Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tuesday Round Up...

No fancy introduction. No snark. No witticisms. No real insights. Just a quick run down of what's been in the news the last couple days.

Solar lighting on Columbia's pathways? Harper's Choice residents are asking for it as a way to increase safety after dark, which in case you haven't noticed is occurring far too early now. Although they would certainly deter people from loitering on the trails, lights will also create a new set of concerns. First, there are maintenance and performance issues. (I've personally never seen free-standing solar lights that are very bright). Also, lighted areas can create a false sense of security. There are often dead spots between lights, and seeing outside the light field while standing in it is almost impossible, which raises concerns about people with nefarious intentions hiding along the paths. Finally, I'm concerned about treading down a slippery slope; if we allow lights on one section of trail, how long is it until we need to light another (and another and another)?


What's going on with Route 40? It'll be the subject of a meeting tonight (7 pm), but the bigger point of this story is that the enhancements promised as part of a task force's study just aren't happening fast enough. Why? I'm not sure, but Town Center and Comp Lite seemed to be part of the problem. (Aren't they always?)


Speaking of routes in need of enhancement, Route 1 was the subject of a meeting today between local and state officials. Specifically discussed were options to improve transportation along the corridor. This story would be much more interesting if it was written tomorrow, recapping the discussion of the meeting. Oh, well.


Finally, as Howard County goes so goes the state. I'm glad to see that Howard serves as the bellwether for state politics. Does that mean more special treatment (pork!) from politicians looking to secure our support?

Less lameness tomorrow!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Solar lighting for Harper's Choice's 'open space' CA paths?

Phil Wright wants "costs for the lighting ... shared among the county, state and Columbia Association". It seems unreasonable to ask people not entitled to use of these paths to pay for the cost of lighting them.

Glass on the CA paths in parts of Harper's Choice has been an issue for years, both in lit and unlit parts. How often does CA, putting all that additional property tax revenue to good use, thoroughly remove broken glass from these paths? Not nearly enough. Problem areas need more frequent inspection and more frequent trash cleanup - there is no shortcut.

Previous efforts to light problem areas along these paths resulted in placement of hideous beams of orangish-pink high pressure sodium vapor lights overilluminating those sections from dusk to dawn, throwing off the clocks of local birds who sung their songs through the night. Use of motion sensors would have prevented such all-night stressing of both the birds and those hearing their songs entitled "Who Forgot to Turn off the Light Again?"

Such illumination also interferes with nighttime predation habits, drastically skewing the indigenous wildlife's foodchain.

These same areas continued to see broken glass and violent crime occur despite near daytime illumination.

A better solution would be to identify those polluting and hold them very responsible. Some day soon I expect liquor bottles will have RFID tags and it will be simple to do so. I'm sure the two nearby village centers' packaged liquor purveyors would prefer RFID to a bottle tax.

A considerable portion of the glass dropped on the path occurs during the day, too, by a few inconsiderate laborers on their way home in the afternoon. Often, the bottles dropped are initially intact and would be simple for CA crews to pick up, if only they did it in a timely manner. Solar lights won't prevent daytime glass drops at all.

Find the people responsible for dropping the trash and find the people responsible for picking trash up from these areas. Hold each accountable instead of resorting to inappropriate, ineffective, and detrimental means.