One in three homes in Takoma Park include young children and Maryland's schools are among the best in the country. We currently have 2,008 children in Takoma Park Middle School, Elementary School and Piney Branch Elementary School and another 850 in Rolling Terrace Elementary. The Middle School is overcapacity today and projected to stay that way through 2018. Rolling Terrace170 more students today than its capacity of 672 students. Takoma Park Elementary is overcapacity and projected to stay that way for at least 2 more years.
During an earlier discussion about redevelopment along New Hampshire Avenue and University Avenue, especially associated with the Purple Line, I asked City staff for some hypothetical projections of what our school population would look like if residential development were fully built out as envisioned in the Takoma Langley Crossroads Sector Plan. I've attached the document provided by our staff here - it is full of interesting information.
For me, our past County Councils have been too focused on development as simply more dense buildings, and not enough on quality of life issues like schools and traffic. I've also heard others express criticism of the County Council for investing far more in building new and improving old schools in the upper and western parts of the County and less down here. I'd like to see us get more investments in school construction before NH Avenue or University Avenue projects start breaking ground. Especially since many of our schools are already beyond their capacity.
Are there ways to get more development (like the construction of the new transit center on University Ave and nearby services) including some more housing without creating worse traffic and school crowding? I hope we can find ways to do so.... and that you will join me in asking candidates who want to be part of our County Council how they are going to deal with questions like these. Concrete answers rather than simplistic statements like 'transit-smart mixed use development' are at least part of what I hope to hear about from candidates.
*note, these school enrollment statistics are approximate; I've found slightly varying numbers in County, city and online resources.