June 2, 2023

Starting to ‘Get’ FDR Boulevard

Image courtesy of Elvert Barnes

Twenty-five years ago, when fields of weeds lined most of one side of Route 235 and stately homes lined the other, I didn’t get the need for FDR Boulevard.

Back then, a parallel road to Route 235 was touted as a way to keep school buses and local shoppers from further clogging the state highway. “This parallel road will provide the access to the coming commerce.” So went the local pitch for state funding for FDR Boulevard. Route 235, it was argued, still had the potential to function as a limited access funnel into the Patuxent River Naval Air Station, but only if local traffic had a parallel alternative.

No go.

Even a quarter century ago, before the traffic signals, there were pretty much the same intersections as today. What has increased is the number of cars and the number of highway cuts into the sales and amusement tax bonanza that replaced the weeds and, now, the homes. I am not an engineer, but even I get that the state can hardly be opposed to increasing highway, sales or amusement taxes.

The net result has been a doubling of “rush hour” into two hours and a dusting off of the frontage road linking First Colony, Barefoot Acres, Hickory Hills, San Souci and so on. Gone is the notion that a local frontage road could impact the state highway traffic situation. Long gone is the notion of limited access. And let’s just leave talk of the Thomas Johnson Bridge bottleneck situation for another day.

I still don’t get the traffic value of a handful of neighborhoods given non-highway access to the highway’s shopping strip. But schlepping around the Bay District recently has got me really starting thinking about the linkage concept, so much so that I’ve begun coveting the SMECO right-of-way linking Buck Hewitt and Great Mills roads. I can even get to imagining going from San Souci to St. Mary’s Square without touching tire to Route 235.

But I better stop there. Just like my dream of a ferry system from Pax River to Solomons to bypass both Route 235 and the bridge, that link will just have to wait for another day.