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Special Staircase to Connect Historic Ellicott City

The project would make Ellicott City more accessible for pedestrians.

Pedestrians will be able to walk around more of Ellicott City thanks to a grand staircase planned between Main Street and the Circuit Court.

"By better connecting the courthouse area and Main Street, we will open up new areas and make this historic community more walkable and more functional," Howard County Executive Ken Ulman said in a prepared statement.

The staircase will climb up the hillside behind Lot E—which is in back of Ellicott Mills Brewing Company—to the Howard County Circuit Court area, the statement said.

Connecting the two areas will open up additional parking spaces, as the lots near the courthouse off Courthouse Drive will provide spots during peak evening and weekend hours and especially during special events, the statement said.

"This attractive staircase and better signs will direct parkers and pedestrians to convenient areas nearby they may not have thought about using," Ulman said.

Before building the staircase, Howard County will erect a new retaining wall adjacent to the parking lot and reconstruct Lot E to capture stormwater through bioretention areas, according to the statement. There will be native shrubs and trees around the wall.

At the edge of the Lot E, the county will install a crosswalk on Main Street to the area of Su Casa and La Palapa Grill & Cantina.

"This is a boost for businesses and residents. And importantly, this project allows us to improve water quality,” Ulman continued.

The retaining wall, staircase and lot resurfacing will cost $1.5 million.

Howard County officials are studying the feasibility of more crosswalks on Main Street after residents and business owners suggested the improvement at a series of public meetings, according to the statement. The Lot E crosswalk will be the first to be installed.

"We're pleased to see this continued commitment to the historic district in a way that makes Ellicott City safer and more pedestrian-friendly," Andy Hall, president of the Ellicott City Historic District Partnership, said. "There’s a lot of energy in Ellicott City, and this project will continue the momentum."

Construction is expected to begin in March, according to officials.

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Archana March 01, 2014 at 11:44 AM
There is always water dripping from the schist rocks across from the Firehouse Museum onto Church Road. In winter there are icicles always hanging there. I always wonder if that water runoff is good for the road or the watershed. Will the project you mention take care of that? Or another project, perhaps?
anon March 01, 2014 at 11:28 PM
That's a lot of money for stairs. How do stairs affect water quality? The teens will enjoy hanging out there at night.
Citizen Taxpayer May 08, 2014 at 12:30 AM
It won't affect water quality. That's just political crap speech from Ulman. It's meaningless.

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