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Residents Talk Traffic, Security with Towson Circle III Developers

Some questioned the viability of the project, set to begin its first phase of construction in late April.

 

Pennsylvania Avenue is the easiest way to get out of Adelaide Bentley's North East Towson community.

Now Bentley, president of the North East Towson Improvement Association, said she worries she and other neighbors could be "boxed in" for days at a time due to street closures as construction gets going on the long-anticipated Towson Circle III project.

Construction, traffic, safety and other concerns were at the forefront during a town hall meeting held Wednesday evening at the East Towson Carver Community Center. About 40 residents and business owners, mostly from east Towson and the Ridgely Condominiums, attended.

Towson Circle III is an $85 million project to be built on the space bounded by Joppa Road and Pennsylvania, Virginia and Delaware avenues.

to run a 16-screen movie theater and developers and the Cordish Companies promise upscale restaurants to fill five pad spaces. The Baltimore County Revenue Authority will operate a new 862-space garage below the theater.

Jack Cannella, vice president of design and construction for Heritage Properties, and Wayne Mixdorf, parking director for the revenue authority, took questions at the town hall, which was organized by County Councilman .

Cannella said work could begin as soon as late April with the demolition of the former Burger King and bank building facing Joppa Road. Nearby residents, however, are concerned about the impacts of construction, expected to continue in some form through 2014 (the garage will be ready by next year).

Cannella conceded some road closures may be neccessary for two to three days at a time to connect utilities, but said detour plans would be in place. Bentley, however, said that since many streets in East Towson are one-way, that could mean having to drive out to Towsontown Boulevard just to get out from her Pennsylvania Avenue home.

Many asked about plans to manage increased traffic and avoid backups in the Towson roundabout. Cannella said crews plan to widen Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia avenues. Marks floated the idea of adding new traffic signals in the area.

Some residents at the meeting were openly hostile to the project, with one jokingly suggesting that Heritage and Cordish build a park on the property instead. Many pressed Cannella on security issues and the viability of the project, citing the fate of Towson Commons, which opened in 1992 to great fanfare, but tenants left one by one over the years, with longtime anchor AMC Theaters leaving in 2011.

Cannella and Mixdorf assured residents that the complex would have security hired separately by the management, Cinemark and the revenue authority. And, Cannella said, the developers have done their homework.

"They look at the 21204 zip code and just start drooling," he said.

But, when one resident, a supporter, asked those who thought Towson Circle III was a good idea to raise their hand, only about one-third did.

"I think it'll be a good project," said John Hergenroeder, a Ridgely resident. However, he added, "We didn't hear any solutions to the problems and the problems aren't going to be solved by making the streets wider."

D Schmid March 08, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I attended the meeting. When they compared the project to Hunt Valley and White Marsh I had to wonder where these people live (obviously not local since some did not even know of the existance of the small cemetery.) There are no, or very limited bus stops in Hunt Valley and White Marsh. They said they are going to attract high-end restaurants. I can't wait to see what they will be replaced with in two years. I really hate be so pessimistic, but I have seen this before. I guess this is progress. Does anyone remember the village on Shealy Avenue?
John L. March 09, 2012 at 01:15 PM
I do rmrmeber the 'peddlers village' and the so called 'progress' it was supposed to represent, however it was short lived and it disappeared. Now we are supposed to welcome more of the tried and true 'progress' for Towson. Towson is a college town and as such subject to whims of the majority of college students that use it. Do I think it will last, no I don't. Bars and more bars will be welcome, family type establishments will not survive. Shopping? High end shopping will falter in a short time...College students only have so much to spend. Towson is not Hunt Valley nor is it meant to be.
Needaname March 14, 2012 at 12:11 PM
I am not sure if that patch of ground is in the zip code of 21204. The Exxon gas station adjacent to the property is 21286.
T M Epps April 21, 2012 at 09:35 PM
The fate of Towson Commons now a shuttered eye sore should have taught county government a lesson but alas it did not. I am all for progress but living so close to this new development I must worry about security since bars tend to be breeding grounds for drunken slovenly reckless behavior. Have steps been taken to insure construction of this new, "Towson attraction" will not degrade security and quality of life for our neighbhood's large senior population. Will open air seating be a magnet for near-do-wells, derelicts and panhandlers. In a few years will all the fine upscale dining be replaced by venues offering eating experiences of a decidedly inferior common and vulgar nature. This Towson Common's II rebranded Towson Circle III is a Titantic effort lets all hope it does not have the ending of a 1970's era Irwin Allen disaster movie!
D Schmid May 02, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I saw the helicopters buzzing over the mall last week and today I find that a couple was robbed at gunpoint in the garage at 7:30 p.m. The cockroaches/preditors come out earlier and earlier in Towson. I walk to the gym in the old Hutzler building and see a man sleeping in the corner of the entrance. I stopped walking along Sheeley to get to the gym because of the drunks who sit on the other side of the hedges, and to avoid the broken bottles. Who in their right mind will go to a movie theatre where they have to park in an underground garage. They can't keep Towson Mall safe, why should this be different?

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