GRANOLAPARK: The wolf is loose

Fenrir enjoying a snack before he devours Takoma Park. Illustration © William L. Brown.

GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT

Dear Readers,

Here comes the Takoma Junction Task Force report, and it’s hungry.

It’s like the old Norse story of Fenrir the monstrous wolf which, freed from its chains, devoured the sun.

What fool unlocked the chain??

Several folks did, unfortunately. People, some of them council members, are bringing doom to the city by insisting developers and everyone else read the damn thing, and incorporate its supposed recommendations into Takoma Junction redevelopment plans.

Oh, ye of short memory!

The massive Takoma Junction Task Force report hit the city council dais with a thud in 2012,  a couple of years after the sleek Task Force on Environmental Action report landed neatly in the same spot with a sleek whoosh.

The TJTF report did not compare well. Where the TFEA report set out a list of recommendations and an action plan, the Takoma Junction report was stuffed with useful background material but almost no official recommendations. It DID have page after page of every proposal ever made, many of them contradictory.

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Takoma Junction.

That’s because the Takoma Junction Task Force could not agree. Reading between the lines, it seems the meetings must have been like dog fights. The big disagreement was whether to reconfigure the Takoma Junction intersection or not. Task Force members could not reconcile their differences, so they just wrote every possible and contradictory option down, handed it to the council and said, “ok, YOU decide!”

The council’s wise decision was to chain the report to a rock and forget about it.

Now it’s FREE! Still snarling and angry, it’s been sticking it’s snout into the recent Takoma Junction development meetings.

It’s going to be another dog fight, but this time the battle won’t be limited to the task force, it’ll be city-wide. As it was with the task force, the bloodiest conflict will be over the intersection, whether to alter it or not.

Most plans for alteration involve removing B.Y. Morrison Park, where the iconic Takoma Park “Guardians of the Neighborhood ”mural is.

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“Guardians of the Community” by James Colwell.

That title takes on new meaning. The people objecting to changing the intersection, represented by Historic Takoma, say the street configuration is historic, as is B.Y. Morrison Park, so keeping that configuration is the best guardian against the State Highway Administration widening Route 410. Takoma Junction is in the official Historic District. There are tall legal hurdles to widening roads in historic districts. Changing the roads, said HIstoric Takoma’s Lorraine Pearsol at last week’s public hearing, would set a precedent, lowering the legal hurdles.

Nevertheless, the audience was all abuzz over drawings handed out by a resident showing how the Junction’s road-snarl could be turned into a “T” intersection.

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Plan to turn junction into a “T” intersection – through B.Y. Morrison Park – circulated at a recent public hearing.

The development discussion is in danger of becoming an unending rehash of the task force’s irreconcilable differences – a giant, hungry wolf that will eat us all.

Got any wolf-repellant?

 – Gilbert

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About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.