Columbia traffic problems are making news

“Overall, Columbia is now the 27th most-congested city in the country, where drivers spend 32 hours a year crawling along or at a standstill during their commutes.  Those hours also translate into a cost in lost time to drivers of $1,046 apiece, and costs the city an estimated $42 million a year in direct and indirect costs associated with those delays, the study by Kirland, Wash.-based Inrix said.  The calculations of those annual direct and indirect costs to cities break down this way: Direct costs relate to the value of fuel and time wasted, while indirect costs refer to freight and business fees from company vehicles idling in traffic, which are passed on to consumers through higher prices.”

March 2018 An excellent article in Urban Land describes the challenges of urbanizing Columbia's Downtown with plans for a dramatic increase in density of residential and business properties.

"HHC now has approval for about 13 million square feet (1.2 million sq m) of new downtown development, roughly half the size of downtown Baltimore... 

This program adds to the current downtown, which contains the 1.4 million-square-foot (130,000 sq m) mall; 900,000-square-foot (84,000 sq m) Symphony Overlook offices; the former 100,000-square-foot (9,300 sq m) Rouse headquarters (the building, designed by Frank Gehry, now houses a Whole Foods, spa, and office space); the 120,000-square-foot (11,000 sq m) American City Building; a variety of other small office buildings; a 228-room Sheraton hotel; and the 530-unit Columbia Town Center Apartments, along with a mixture of medium-density condominiums and townhouses."


Comment:  The caption under this photo referring to the fact that "the strong east-west axis never materialized." is the only clear reference to the fact Rouse's vision included a transitway which would reduce the congestion and parking problems caused by the high density office and residential properties.

The Columbia Flier July 12, 2018

"Development planned in central Columbia over the next 20 years is prompting Howard County's Office of Transportation and the Downtown Columbia Partnership to craft the Downtown Columbia Transportation Demand Management Plan "to reduce single-car trips by 15 percent and encourage walking, biking, car-sharing and telecommuting...  The county will build a database of every property's plan and review their implementation every three years.  If a property  fails to meet traffic management goals, the county will work with owners to revise and adjust, but, unlike some other areas such as Arlington, Va., won't issue a fine." 

Comment: This plan was updated in 2019 in hope of making it more successful.  Suggestions were requested in a survey available from Dec 7 to Jan 6 at the link above.

The Columbia Flier  November 28, 2018   "It's no secret that Howard County wants to attract more business... But the county,.. is losing three companies in cybersecurity-related fields to Baltimore City. DataTribe, AllegisCyber and Evergreen Advisors are expected to an office campus under development in the Port Covington area.... Howard lacks ports, a subway system, and the vibrant urban scene that some companies find attractive...   .....HCEDA last year unsuccessfully tried to court Amazon to place its second headquarters to downtown Columbia. Part of the reason for this failure is that, unlike Northern Virginia, it does not have a subway system -- something Amazon wanted."     

Comment: HCEDA is Howard County Economic Development Authority.