sure people can easily and safely navigate downtown by car, by foot, by bicycle, bus or taxi cab."
According to the statement, the county has already upgraded every street light in downtown Towson between Washington Avenue, Burke Avenue, Virginia Avenue, and Joppa Road. Business owners are also working with the Towson Chamber of Commerce to make their own exterior lighting brighter.
Many business owners and patrons had found that some areas of downtown Towson were poorly lit. Such improvements will make Towson University students who walk from campus or their apartments feel safer, said Nancy Hafford, executive director of the Towson Chamber of Commerce.
Hafford said meetings with Towson University students revealed that students walk on side roads and alleys, as opposed to just walking on York Road, but some of those side areas are not well let. County officials made a list of businesses in the core that don't have exterior lighting, and the Chamber has urged them to change.
"Everybody has been very receptive because we want to light up Towson at nighttime," Hafford said.
Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said a task force he formed last fall to look at safety in the area of York Road and Burke Avenue found "lighting was clearly a priority for all of us trying to make the downtown safer."
Additionally, Baltimore County said it would be putting in new sidewalks on Delaware and Shealy Avenues. Those two streets bound Towson Square, the $85 million entertainment complex that will feature eight restaurants and a 15-screen Cinemark movie theater. New sidewalks and decorative plantings will also be installed on York Road between Cheseapeake Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue.
"With dozens of new restaurants and local favorites, one-of-a kind shopping and entertainment, downtown Towson is becoming the place to go on a Saturday night - or any night," Kamenetz said in a statement.