Ellicott City’s Main Street is home to a mix of restaurants, art galleries, thrift stores, and gift shops that attract hundreds of thousands of shoppers, diners, and visitors annually. But because downtown is located in the valley of the Tiber River, with its east end abutting the Patapsco River, the town is prone to flooding. These floods have had a major impact on the history of the town and stormwater management.
The project design called for a way to increase walkability to the shops and provide parking for guests, while finding a way to address stormwater management. There were other site complexities, as well, including utilities, an irregular bedrock subgrade along the slope, and consideration of the planting design. The plants needed to be native, able to survive both drought and flooding, treat stormwater, and act as functional and aesthetically pleasing soil stabilizers.
HOW WE HELPED
McCormick Taylor was responsible for:
- Structural and stormwater management analysis and design
- Development of design plans
- Obtainment of permits
- Construction oversight
Geotechnical investigations were completed to determine a constructible approach to retaining wall designs for the staircase to be built into the existing slope while maintaining traffic on the roadway above during construction.
McCormick Taylor also worked with Howard County to coordinate with the adjacent homeowners on landscaping preferences and business owners to provide adequate accessibility for their business needs.
The Lot E Staircase and Water Quality Improvement project provided a unique solution to the urban infrastructure challenge of treating stormwater on a steep slope, while also increasing pedestrian safety in Historic Ellicott City. The project’s high visibility helps to raise awareness of the work being done to improve water quality in the Chesapeake watershed and impact local flooding issues within Ellicott City. The staircase takes pedestrian traffic off the narrow, winding street and makes the additional parking at the courthouse more accessible to the local businesses. There are also long-term environmental health benefits to the water quality treatment provided to the runoff prior to entering the tributary to the Patapsco River.