Old Ellicott City’s Main Street is a path many students take to get to campus. Since July 30 when the flash flood struck and caused massive destruction and two deaths, Old Ellicott City has been closed to pedestrian and vehicular traffic. The damage inflicted by the flash flood caused upwards of $20 million dollars in damages.
The flooding in Old Ellicott City had widespread effects. Many small businesses are still working on repairs while some have reopened to the general public. According to the Baltimore Sun, “61.5 inches of rain fell in the span of two hours on the evening of Saturday, July 30, swelling the Tiber and Hudson tributaries of the Patapsco River and triggering floods coursing down the street as people dined and shopped.”
On Oct. 6 at 5:00 p.m., Main Street reopened to the general public. According to the Baltimore Sun, when “the first vehicles turned onto Main Street, drivers honked their horns in celebration.” It attracted a “steady stream of cars and pedestrians — many people walked along the sidewalks, peering into buildings.”
UMBC students had mostly positive opinions regarding the reopening of Old Ellicott City. Most people are excited regarding the prospect of the businesses being able to get back on their feet, given the food that Old Ellicott City offers and additional travel route options it provides. For many commuters, the closing of Old Ellicott City added more commute time to their drive to campus.
Bhuvana Kotnana, a sophomore biology and psychology double major, was happily surprised by the news. “I live a minute away from Old EC! I always drove through Old EC to get to campus. It’s an almost guaranteed 25 minute drive to campus if I take that that route. After they closed off the road post flooding, I resorted to 100. Sometimes, I get to campus in less than 25 minutes and on other days, it takes more than that depending on traffic and whether there’s been an accident. So I’m happy about that! Also it’s just such a beautiful place! That’s another thing that I like about taking that route to campus,” she said.
Mayukha Pakala, a sophomore biology major, was glad to hear the commute would be faster. “It’s great. It’s a faster way for people who live in Ellicott City to get to school without a lot traffic. Not being able to take Frederick Road added 10-20 minutes to the commute. It’s also great that some of the stores are able to reopen, but sad that others can’t. I know rebuilding takes time though,” stated Pakala.
Ryan Um, a sophomore chemistry major, had a different take on the reopening of UMBC and saw the pros and cons of the reopening. “I think that it’s a good thing that it’s opening up, but I’m just wondering if it’s too soon. I’m worried that if they made a single mistake it would mean delaying the opening of Old Ellicott City for another few months,” he said.
People are excited, yet nervous, regarding the reopening of Old Ellicott City. Many are concerned about prevention of future flooding in the future. However, everyone hopes that this beloved historic area gets back up and running after a catastrophic storm that caused significant damage yet reminded people just how much they love the historical, small town.