A Comparison of the Accessibility of Three Neighborhoods’ Institutions and Amenities in Frederick, MD
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Frederick is a city of neighborhoods. We studied three neighborhoods in the southern part of the City: Downtown—the area of downtown Frederick, South—the area to the immediate south and west of downtown, and West—the area west of the Frederick Bypass anchored by the Golden Mile and US-40. We based our analysis on the institutions and amenities present in each neighborhood. Institutions were landmarks or structures of civic nature such as schools, banks, churches, and parks, while amenities were necessities or conveniences such as groceries, retail, or service areas. We determined the boundaries of the neighborhoods by mapping the locations of institutions and amenities within the City and observing how they were geographically organized, then using differences in the age of the buildings in those areas as well as physical barriers between them to designate borders. We then studied selected social, demographic, and economic characteristics of the neighborhoods. These were age, income, race, and household size. We found that households tended to consist of fewer people closer to downtown Frederick, the youngest and most racially diverse areas were along the Golden Mile, the oldest and least diverse were in downtown Frederick and west of downtown, and income levels throughout the study area can be seen as having a bi-centric distribution. We also administered a survey in person at three locations within the City. Survey questions explored how often respondents visited amenities and institutions, and what form of transportation they used to get to those places. Respondents indicated that convenience stores were the type of service they used the most often, most trips they took to such destinations were less than five miles, and the mode of transportation they chose depended on their destination. Large numbers of respondents indicated support for bike lanes, traffic abatement, and crosswalks. Three recommendations result from this analysis: add bike lanes wherever possible; improve walkability; implement policies to encourage the opening of a grocery store within downtown Frederick. In the future, appropriate areas of research to extend this study may include bicyclist and pedestrian counts at key locations to guide bicycle and pedestrian policy within the City, a thorough assessment of the City’s public transportation system, and a review of neighborhood zoning to determine whether it reflects a desirable and functional land use pattern.