Monday, February 21, 2011

Dredging AND Remodeling Lake K.

I walk along Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia Town Center regularly: at least once or twice on weekends and on the occasional weekday or summer evening. Much needed dredging, as many of us know, has been going on for months. I only realized the other evening that the noise that sounds to me like a distant helicopter motor without the thud of the rotor blades is the dredging equipment in the nearby lake. I live on Vantage Point Road, near the traffic circle at the end, and it's not a very loud noise from this location. I understand they keep a check on the decibel level to ensure that it's within an acceptable range.

Watching the progress of the dredging has been fascinating, but as it proceeded it became clear that the company is remodeling our manmade lake, too. At the point where the little island was located, two peninsulas have been formed opposite each other to leave a gap -- a strait -- where they almost meet in the middle of the lake. Indeed, the island has disappeared into one of these peninsulas. I wonder if a foot bridge to connect the peninsulas and make a full circle of the lakeside path is in the plans. (A foot bridge connecting the bank and the original island was once in the plans, too.)

A search on Kittamaqundi and dredging turns up some photos linked to the Columbia Association website, but they are all in a PDF download.

My photo above was taken from the southern end of the lake a few summers ago. Not far from this spot, I have found a single specimen of Canada lily growing under the trees right on the bank. Unfortunately, I've seen its flower only once. Ever since I first saw it, somebody has been ripping the flower off every summer -- not plucking or cutting, but ripping and leaving a split, torn stem behind.


Friday, February 4, 2011

testing Columbia Lakefront photo

I cropped the image used in yesterday's post to see if the microscopic figures of people would look any better. We're looking across the docks towards Clyde's (yellow and white canopy). There are three other restaurants out of frame here. In background left you can see part of the Columbia administration building designed by Frank Gehry early in his career, subject of other posts on this blog.

Unless I say otherwise, these are my own photos. I'm not pretending that they're great photography, but I find them useful for illustration and hope to get better. I currently don't have a working camera, so most of my recently posted photos were taken one to three years ago.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

More Signs for Columbia?

Suzanne Waller of the Columbia Association Board of Directors for Town Center has another article and appeal for opinions in the latest Center Fold. This one concerns recommendation for more and/or better signs in Columbia. We like our uncluttered garden city, but businesses are hurting (and so are the people who can't find them). Waller requests that opinions be sent to her at Following is a copy of my own message to Waller:

Hello again, Suzanne Waller.

I recently wrote to you about the cultural amenities discussion, and now I've seen your article about signs in the latest Center Fold. First a very quick story that you might find useful and funny for future discussion: I heard from a friend about a young couple who moved into Columbia a few years ago. They spent their first two weeks in town eating at fast food restaurants, because they couldn't find the grocery stores. It sounds ludicrous, but I can believe it.

Now that I myself am used to the area after living in Columbia Town Center for about 12 years, I know where most things are and forget how hard it can be to find certain stores and other amenities. Now I must admit that when I'm looking for a new restaurant, the popular HowChow blog run by a Columbia resident in his free time helps me find it and makes up for lack of signs. I personally like our emphasis on trees and lack of commercial signage, but I agee that it would be good to help both the businesses and the people who are looking for them. Just today, as I was walking back from the main branch of the Howard County Library, I was stopped by two people looking for places. One of them was even looking for the library that I had just left, and she couldn't believe that she had missed it while driving by. (I know there is a sign in front of the library, but maybe it's easy to miss from the road.)

I've had other experiences with drivers looking for places that further illustrate how hard it can be to find things in Columbia. Try explaining to someone who has stopped you on Vantage Point Road how to find the nearest liquor store. Or how did someone looking for the Columbia Mall end up driving down Vantage?

More signs or more conspicuous signs would be a good idea now. We can't have our businesses and completely park-like atmosphere, too, but we can be discrete with signs. I wouldn't mind seeing more signs, but for night visibility they should be illuminated by spotlights rather than being done in electric or neon lettering. Certainly, no flashing signs! And no large billboards.


(I'll be copying this into my own blog, which is linked on the Hocoblogs site.)


Our fabulous Lakefront is shown here. There are very few signs, and the blue herons often cannot find the Lake.

magic string for local affairs: hocoblogs@@@