Sidewalk Coming to Seven Locks?

Sidewalk Coming to Seven Locks?

How much land will the county need to build it?

A sidewalk project along Seven Locks Road may be coming sooner than expected. The County Council’s not-yet-approved Capital Improvements Program has funding to study a sidewalk along Seven Locks Road from Montrose Road to Bradley Boulevard.

“We really appreciate anything the council can do,” said Jerry Garson, co-chair of the Seven Locks Citizen’s Association.

If it is built, the sidewalk will provide access to 10 religious structures and four schools.

The study would begin in FY 06, which starts on July 1, 2005 and would be finished by June of 2007.

A section of that road, from Montrose to Goya, was a subject of discussion during the approval process for the Fortune Parc development at the corner of Montrose and Seven Locks roads in February and March of this year.

When Fortune Parc is completed, it will have 150 townhouses, 290 apartments and 150 condominiums. It will also include 820,000 square feet of commercial space and 30,000 square feet of retail.

During the approval process, Garson’s organization asked that the developer be required to put in that section of sidewalk, working under the belief that the people in Fortune Parc will sometimes want to leave it. “To me a human looks in the whole context of can we move from one place to the next,” Garson said.

However, the planning board did not require the developers to put in a sidewalk because they said the county does not have sufficient right of way in that area to do so.

The difference between the studies, say planners, is that where the county has the power to acquire additional land for a sidewalk, asking a developer to do it would be too burdensome. “What we’re looking at is, if we don’t have the right of way, how much is it going to cost and what are the community impacts,” said Tom Pogue, spokesperson for the Department of Public Works and Transportation.

“If there is an area where there isn’t right of way, the county would be the appropriate agency,” said Robert Kronenberg, the Park and Planning staff member who worked on the Fortune Parc development.

Kronenberg also pointed out that the county could also examine the possibility of moving the road in order to accommodate the sidewalk, an option which Park and Planning does not have. “The County can look at it from different alternatives,” he said.

So where Park and Planning’s study only looks at if the right of way is there, the county’s study will also analyze what can be done about it.

Garson predicts that area homeowners will be receptive. “So far, we haven’t found anyone who is opposed,” Garson said.

During the study, planners will determine how much land will need to be acquired and at what cost. It will also determine the total cost for the project, the time it would take to build the sidewalk, and a general idea of its appearance. “It’s an effort to try to scope things out,” Pogue said.