Columbia. Maryland. Steps Toward Walkability

Dennis, Steven T.
August 2005
Planning;Aug/Sep2005, Vol. 71 Issue 8, p49
Trade Publication
The article focuses on the redevelopment plans for Columbia, Maryland. Like many suburban new towns built in the 1960s and 1970s, Columbia is ripe for redevelopment. The town's new developer, General Growth Properties Inc., is working with planning consultant Reid Ewing to help to bring the amenities and walkability found in urbanized areas such as Bethesda in Maryland, and Clarendon in Virginia, to Columbia's 570-acre downtown. The plan is to develop many of Columbia's surface parking lots. Thousands of mall parking spaces will be replaced with condos, offices, shops and garages. A new street grid featuring short, pedestrian-friendly blocks will be built and the six-lane parkway will be redesigned with fewer, narrower lanes and on-street parking. A giant moat of parking and the six-lane Little Patuxent Parkway separate the Columbia Mall from a bevy of restaurants. Pedestrians rarely cross the road, because there are few crosswalks and traffic is heavy. That will change drastically, according to the vision of General Growth, the Chicago-based real estate investment trust that acquired 90 percent of downtown Columbia when it bought out the original developer, Rouse Co., in 2004.


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