Residents of a US city are soon to find accessing parts of the hometown much easier with the construction of a brand new staircase. Authorities in Ellicott City in Maryland are building the staircase in order to improve access between the downtown area and the Court Place part of the city.
The two areas are separated by a large hill that features no direct road or footpath, meaning those who want to get from one part to the other must take a detour via one of the interconnecting roads that leads to the top. But walking one of those routes adds a significant amount of time to a journey – something affecting businesses located in the upper part of town.
The construction of the staircase will provide a direct route between the top and bottom of the hill, allowing residents in both areas to move between the two much more easily. The staircase will bring additional business to shops and the city’s historic district, which also sits at the top of the hill, which in turn, could attract additional revenue through tourism. It is also hoped the improved access will encourage new businesses to open at the top of the hill, providing a more even spread of shops across the city.
There will also be benefits for the downtown businesses at the foot of the hill, thanks to the large number of parking spaces available at the top. Visitors from out of town will be able to utilise the parking facilities and easily make their way down to the main shopping district.
The new staircase will feature two high stone walls with a stone staircase set in between. The stairs will curve and snake their way up the hill, providing an easy access route, while disturbing the surrounding area as little as possible. Other projects are planned in the vicinity as part of plans to improve the city, including the planting of new trees and shrubs, and the construction of rainwater capturing areas.
The importance of stairs in towns and cities built on multiple levels cannot be underestimated. Such structures have helped connect communities that would otherwise be separated and accessible only by those willing to go out of their way to get there. And the same goes for buildings and homes. Staircases help connect people and get us to where we need to go. Sometimes, even places we’d never been before.