Report: Seniors want more transportation options

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
11/23/2013
Frederick County seniors want more transportation options as some of them age out of driving, according to a report from the county's Department of Aging. About 16 percent of licensed drivers, almost 647,000 in Maryland, are over 65, according to Motor Vehicle Administration spokesman Buel Young. Some of those seniors may voluntarily give up driving if they notice their ability is not what it used to be. The MVA may also deny licenses to people of any age who have medical conditions that make it unsafe for them to drive. “It's a big issue, it really is, because Americans are tied to their cars,” Frederick County Department of Aging director Carolyn True said.

County hears input on transportation priorities

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
09/23/2013
County staff members and representatives from the State Highway Administration met with the commissioners last week to go over transportation priorities for Frederick County. Transportation projects tend to develop slowly, so many of the items on the county priorities list were carried over from earlier years. The overall top priority remains widening U.S. 15 between I-70 and Md. 26. However, three key changes were made possible by state funding. Planners secured construction funding for the U.S. 15, Monocacy Boulevard interchange and a streetscape project on Main Street (Md. 144) in New Market. Streetscapes generally involve improving or adding sidewalks and upgrading roadways to make them more navigable.

New data shows Frederick is growing, city remains more diverse

Frederick News Post
Jen Bondeson and Kelsi Loos
09/19/2013
Moving to Frederick was pure economics for the Hughes family. “Honestly, the rent was a lot cheaper here,” said Shontez Hughes, who moved with his wife and two children to Frederick in January after considering Montgomery County, where he works. The Hugheses, an African-American family, are part of the city’s diversifying population. As more people move into Frederick County, the area is increasingly becoming a melting pot — especially the city, according to data released today in the Census Bureau’s 2012 American Community Survey. Frederick County’s population grew by 2,837 from 2011 to 2012, to 239,582 people. Frederick city’s population grew 225 residents, to 66,390, according to the data. In the last five years, from 2007 to 2012, nearly 15,000 people have moved into the county and nearly 5,000 people have moved into the city. The community survey data is less accurate than data from the U.S. Census, and the margin of error can be higher than 5 percentage points in some categories. In the city, one in every threeresidents is now a minority, about 33.4 percent of residents, according to the data. Step outside the city limits, however, and the diversity diminishes. About eight in every 10 county residents are white, or about 81.6 percent of residents, the data states.

Glendening describes mismatch between housing supply, demand

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
09/05/2013
he American dream is changing, and community design must keep up with it, former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening told a Frederick group Wednesday. In a talk focused on smart growth, Glendening said an increasing number of people are eschewing large, single-family houses in the suburbs and instead settling in dense, walkable communities. However, there’s a growing disconnect between the types of housing people want and what’s available on the market, he said. “Keeping our downtowns strong and keeping our communities economically vibrant in the long term will require a different approach to growth than we have been doing for the last 60 years,” he said during the event at Frederick City Hall.

Frederick County commissioners OK taxi voucher program

Frederick News Post
Bethany Rodgers
08/23/13
Frederick County commissioners Thursday gave their approval to a taxi voucher program that will supplement local transit services but won’t offer expanded hours. Officials for months have looked at using taxis to accommodate more riders with TransIT-plus, a service that provides reduced-cost transportation to senior citizens and people with disabilities. At Thursday’s board meeting, commissioners weighed in on the design and scope of a two-year voucher program set to start in 2014. The pilot will provide TransIT-plus riders with prepaid vouchers for paying their taxi fares.

TransIT accepting input on proposed taxi voucher program

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/27/2013
As the time for public comment on TransIT's proposed taxi voucher program comes to a close, director Nancy Norris wants to keep the conversation focused on service, not controversy. Some people, like Emmitsburg resident Catherine Forrence, have doubts about the proposal that would allow elderly or disabled residents to buy $10 debit cards pre-loaded with $60 for cab fare. Forrence emailed Pat Rosensteel, director of the county Citizen Services Division, stating that taxis are not an adequate substitute for TransIT-plus service because of the complications surrounding liability for riders in wheelchairs and other issues.

Monocacy, U.S. 15 interchange is funded. Now what?

Frederick News Post
Kelsi Loos
07/08/2013
Now that the city has secured funding for the long-planned Monocacy Boulevard-U.S. 15 interchange, Frederick is trying to set new priorities. City planner Tim Davis said that the item had been the No. 1 transportation item since he started the position 11 years ago. Maryland's Transportation Act set aside $82 million for the interchange during the last General Assembly session. Davis met with the Board of Aldermen on Wednesday to discuss the city's Highway Needs Inventory and set new goals. The inventory is a requirement of local governments to request state funding for road projects. The list does not guarantee funding, but it's a primary step to secure it.

Letter from a millennial: We're not going to buy your house

Baltimore Business Journal
James Briggs
06/19/2013
If you're a homeowner, there has been a lot of great news for you lately — namely rising home prices, lack of inventory and bidding wars among increasingly desperate buyers. Although the housing market isn't on fire like it was in the early 2000s, it also isn't imploding like it was in 2009. All in all, if you're looking to sell a house now, you should feel thankful about your timing. But take heed, baby boomers and Generation Xers. If you're planning to hold onto your home for years to come, don't count on my generation — the millennials — to buy it from you.

Letter from a millennial: We’re not going to buy your house

Baltimore Business Journal
James Briggs
06/19/2013
If you're a homeowner, there has been a lot of great news for you lately — namely rising home prices, lack of inventory and bidding wars among increasingly desperate buyers. Although the housing market isn't on fire like it was in the early 2000s, it also isn't imploding like it was in 2009. All in all, if you're looking to sell a house now, you should feel thankful about your timing. But take heed, baby boomers and Generation Xers. If you're planning to hold onto your home for years to come, don't count on my generation — the millennials — to buy it from you.

Mind your constituents

Frederick News Post
Ellen Kreis
06/24/2012
In regard to the pending changes to the MARC train schedule, Delegate Michael Hough is no doubt correct in his assessment that his train-riding constituents likely share his chagrin about the later arrival times of the Brunswick line trains. What concerns me, however, is the way he would like MARC to remedy this problem by eliminating the smaller stops in Montgomery County. If Delegate Hough were more concerned about his constituents and less about his personal inconvenience as a rider from Brunswick, he'd be aware that a good percentage of the folks that utilize two of the smaller Montgomery County stations actually reside in Frederick County.

Baby’s no longer on board

Frederick News Post
Matt Edens
04/30/2012
Frederick's clustered spires are a proud symbol of the city's past, but do they also bode well for its future? The thought came to me the other day while reading a news story about, of all things, the automobile industry. A business piece in The Atlantic, it chronicled how carmakers are struggling to connect with the youth market, specifically Gen Y, the millennials born between approximately 1980 and the early 2000s. Roughly 80 million strong, they're the largest demographic cohort in American history, outnumbering even their baby-boomer parents. And since they're now entering their car driving and buying years in large numbers, they represent the next major market for carmakers. There's one just one problem. The under-30 set, many of whom spent their formative years being chauffeured from play date to soccer practice in station wagons and SUVs festooned with "Baby on Board" stickers, isn't all that keen on moving up to the driver's seat.

Baby's no longer on board

Frederick News Post
Matt Edens
04/30/2012
Frederick's clustered spires are a proud symbol of the city's past, but do they also bode well for its future? The thought came to me the other day while reading a news story about, of all things, the automobile industry. A business piece in The Atlantic, it chronicled how carmakers are struggling to connect with the youth market, specifically Gen Y, the millennials born between approximately 1980 and the early 2000s. Roughly 80 million strong, they're the largest demographic cohort in American history, outnumbering even their baby-boomer parents. And since they're now entering their car driving and buying years in large numbers, they represent the next major market for carmakers. There's one just one problem. The under-30 set, many of whom spent their formative years being chauffeured from play date to soccer practice in station wagons and SUVs festooned with "Baby on Board" stickers, isn't all that keen on moving up to the driver's seat.

Frederick commissioners eye cuts to housing and elderly programs

Loss of services could leave seniors, the poor and jobless without help, supporters say
Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
10/11/2011
Christie Christian credits the Frederick County Department of Housing and Community Development with helping her and her three children from losing their home. Christian of Frederick said the department has been helping her pay her rent because she’s unable to work. “I’m on Social Security disability and my husband died,” Christian said. “We were always a two-income family, but I can no longer work. Without [the department] I couldn’t make it. They help with my rent because I can’t find a full-time job.” Christian said when friends question her circumstances she tells them “I’m low income, I’m raising a family, and I need help.” The mother of three told her story to Frederick County commissioners Thursday because she is worried that they will cut funding to the department. Commissioners are looking to cut programs that rely on federal and state grant money that is matched or exceeded by county tax dollars. They started talking last month about reducing the funding to all programs funded by federal and state grants in which the county provides a share of the money. The Frederick County Child Advocacy Center and the Frederick County Development Center’s Infants & Toddlers Program were discussed Sept. 26. Frederick County Transit Services and the Office of Children and Families were discussed Oct. 6, and Family Partnership, Frederick County Circuit Court and the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office were discussed Tuesday. Frederick County Workforce Services, Housing and Community Development and the Frederick County Department of Aging were discussed Thursday. The department of Housing and Community Development will receive $5.8 million in federal and state grants in fiscal 2012, and an additional $335,200 from the county. The county is not required to provide any money to keep the grants, according to staff reports.

Future of commuting nightmarish

Gazette
Sherry Greenfield
05/17/2007
The future of commuting in Frederick County looks bleak. People will drive farther to jobs on inadequate roads, and there is little anyone can do about it. That is the outlook some planners with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments presented at a forum Monday organized by the Frederick Area Committee on Transportation. The committee invited the Washington Council of Governments to meet with Frederick county and city elected officials, developers and land-use attorneys to talk about ways to ease traffic. "We have some ideas, and we're also asking people to give us their own ideas," said John Swanson, a senior transportation planner with the Council of Governments. "... People always ask us 'is traffic getting worse?' And the answer is yes. We don't want to fool people that we have all the answers."