Takoma Junction Progress Report

Because Takoma Junction sits in the middle of Takoma Park’s Ward 3, it’s a focal topic for the current Ward 3 council race. It’s a key interest of mine as well: I co-chaired the city’s Takoma Junction Task Force along with the indispensable Howard Kohn. (If elections were based solely on experience, Howard would simultaneously hold at least 3 council seats, just himself.) The task force work was a great team effort. Notably, Kay Daniels-Cohen had been a junction booster since forever, and brought a special brand of junction enthusiasm to the task force and then to the council.

My council colleagues and I, city staff, businesses including the TPSS Co-op, and community members have worked to advance junction revitalization in the 2 years since the task force issued its report.

The junction came up in a recent Facebook discussion of the Ward 3 race. I posted a response about junction status to the discussion thread. My write-up turned out to be somewhat lengthy. I’ll share it.

My report —

We’re making steady, if slow, progress on Takoma Junction. The city has executed well overall, in my opinion, on the task force’s recommendations, per its February 2012 report.

Food truck Fridays, the Grant Ave Market, and other activities contracted by the city to the Old Takoma Business Association have been a success. We rebuilt the sidewalk between the fire station and the co-op, and we’ve extracted a promise from the State Highway Administration (SHA) to locate a new crosswalk between Grant Ave and the city lot. Crosswalk installation will be in the next fiscal year, which starts July 1; it took A LOT of pushing to get the SHA to agree, and we’ll check in with them next month. Finally, we’ve completed 2 phases of city-lot environmental assessment and issued a Request for Proposals, closing date May 28, for city-lot development or other ideas. See the city RFP site for that latter stuff.

The opening of the Historic Takoma building and BikeShare station have been a boon to the area, and prospects are good to get the vacant Carroll Avenue storefronts occupied soon. We’ve also boosted pedestrian safety by adding crossing-guard coverage for schoolkids. I expect we’ll take on other points — the streetscape including intersection configuration, reworking of BY Morrison Park, etc. — once the crosswalk is in and we have an idea where we’re going with the city lot. (At the city’s invitation, UMD landscape architecture students created a number of design concepts for BY Morrison Park this last fall. I believe they’re viewable at the Historic Takoma building.)

Kay Daniels-Cohen worked hard to advance the Takoma Junction cause, and I’m sure Roger, Kate, and Jeffrey will as well: and, not or, because I recognize all three as committed activists. We’re lucky to have all three in the race, and the desire city-wide to transform Takoma Junction into a crossroads that will benefit the whole of the community!

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