Linthicum Community Sign – Progress Report #01

As the restoration of our community's beautiful "Welcome to Linthicum" sign begins, LSIA will be producing a series of Progress Reports so you can follow along as the Sign transforms from worn and tired to fresh and renewed.  As Progress Reports are posted, we will announce the new report on the LSIA and other community e-bulletin boards.


So, to read the 1st Progress Report, click on: "Linthicum Community Sign – Progress Report #01."

The Loop Report Before the Greenbelt City Council By: Dan Woomer

Note from Dan: The original article was written by Cathie Meetre.  The original article was edited to include updated and additional information provided a representative of The Boring Company during a recent three (3) hour meeting with members of the Citizens Against the SCMagLev (CATS) leadership, which I attended.  We listened and peppered the representative with questions throughout the meeting. *…* denotes information I added throughout and at the end Ms. Meetre’s article gathered from our meeting with the Boring Company.


On Tuesday, May 28, Economic Development Coordinator Charisse Liggins described the status of the Hyperloop system at the regular meeting of the Greenbelt City Council.  *Now renamed the “Loop,” the proposed system is now planned to employ modified Tesla Model X vehicles running underground from Washington to Baltimore at speeds up to 150 miles per hour.  The project will be constructed by Boring Company, a tunneling company founded by Elon Musk.* The Boring Company has not held any public briefings and has relied instead on its website to share information.  Click here to visit The Boring Company website.


*As stated on The Boring Company website, “Loop is a high-speed underground public transportation system in which passengers are transported in autonomous electric vehicles (AEVs) traveling at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour.”*


Greenbelt City Planning Coordinator Terri Hruby said that a preliminary environmental assessment is currently underway.  The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) will then determine whether the project has enough environmental impact to warrant a full environmental impact analysis.  Even if a full analysis is not required, Hruby noted that the project must still be reviewed by the Army Corps of Engineers because its tunnels will pass under navigable waterways.


*Currently, the FHA position the environmental impact of building the Loop as proposed, does not require a full Environmental Impact Study (EIA), as compared to the proposed building of the SCMagLev, because the FHA was convinced that the environmental impact of building the Loop has low to no impact on the environment and surrounding communities.*


Hruby noted that this project has the support of Governor Hogan.  Greenbelt City Council members asked if the project is contingent on transfer of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway from the federal government to the state.  Hruby said she did not think this had been considered.


Zero Emissions?

Liggins described what the project involves and how it will impact Greenbelt.  *Her description applies to all communities (including Linthicum) along the proposed route.*  The entire system would be underground with twin tunnels under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway.  The Boring Company maintains that the project will have very little environmental impact. It says that its structures are low profile and wouldn’t interfere with anything around them.  The company also says the vehicles used in the Loop are battery-powered modules that produce zero emissions. Councilmember Rodney Roberts pointed out that no transportation alternative produces zero emissions.  Power must be generated to charge the batteries and used to construct the vehicles. Roberts said that claiming a zero emissions system was simply deluding the public.


*Councilman’s Roberts statement is an accurate.  Everything built and operating produces some sort(s) of environmental impact.  The question is if the benefits to society outweigh the cumulative impact on negative consequences?  As we learn more about the evolving Loop concept, construction, and operation plans, the more it is looking like a system that will serve the residents of our communities, counties and the State of Maryland, as opposed to the SCMagLev, which has little to no value to the communities throughout Anne Arundel and Prince Georges Counties.  See prior postings to learn more about the impacts of building the SCMagLev will have on Linthicum, our neighboring communities, Anne Arundel and Prince Georges counties, and Maryland.*


Liggins played a video clip from Boring’s website. *Click Here to watch Video.*  The clip shows a small SUV being lowered on an elevator into the ground. It then queued and accelerated into a 12-foot diameter tunnel.  At the end of the run, the vehicle is lifted out of the tunnel on an elevator to the surface at the other end. Councilmembers wondered about the slowness of loading and unloading cars one at a time causing underground traffic jams.


The system has not yet been fully tested, according to Liggins.  She noted that development was moving faster than the website conveyed.  Information available to the public on the website is always a step behind the actual state of the project.  The company is using a test track about a mile long that runs under the Las Vegas Convention Center. It isn’t clear how long testing will last because the Loop project is not yet classified as either a rail or road project, which affects federal agency jurisdiction.


Tunnel Boring Launch Sites

Greenway Center Drive in Greenbelt is projected to be one *of four (4)* boring machine launch sites.  A shaft would be made in the ground and boring machines lowered into it. This also makes it an egress point for waste produced by the machines.  It will result in a constant stream of dump trucks over the period of construction.


Councilmembers expressed concern that this heavily loaded traffic would tear up the roads and cause a noise problem for residents.  Once the project is up and running, the launch sites become maintenance facilities and access points.


*As with any large scale construction, traffic, noise and potential road impacts will affect Anne Arundel County, as it will in Prince George's County.*


Staying in the Loop

Ms. Liggins suggested Elon Musk has apparently barred his team from meeting with the public.  Council expressed concern at what appears to be the company’s unwillingness to deal with the concerns of residents affected by the project.


*As stated earlier, a representative from The Boring Company reached out to the leadership of the members of the CATS and met for three (3) hours to brief the CATS leadership and answer any and all questions.  Following the meeting, the representative also provided additional information and links to their website, included at the end of this article. The Boring Company also provided information on their information sharing efforts with the public at larger.*


Greenbelt Councilmember Judith Davis suggested that Elon Musk is trying to get this project done before SCMagLev.  She went on, “[Musk] is having a fun time with his money and he’s getting the camel’s nose under the tent for the full Hyperloop later ... [Moving] a thousand people a day isn’t going to make a dent in transportation.”


*Note:  While the tunnels are being constructed to initially run autonomously operating Tesla Model X vehicles, The Boring Company’s plan is to build the system in a fashion that would allow the tunnels to be upgradable to accommodate the Hyperloop.  As noted in prior posted articles, the Hyperloop goal is to employ specially designed “pods” capable of travelling at speeds of hundreds of miles per hour to move people quickly between East Coast cities. This technology is in early stages of development.*


Roberts stated categorically that he “wanted them *(The Boring Company)* to come out and tell us and give us the details.”  Although private money is funding the project *Elon Musk, through The Boring Company, is planning to pay for the land acquisition, the building and operation of the Loop.*  Roberts opined that if The Boring Company wants to use public resources (such a space under the parkway) then the public deserves to be involved.


Councilmember Edward Putens felt that council must do the right thing and have a public hearing.  He wondered, therefore, what exactly the Council expected to accomplish during the current meeting.


Hruby explained the purpose of the meeting was to explore where the Greenbelt stood on the issues.  She noted that although the project was privately funded, significant time and effort was being expended by Greenbelt in considering the Hyperloop.  It was not true, therefore, that there was no cost to the public. *Similar County and State resources will likely be used as the Loop planning moves into the permitting phase and if approved the building phase.*


Davis made a motion that the city declares itself a party of record and informs The Boring Company of the city’s concerns.  Hruby will draft a communication to The Boring Company for the Consent Agenda on June 3rd.


State Board of Public Works

In a related matter of transportation infrastructure, Mayor Emmett Jordan suggested sending a letter to Peter Franchot, Maryland State Comptroller, regarding potential funding of the state portion of the SCMagLev development.  Council is concerned that the board may approve the expenditure even though the evaluation is not complete.


*Note:  We don’t know what State funding for the SCMagLev being discussed here.  LSIA is looking into this to see what we can find out.*


Franchot is one of three members of the State Board of Public Works.  The other members are the governor and treasurer of the state. This board is responsible for the expenditure of all capital appropriations and the superintendence of nearly all state public works projects.


Councilman Roberts questioned whether it would be illegal for the board to make such a resolution in advance of the completion of the process.  Council requested that Hruby draft a suitable note for this topic to be discussed further at the next regular council meeting.


*Additional information -

As currently proposed, the Loop will offer another means to travel between Baltimore and Washington, DC, with entry and exit points into and out of communities along the way, that have a relatively small footprint surface structures, with a system built under existing roads and not under homes and businesses, at a cost point per traveler similar to MARC.  The basic concept is you get to a local launch site by bike or bike share, personal vehicle, taxi, Uber, public transportation, or other means. Your Loop vehicle comes up out of the ground, and the door(s) opens. You board and the door(s) close and the vehicle descends into the Loop tunnel entrance. Your Loop vehicle is automatically queued and when it is your turn, the autonomous vehicle accelerates into the tunnel.  You cruise at speeds up to 150 miles per hours, until you are approaching your exit point. Your vehicle slows down and pulls onto an elevator. Once your vehicle reached the surface, you exit and anyone waiting for their ride enters the same vehicle and the process repeats itself to deliver the next rider(s) to their destination. Once you exited the Loop and are on ground level, you can walk or use various surface transportation means available to reach you intended final destination.  How do you arrange for a ride? You will be able to use a kiosk at the entry/exit site, or a smartphone app.


Two very important points of information were provided during our meeting by The Boring Company representative:


(1)  If approved, permitted, built and operating the Loop’s Main Artery between Baltimore and Washington. DC, the Boring Company then plans to meet with communities along the Loop and ask them if they would like an entry/exit point in or near their community.  If the community says no, The Boring Company will say okay and if you change your mind feel free to call on us. If the community says yes, then The Boring Company will work with the community to find an appropriate place to build an entry/exit point, which accommodates accesses from under existing roadways.  The current planning of The Boring Company is to purchase or lease the land on which the Loop entry/exit points are located. They will then tunnel from the Loop to the designated entry/exit point under existing roadways. Again, their stated position in the construction of the Loop and the entry/exit points is not to tunnel under the homes, businesses or other sensitive area, but under existing roadways or private land owned or leased by the Boring Company.  The Boring Company current thinking includes an entry/exit point in or near Linthicum if we say yes. My thinking is a location near or on an existing BWI parking lot accessed off of Aviation Boulevard (Maryland Route 170), but if the project gets this far our community will be actively engaged in any consideration of building a entry/exit site and option(s) for the site’s location.


(2)  The Boring Company does NOT intend to use Eminent Domain to take private or public property.


The current planning for the ventilation, emergency access and system maintenance points range in size from 15 feet by 15 feet to 30 feet by 30 feet or the size of a three (3) car to six (6) car garage.  The entry/exit points will be built to accommodate at least two (2) elevators, and range in size from 1,500 square feet to 8,000 square feet.


To learn more about the Loop building process, The Boring Company has prepared a 16-minute informational video you can access here: www.dcbaltimoreloop.com/.


“Comments, questions, and station suggestions can be emailed to eastcoast@boringcompany.com.  


If you wish to participate in the NEPA public comment process, please visit The Boring Company project website at www.dcbaltimoreloop.com.


To read and/or download a copy the current Environmental Assessment for building the Loop, go to: www.dcbaltimoreloop.com/DraftLoopEA.pdf.



Source: Meetre, Cathie.  “Two Alternative Transportation Modes Take Heat from Council [Loop and SCMaglev].”  June 6, 2019. The Greenbelt News Review.


Source: May 22, 2019 meeting notes from Dan Woomer.  Meeting with a representative from the Boring Company with senior leadership of the Citizens Against the SCMagLev (CATS).  To learn more about CATS and the opposition to building the SCMagLev visit their Website at: www.stopthistrain.org/, or their Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/groups/CitizensAgainstSCMaglev/.


Source: The Boring Company website at www.boringcompany.com.


Anne Arundel County Visioning 2040 Survey

For those of you who can't make the Visioning Meetings in your community there are surveys available online that mirror the open house activities. These surveys will remain open for three weeks after the date of the community meeting.

To take the surveys, please visit https://www.aacounty.org/departments/planning-and-zoning/long-range-planning/general-development-plan/visioning-meetings/index.html

Title: AA County Visioning 2040 Report on May 2nd Briefing By: Dan Woomer

On the evening of May 2nd, AA County Planning and Zoning representatives held the 2nd in a series of information sharing and gathering meetings to share and gather information on resident concerns and priorities leading to the next Small Area Development Plans to serve as the blueprint for AA County development through 2040. This night’s briefing and interviewing session was held at North County High School for the residents in the area of Linthicum and BWI.

The County representatives set up information materials, including community border maps, and a listing of residents previously identified planning and zoning concerns.

There are three (3) activities attendees are asked to focus on during these sessions:

(1) SAP/GDP Recommendation Dot Exercise

Participants will review the recommendations from the Small Area Plan and the 2009 General Development Plan that were not implemented and prioritize which recommendations remain valid and should be carried forward in Plan2040 or community plans in the near future.

(2) Vision Exercise

Participants have an opportunity to share their Vision for the future:

What is special about your community?

What has changed in the last 15 years?

What needs improvement?

What should your community look like in 20 years?

(3) Community Boundary Review

Anne Arundel is a County comprised of over forty distinct communities. What community do you identify with? Review a map of communities in your area and provide feedback on community boundaries.

To see a mapping of the boundaries of our Linthicum-Shipley Community, noted as “Linthicum Heights” are – see: http://annearundelmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8e851f927eb448d6a9044ea83a27269b.

The Linthicum Community boundaries shown are:

To the North –

The Linthicum Heights Community boarders Baltimore City, and Howard County. Included with the Linthicum Heights border is a large portion of Patapsco Valley Park.

To the South –

The Linthicum Heights Community border from the east extends from B&A Boulevard, along the southern boarder or Cabin Branch Park, following Andover Road, to Aviation Boulevard. The border then follows Aviation Boulevard past Northup Grumman, past Amtrak Way, to Old Stoney Run Road, just to the west of the Northup Grumman Parking lot.

To the West -

The Linthicum Heights Community borders the Hanover Community, includes the MDOT facility, includes a parcel of land to the west of the MDOT facility and Interstate 195, and the Amtrak rail, extending just north of Furnace Avenue, up to the border with Howard County and Baltimore City.

To the East -

The Linthicum Heights Community borders the Brooklyn Park and Ferndale Communities. Following B&A Boulevard from the Baltimore City border to the southern border of Cabin Branch Park.

The meeting was kicked off with an introductory video featuring AA County Executive as Mr. Pittman was unable to attend. Mr. Philip Hager, AA County Planning and Zoning Officer, took the podium and made a short presentation of the AA County Visioning 2040 process and objectives, then introduced others in attendance who will be assisting in gathering resident information and concerns, and helping to prepare the draft recommendations. Also assisting in this process is Smart Growth America, a national nonprofit organization providing technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize a vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity in our communities. To learn more about the organization Smart Growth America, see: www.smartgrowthamerica.org.

Included here tonight were members of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, which included Elizabeth Rosborg (Committee Chair), Gary Mauler (Jessup), and Linthicum’s own Charlie Mannion representing the Linthicum Community/BWI. For additional information on the membership of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee, see: www.aacounty.org/departments/planning-and-zoning/long-range-planning/general-development-plan/index.html.

The majority of the session was focused on gathering residents’ concerns and opinions.  

For the information gathering portion of the meeting, those attending were asked the four questions cited earlier:

• What is special about your community?

• What has changed in the last 15 years?

• What needs improvement?

• What should your community look like in 20 years?

While it very unfortunate that only ten (10) Linthicum residents came to the briefing, those that did attend talked with the AA County representatives prior to the start of the briefing, and a few did speak providing answers to the questions above. In addition, a written response was provided to the representatives about issues LSIA and residents have identified and discusses over the past years.

To read the short written testimony and the list of Linthicum-Shipley issues and concerns provided to the click here (or go to: www.lsia.net/news), and see “AA County GDP Plan 2040 Meeting w/ Pittman – Woomer.”

The number one answer to the question: What is special about your community? –

“The small-town feel.” This was the primary reason my family and I chose to live in Linthicum.

What has changed in the last 15 years?

Development encroachment, sacrificing our greenspaces and buffer areas, failure to prepare the infrastructure for planned development, including roads, storm water management, our schools’ capacity enhancement, etc. For roads, both Maple Road and Andover Road were called out as examples. For Schools, all of the community schools are under growing pressure with the increasing influx of children.

What needs improvement?

Schools, roads, and other infrastructure, most long needed and long overdue.

What should your community look like in 20 years?

The same small-town feel, with green space, single homes, parks, updated roads, sidewalks, schools, and infrastructure, and a tight control on further development.

With the purpose of this initial meeting fulfilled, Mr. Hager brought the meeting to an end, thanking all for taking their time to attend and their willingness to speak to issue, needs and concerns Linthicum have for the future of our community.

Next steps –

(1) Go to the websites cited, and read up on the mission and purpose of Visioning Anne Arundel, and what has happened to date.

(2) Go to: www.surveymonkey.com/r/SFRBFLX and respond to the SAP/GDP Recommendation Survey. Presented are Land Use and Zoning Recommendations that have not been implemented since the adoption of the BWI-Linthicum Small Area Plan. You are asked to identify which of these recommendations remain priorities for the Linthicum/BWI. Rank each, with the number “1” the highest priority, then select the recommendation to give the 2nd highest priority, and so on. Use the drop-down box to the left or drag and move each recommendation to rank each item. If the recommendation is no longer applicable, please rank the recommendation “N/A.” Note, the first section on Transportation will take some time to sort. To assist in your ranking of the Transportation recommendations, you may want to open the Visioning Anne Arundel County Communities’ Map link at: http://annearundelmd.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=8e851f927eb448d6a9044ea83a27269b. Remember, if you believe a recommendation is no longer needed or is something that should not be pursued, select N/A.

(3) Stay tuned to LSIA’s website www.lsia.net, Nextdoor Linthicum & “I Live in Linthicum 21090” for developments and announcements of briefings & presentations. Also, come to the LSIA General Membership meetings to receive updates on this and many other topics of interest for our community.


AA County GDP Plan 2040 Meeting with County Executive Steuart Pittman

Speaker: Dan Woomer, Vice President, Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association (LSIA)

Hearing:North County High School

Date: Thursday, May 2, 2019

Time: Start: 5:00pm

Summary:

The Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association (LSIA) with over 500 active member household, representing over 2,700 households.

Linthicum, and our neighboring communities are facing many challenges with which your administration could help address. These challenges include, but are not limited to: BWI Airport Noise pollution, SCMagLev, Roads, Over Development, Property Tax Cap, Light Rail, and Senior Income Tax Break. I, as well as other members of the LSIA, would be pleased to meet and discuss any or all of these challenges with you, and provide additional information.

Brief Community History:

Linthicum, comprising the communities of North Linthicum, Linthicum, Crestwood and Linthicum-Shipley is a small town located south of Baltimore City, in Anne Arundel County. Our history dates back to the mid-1600’s as part of a land grant from England which led to the Linthicum and Shipley families establishing some of the earliest agricultural interests in our County. This farming area has evolved over the past centuries into a residential community. Following the advent of train travel, our community became a place for lawyers, doctors, bankers, and others to move out of the city and into a more open and quiet community. Following WWII, Linthicum evolved into a suburb made up of residences, schools, our own fire station, our own post office, with small, medium and large businesses. Linthicum, as a community, officially became a named community in 1901. Linthicum families typically come to stay, with many families having five or more generations rooted in our community. Of course, the Linthicum and Shipley families have far deeper roots. We are proud of our modern community, with a small-town character and lifestyle. And we want to continue to keep Linthicum one of the best places to live and raise a family.

Testimony:

Over the past 40 years, Linthicum has seen the constant encroachment of development with little actions needed on infrastructure and support systems needed to meet the needs of the expanding population of residents and businesses.

Here’s our observations:

(1) BWI Airport Noise

With the implementation of Next-Gen the jet engine noise is bombarding our communities. MAA and the BWI Roundtable are working to have FAA reinstate the prior flight routes and requirements to reach flight altitude to reduce the noise our communities are suffering with each and every day.

(2) SCMagLev

The building of the SCMagLev will have little to no benefit for Marylanders, yet disrupt and destroy sections of AA and PG Counties, contaminating our community’s environment, and take millions of dollars away from needed infrastructure improvements.

(3) Hyperloop, Now Loop

Pretty much the same concerns as we have with the SCMagLev. The Loop will have little to no benefit for Marylanders, but if built, serve a small number of those wealthy enough to purchase a Tesla. Not exactly your average family vehicle.

(4) Over Development

School crowding, road and utility overloading, increased congestion and increasing danger of accidents for our community residents. Linthicum is a small town being constantly encroached upon by developers and witnessing our greenspaces disappear forever. Enough. Until the roads, utilities and schools have the capacity, additional development needs to end.

(5) Roads

Encroaching development, over development and infill development have placed an increasing load on our community roads, storm water management, and utility systems. For example, Andover Road and Maple Road are primary entry and exit routes in and out of our community. Andover Road has seen a huge increase in traffic with the development of offices and businesses off W. Nursey Road. Both roads have deteriorated for years and promises since 2014 have been made to rebuild these arteries. We ask you and your administration to work with the State to prioritize these projects so they start this year.

(6) Prior Developmental Plan Lies

My 1st attendance at a GDP presentation, I asked if additional development would be allowed off of W. Nursey Road, taking more of the wooded buffer between the community of Linthicum and the businesses and offices accessed via W. Nursey Road. The answer was no additional development would be possible as the area is a designated flood plain and open space. Ten years later, more development had occurred, and the next ten-year plan indicated more would be developed. Again, I was told no additional development would be possible as the area is a designated flood plain and open space. Again, the situation repeats itself. More of the buffer is being removed today, right now. I assume one way the encroaching development will be curtailed is when the greenspace buffer is gone.

(7) Property Tax Cap

Every household and business must live within its means, our County government should be no different. The Property Tax Cap was passed by a large majority of voters to force the County government to live within its means. Our household incomes do not increase more than the cost-of-living, and many have not seen a cost-of-living increase for years. We prioritize our expenses; the County government must do the same. The State of Maryland is one of the highest taxed States in the union. Do not circumvent the Property Tax Cap, it is one of the few remaining reasons more seniors and retirees have not left Maryland for more tax friendly States.
AA County tax revenues should have risen in proportion all of the development in the County since the Property Tax Cap passed, and the population explosion in the County since the Property Tax Cap passed. Why is this increase now insufficient to meet the County needs? Who will be next hand out crying in the 2021 County budget saying we need more money?

(8) Light Rail

We are asking that your administration continues the increased security around our communities’ light rail stations started a few years ago. Linthicum and Ferndale residents have witnessed individuals use the light rail to come into our communities and engage in aggressive panhandling, theft and other more serious offences. One request for your administration is to modify the AA County Police incident tracking and reporting system to capture the information if the person or persons being detained did use the light rail to enter our communities. The current system does not capture this information, and thus the criminal activity reports generated do not reflect an association with the light rail. Adding this capability would help capture such data and criminal activity reports would more accurately reflect such occurrences and provide a means to bring the communities together in a more common and constructive manner.

In conclusion, with your administration’s help, this area development plan can address the many challenges facing our communities.

Again, thank you for this opportunity to testify at this hearing.

I have provided a printed copy of my testimony for your review and records.