Saturday, April 24, 2010

Allendale East: More New Development on Edmondson Avenue

Whether anybody knows it or not, Edmondson Avenue is on the forefront of a major transformation with both Uplands and the West Baltimore MARC on the cusp of redevelopment. The problem is, if orchestrated wrong it will fail and if it was being done to my satisfaction would I be writing a post? I probably would but the fact of the matter is, there's a lot of potential I see in the Greater Edmondson Village/Rosemont neighborhoods from new housing and redevelopment to additional streetscape enhancements and everything in between.
As the new Uplands Community is built in the coming decade we have to look at Edmondson Village and see how it can turn around and be a sought after community just like Uplands. Now, what are the weaknesses of Edmondson Village? Lack of new housing, decaying Apartment Complex, housing stock on Edmondson Avenue gives poor reputation of the neighborhood, lack of sidewalks on Edmondson Avenue, the Red Line as proposed will increase traffic on Edmondson Avenue rather than relieve it, and a declining home ownership rate.Now I didn't mean to paint a completely bleak picture of Edmondson Village, as a matter fact the vast majority of its housing stock looks great. It is in danger of losing its appeal as more and more renters under slum lords continue to move in. That, according to the Edmondson Village Master Plan, is the number one concern of residents. Well Edmondson Village residents, I have the prescription to your neighborhood worries. Right now, driving through the neighborhood I see plenty of "For Sale" and "For Rent" suggesting a turbulent demographics shift. I say all those housing on the market be bought up by the City and sold back to perspective buyers for $1. The $1 Row House will come with strings attached; they invest at least $100,000 in their homes, and they (the owners) occupy them for a minimum of 7 years. This will restore the high home ownership rate in the Community. Next lets talk new housing or lack there of. I see a great parcel of land in the "Allendale" section of Edmondson Village. Dismantling the dated Edmondson Avenue/Hilton Parkway partial clover leaf will allow for additional space for new housing.
It will be located on the east side of Hilton St. below Edmondson Avenue. It will consist of town homes and a relocated Hilton Recreation Center with a 100% Home Ownership Rate and it will be called "Allendale East." Now the lingering problem of the row homes on Edmondson Avenue. The ones pictured above are among the healthiest to offer. Now the portion of the new Uplands that faces Edmondson Avenue will be higher density Apartments/Condos. I think the redevelopment of row homes into the same style Condos in Uplands will "keep the momentum of renewal" going into Edmondson Village and beyond.
These are the type of Apartment/Condo Buildings that would flock Edmondson Avenue from Uplands to the West Baltimore MARC Station. It features 48 units, underground parking, and four retail spaces on the ground floor. The higher density closer to the "Main St" goes along with common sense urban planning.Now Edmondson Village does have Apartments currently. They're located in the way back of the neighborhood at the intersection of Wildwood Parkway and Stokes Drive. They're known as Wildwood Gardens and their age and hard use have rendered them nonviable in today's market. Their location in the back of the neighborhood may also be a cause for concern. I think a redevelopment with town homes in their place would be the right way to go. I think after their demolition, Edmondson Village will be a much calmer neighborhood. The new town homes will be called "Leakin Village" and will offer picturesque views of Leakin Park and will be priced accordingly with a 100% Home Ownership Rate. The Median recently planted along Edmondson Avenue will symbolically represent the Red Line. It runs from Edmondson Village to the MARC Station above ground. The lush Community enhancement may become a thing of the past. With the Red Line set to be rammed down Edmondson Avenue the same way the Light Rail runs down Howard St. taking all medians and turn lanes in its path. Strangely enough, this is what the MTA thinks will turn around Edmondson Village when it in fact it will further contribute to its decline, case in point; Howard St. In order to make the Red Line work for everything west of the MARC Station it has to be tunneled and double tracked. Tunneled Light Rail is not much slower than Heavy Rail for the mere fact that it doesn't have vehicle traffic to get stuck in. When doubled tracked trains won't have to wait for each other on Cooks Lane where just a single track is proposed. I know it will cost a lot more but cutting corners on something like this has proven to be detrimental.As we look down the long and bumpy road to renewal known as Edmondson Avenue, I ask that you keep this post and these talking points in mind. Simply shoving a rail line down an already congested street will not solve the underlying Community problems. Examining Edmondson Village, which is at a teetering point right now and redeveloping and building new where needing and restoring Home Ownership will work wonders for the Community.

1 comment:

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