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Calvert’s Goldilocks Dilemma

How many roads is just right?

      Build too many new roads, and development will overtake Calvert County in the next two decades. Build too few, and the future is gridlocked. How much road construction — hence commuting time — is just right? That’s the question Calvert County transportation planners are asking.

            The best prep for answering that question is reading the revised Transportation Plan now online. But commenters will have to hurry: The online public comment period ends September 6.

            The plan under consideration, the first revision since 1997, was developed by county planners and vetted in two public workshops, the latest this month. Residents were asked to consider three growth scenarios: continuation of the historical growth rate; a more aggressive growth rate; and hyper — or maximum — growth rate.

            With growth at historical rate, roads are projected to meet demand with little new failure or delay through 2040. At that rate, not much roadwork would be needed.

            More intense growth would take more and wider roads. Widening roads is the most expensive approach to managing traffic. Widening would likely have to be done on the county dollars, as the likelihood of state investment is low.

            Other options include adding turn lanes and coordinating signal timing.

            Another problem is how to serve mobility-impaired people, a population expected to increase significantly over the next decade. Already, the transportation needs of mobility-impaired people exceed capacity.

            The Transportation Plan revision is proceeding in conjunction with the controversial update of the larger Calvert County Comprehensive Plan.

            A revised plan will be presented September 26 to the Calvert County Planning Commission, which will prepare it for acceptance or rejection by the Board of County Commissioners come spring.

            Later comments, according to Deputy Director of Planning Britany Waddell, “will be provided to the Planning Commission at the meeting. The public will also be able to continue commenting” during two hearings later in the process

    Review and comment at www.calvertcountymd.gov/2408/Transportation-Plan.