Save Patuxent Branch Trail- Columbia, MD

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A 4 story self storage unit is planned upon a current vacant lot. The main traffic entrance will cover a large portion of the Patuxent Branch Trail adjacent to Guilford Road and Guilford Pratt Truss bridge. 

We propose the solutions of moving the entrance of the proposed storage unit to the main road using Columbia Association's "Open Space" and ensure that the trail remains Howard County property for park use.

 

I have recently learned that the upon the Patuxent Branch Trail construction has begun on a 4 story, self storage unit just adjacent to the trail. While I'm happy there is something happening to that site that no longer has a debilitated house on it, I am VERY concerned for the trail specifically as a result of where the driveway/entrance is scheduled to be. It is to my understanding that because the property is not directly adjacent to a residential area, that public input was not solicited prior to plans for construction. While it's not a highly trafficked residential area, it IS a HIGHLY used portion of our valuable trail network as it has a public parking and a major pathway to both Lake Elkhorn and Savage. This area of the path is also often used for events such as the recent Little Patuxent River Half Marathon & 10K race with 800+ attendees held by Rip It Events (a Howard County-owned event management company) at the trail.

It is to my understanding that with the currently proposed plan, the trail would be broken at that segment and runners, bikers, walkers, families, etc. would need to run in the grass next to the river and/or the road leading into the business to avoid the new traffic; this would make this portion of the trail dangerous and inaccessible for those using wheelchairs, strollers, etc. on this stretch of the trail.

This is of great concern to me personally as during the warmer months I am on those trails several times a week-and not alone by any stretch. Not only do I run solo but I also run with an organization called, Athletes Serving Athletes that trains with people with disabilities in main stream running and multi-sport events. Many of our "Athletes" (those we push in joggers because they have limited to no mobility) go to the Humanim Center just up the road on Gerwig Lane. If the trail is disrupted as proposed, I will not safely be able to run with them any longer. We can not traverse the trail over the bridge towards Vollmerhausen and Savage because it's too rocky and not paved AND running that stretch of Guilford Road in the road is not entirely safe either with people with disabilities so unfortunately that will not be a viable option.

I have heard that there is a chance to work with the Columbia Association on a small easement on the Guilford Road side of the property to move the entrance/exit directly off of the main road-Guilford. This would keep the path untouched (now would be behind the storage unit) AND in my mind, also be less environmental damage just adjacent to the river as well (due to the erosion that would be created by individuals forced off the path).  I ask strongly that this or a similar option be investigated before the trail is disrupted.



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