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Arbutus-Halethorpe Pedestrian Loop Unveiled

With some problem areas fixed, proposed 2-mile walking route connects neighboring communities.

When the Baltimore County Planning Board meets this afternoon to talk about the Western County Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Plan, the discussion will include a proposed two-mile walking loop connecting Arbutus and Halethorpe that is more amenable to pedestrians.

The calling for 665 miles of improvements and additions to western roads and paths to make them friendlier to pedestrians and bicycles.

At the March meeting of Halethorpe Improvement Association, president Mike McAuliffe described the walking loop as it as been proposed in collaboration with leaders from other community associations.

The route of the walking loop follows Oregon Drive to the Francis Avenue Bridge, over the bridge to Potomac Avenue, up and around Waelchli Avenue to Sulphur Spring, and back to Oregon.

The loop would make it easier for residents of the neighboring communities to walk back and forth, McAullife said.

The route also connects key locations in the communities, including the business centers of Arbutus and Halethorpe, community flag poles and welcoming signs, and the MARC Halethorpe Station under construction on Southwestern Boulevard.

"It's going to be a nice looking station," McAuliffe said. "We'd like to be able to walk to it without being hit by a car."

Several problems are obstacles to implementing the walking route, including sections of the route that are encroached with overgrown foliage, and portions of sidewalk that are deteriorating or missing.

Two areas of the loop are afflicted with chronic puddling of muddy water. Beneath the I-95 overpass, the sidealk of Oregon Drive is constantly wet with water from an unknown source.

Another perennial puddle is on Sulphur Spring Road beneath the railroad overpass, which according to officials is being investigated by county crews and Amtrak.

"With all these problems, walking isn't very inviting," McAuliffe said. "There are a lot of nice areas to walk. We'd just like to fix the broken areas."

Councilman Tom Quirk said that the Halethorpe-Arbutus walking loop will be included in the county Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Plan.

Halethorpe Improvement Association April 06, 2012 at 02:32 PM
Well done article, Bruce. A very good condensed explanation. Just to add a few notes about our initial efforts. Regarding the goo that leeches from the I-95 bridge columns, we have solicited the help of our State Delegate and the State Highway Admin.to investigate the problem and we are still anxiously awaiting a resolution. Regarding the deteriorating asphalt sidewalk on Potomac Ave... though replacement is included in the County's Pedestrian Plan, the implementation is many years away, so a more immediate fix is sought by us. This week, the County denied our request to lay even a mere 3" layer of new asphalt over the deteriorated macadam one in the interim. We view this integral part of the project as a cheap and simple fix that would make a great improvement. We hope the various government agencies realize these series of problems are just neglected maintenance issues and work with us to resolve them.
Donald Schaefer April 06, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Thanks for the article,it keeps the sidewalks issue active. The upgrades to them are desperately desired for the Halethorpe Loop and wanted to thank Del. Jim Malone and Councilman Tom Quirk for their supportive stance for them! Both of them have been quick to respond to the sidewalk issues and they are always supportive of neighborhood enhancements. You know what the saying is......you're never alone......
Halethorpe Improvement Association September 08, 2012 at 01:51 PM
Thanks for including us in your list of local places to walk and exercise. Though this loop isn’t a new construction project, but rather a project that has encompassed spiffying up a long-neglected stretch of Potomac Ave., cutting back overgrown brush, taking down ivy -choked trees on the Sulphur Spring Rd. steps, and getting rid of the yuck that oozed across the sidewalks under the bridges. We have really done a lot of improvements so far, but we still have a lot more planned. The improvements have attracted a lot more walkers and joggers. Take a walk here and you will notice how comfortable it has become compared to decades past. Check out the little nook at the top of the steps that we transformed into a mini park with a garden structure. The crux of the project is getting the 1000ft of crumbled and unsafe sidewalk replaced on Potomac Ave.

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