A proposed north/south connector from the U.S. Route 29/Broken Land Parkway interchange to Little Patuxent Parkway, referred to as the “jug handle,” received several comments of support during a Howard County Department of Transportation meeting late last month.
Each year, the county submits a transportation priority letter to the Maryland Department of Transportation listing the county’s priorities to be considered for funding. At the public meeting on Jan. 28, Bruce Gartner and David Cookson, both of the county’s Department of Transportation, presented several projects to be included in the letter and listened to public comments about them.
Ian Kennedy, executive director of Downtown Columbia Arts and Culture Commission, owner of Merriweather Post Pavilion, said the jug handle ramp “will significantly improve access to downtown Columbia for both visitors and residents” and would “lessen the impact of traffic from large gatherings at Merriweather and elsewhere on the internal road network in downtown Columbia.”
Andy Shallal, owner and founder of Busboys and Poets, said many people had expressed to him the difficulty of finding his restaurant in the Merriweather District and that it was “a major concern.”
“If people feel it is too difficult or too risky to do something, they will avoid doing it altogether,” Shallal said. “The proposed Route 29 jug handle would provide much more direct and safe access to this new thriving community.”
Other proposed transportation projects discussed at the meeting included improved traffic safety initiatives and measures for the U.S. Route 1 corridor and funding and designing an initiative to expand Montgomery County’s FLASH service, a public bus service, along Route 29.
A draft of the letter will be presented to the Howard County Council and state delegates for additional comments before the final letter is submitted to the state this month.