Update: The Proposed Walmart in Remington Opinions Roundup

A bit of time has passed since the whole “Walmart might be coming to Remington” debacle began; it would seem that every media outlet, blog, dog, dog blog and log log has covered it in some way, ranging from the usual copy/paste anti-or-pro statement seen thousands of places around the internet to the truly well thought out criticism.

Amidst the noise, however, some interesting developments have occurred that are worth noting. Let’s go over them, shall we?

2000/03/25 – a plucky member of a group on Facebook rallying against Walmart’s presence in Remington unearths an article about the proposed Port Covington Walmart development from 2000. The wording of the proposal by developers is remarkably similar to what is being said now about the Remington proposal, but as time has demonstrated the Port Covington venture has not fared very well. During a community meeting it was noted by a representative of the developers, “This will not be like Port Covington.”

~2010/04/11 – Bmore Local, a self-described “Coalition for Smarter Development” is established. Their current focus is to oppose the 25th St. PUD in its current form and attempt to reach a level of compromise in its future course.

2010-05-07 – Residents note that some statements being made regarding Remington being a “food desert” – a neighborhood in which access to groceries is limited at best, and a good reason for Walmart to fill the void – aren’t necessarily the case with a handy Google map illustrating otherwise.

~2010/05/13 – Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke introduces a “living wage” bill that would force retailers and companies above a certain capital value to pay their employees at least $10.19 an hour. It is widely speculated that the bill is aimed specifically at Walmart (this legislation has been tried multiple times, on the state level), which does not permit union laborers, as a backdoor method of raising their wages paid to employees. An op-ed in support of the bill generates some sparky debate:

ecogordo – While Walmart and Lowes probably won’t attract other retailers, let’s review some other details. Most retail is low wage and has rarely provided health care benefits. Hampden’s success has been at the expense of low income residents who have been leaving due to elevated real estate values. Artists have been priced out of that market now which is a normal situation during gentrification of an area.

An ecosystem that produces Hampden has nothing in common with the Walmart ecosystem and the Walmart ambiance can be a detriment. But there is no competition for customers. Hampden’s customers from Roland Park do not as a rule shop at Walmart. At the same time Remington’s residents do not shop in Hampden.

The key to future success in Baltimore lies in population density and quality of life. An area the size of Remington/Hampden needs a comprehensive overall design. Baltimore doesn’t have enough funds for the parks now, so what is a realistic future for Remington?

2010/05/24 – A Traffic Impact Study (draft) is released detailing the potential ramifications a big box establishment(s) would have on Remington with regard to its infrastructure. Exit 6, a site dedicated to analyzing said impact, digests the findings and comes to some interesting conclusions:

  • Remington would see an increase in weekend traffic by 129 times, as noted by Mobtown Shank.
  • Cars counted in the study go mysteriously missing from one end of Huntingdon Avenue to the other, due in part that the study is a mixture of recycled data from prior counts and data from new counts, some intersections not even being counted in the current study (it is still a draft however).
  • The predicted traffic coming in and out of the proposed Remington shopping center would average half of what comes in and out of the Port Covington shopping center, which can be seen from two angles. One, Port Covington is a failed venture and that amount of traffic won’t sustain the businesses, or two, that number (roughly 90 an hour) will be much, much higher if remotely close to the Port Covington numbers, crippling the area’s intersections.

Interesting to note from the draft study’s summary:

Most of the study area intersections are projected to operate at acceptable levels of service
(LOSs) based on aggregate delays and capacities.  It is expected that many will experience
increases in delays and v/c ratios, but only a few intersections will see declines or changes
to level of service letter grade.

“Traffic is going to increase substantially, but whatever!”

2010/06/03 – Cafe Hon owner Denise Whiting pens an op-ed in support of the proposed Walmart development by relating the nostalgia of Montgomery Ward and other department stores in downtown Baltimore, among other things. Local bloggers react, noting that Denise is one of the reasons that Hampden has ended up being a model for independent business owners nation wide, making her support of a big box store all the more puzzling.

2010/06/10 – Local blog The City That Breeds produces this summary.

That about brings us up to speed. it’s interesting to watch this ballet of commercialism unfold, especially when faced with its endpoint in other locations. Will Walmart come into town, with little incident? Will the communities rally effectively and block its presence? Will Remington become an unbearable dump, like Port Covington? Time will tell.

6 thoughts on “Update: The Proposed Walmart in Remington Opinions Roundup

  1. I read a report by the Committee for Housing and Urban Development (C.H.U.D.) that reached the following conclusions:

    – Walmart will double the waistlines of everyone in Baltimore, forcing us to ride in those motorized carts. But we won’t ride them on the sidewalks. Oh no. We’ll ride them in the streets, permanently crippling traffic.

    – Walmart will strap us into chairs and beat us like the terrorists did to George Clooney in that awful movie Syrianus, or whatever it was called.

    – Walmart will turn our children gay!

    – Walmart will give us all deep tissue back massages, which sound good on paper until you realize they’re digging their muscly fingers into your lower back and shooting pool with your spinal cord. I couldn’t walk right for days! Damn you Costa Rican masseuse.

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