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Too Much Parking at the Park?

Neighbors don’t want an active recreation park.

Sean Cleary doesn’t want the soccer moms, or the soccer dads. “The soccer field is what’s going to bring in the most traffic,” he said at a Dec. 11 public meeting about the proposed development plan for Greenbriar local park. “The soccer field is just a mistake. Don’t do it on Glen Road.

The 25-acre parcel near the intersection of Glen and Travilah roads was purchased by the county to be used as a local park in 1992. Local parks typically have active recreation options in them, and Greenbriar is no exception — the plan calls for a regulation soccer field and basketball court.

The plan for developing the park was presented by Heidi Sussmann of Park and Planning. Sussmann had come to the meeting on Dec. 11 to get feedback from residents about what sorts of amenities they would like at the park.

The County’s Parks Recreation and Open Space Master Plan (PROS) identified a need for soccer and basketball in that area, so Sussmann is required to put both facilities in her plan.

The total developed area will be approximately eight of the park’s 25 acres. “I feel like this will be a nice looking park, leaving most of it alone,” she said.

Residents saw it differently. Many of the approximately 15 who came worried, like Cleary, about the amount of traffic a soccer field will generate.

Cleary pointed out that each soccer game will have at least 22 players. “And while their game is ending you have 22 more coming in,” Cleary said.

“At the same time, you have packs of bicyclists on Glen Road,” Cleary said. People coming to use this field from other parts of the county may not be accustomed to sharing the two-lane road with groups of 20-50 cyclists, he said.

Sussmann suggested that installing rumble strips or other traffic-calming devices on Glen Road might help with safety concerns.

Others are opposed to development of it in general.

“We’re overdeveloping this area,” said Louis Friedman. “Every square inch of space does not need to be developed.”

While Sussmann agrees that overdevelopment is an issue, she is not the decision maker.

“[Park and Planning] acquired it for a local park,” she said.

Other residents came not to protest the park, but to offer ideas for minor changes. One suggested removing the volleyball court and putting a second entrance to the parking lot so that visitors can get in and out of the lot more safely.

Sussmann will continue to refine the plan before presenting it to the Planning Board.

“What we want is to get feedback from you people over the next few months,” she said.

Sussmann does not expect the park to be developed until 2009 at the earliest.