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410 Widening Is Takoma Park/SHA Agreement Sticking Point

SHA has rejected a non-widening agreement in the past.

The Takoma Park City Council rejected the Maryland State Highway Administration memo outlining the responsibility for maintaining MD 410 and will continue to negotiate to quell any possible widening of the road if the state chooses.

In the SHA memo, the state would be responsible for all maintenance on the portion of MD 410 between Philadelphia Avenue and Ethan Allen, according to Takoma Park City Attorney Sue Silber. The state would not guarantee that the road would not be widened in that stretch, but would listening to comments from Takoma Park on an issues with the road and respond appropriately to those concerns.

This came after the SHA discovered minutes from a 1934 Takoma Park City Council meeting that made that part of MD 410 part of the state highway system.

But simply being able to voice the city's opinion isn't enough for some residents. They want to know the road will never be widened and that will only come if either Takoma Park takes over ownership or the SHA agrees to never widen it.

"Community will always have to worry about the widening of MD 410," Historic Takoma President Lorraine Pearsall said. "Our agenda is to protect this community. This is a legacy issue."

SHA has said in previous meetings that it will not agree to never widen the road.

Historic Takoma's lawyer Michelle Rosenfeld contended the road is not the state's responsibility and the 1934 Takoma Park City Council document actually shows that.

Construction drawings in the document show a section of Philadelphia Ave and then section of 410 to Ethan Allen that says "no work to be done within these limits."

That means those segments are still under municipal control, according to Rosenfeld, because they were not within the scope of the 1934 project.

But Silber disagreed.

"I think the full range was part of 1934 project even though construction wasn’t done on those parts of the road."

But some residents didn't buy that argument.

"Your obligation is to protect this community from this major, major threat. How can you possibly consider a weaker argument when a stronger one will do," Pearsall said.

The next step is for the city attorney and staff to explore more options to ease the worries of residents who don't want the possibility of the road widening.

"In the end we all want the best thing for this community," Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams said.

Cliff Schwartz September 26, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Could someone please clarify what is meant by, "the portion of MD 410 between Philadelphia Avenue and Ethan Allen"? Does this INCLUDE Philadelphia Avenue from Fenton St to the Junction and INCLUDE Ethan Allen Ave from the Junction to New Hampshire Ave....or just the two blocks between Philadelphia Ave and the beginning of Ethan Allen Ave?
Ryan McDermott (Editor) September 26, 2012 at 03:59 PM
It does not include Philadelphia Ave or Ethan Allen Ave. just MD 410 between those roads.

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