Thursday, October 19, 2006

it's the thought that counts

A NOTE FROM DAN:I like to make sure the long pieces I write are as good as possible, so I took down the Fairland View piece from Tuesday because I didn't feel comfortable with it. Look out for a more coherent form of it later on.
" . . . there's a discrepancy between where these people believe growth should occur and where the trends and projections are expected." - Jason K. Sartori, Consultant

No matter how many groundbreakings Bobby Haircut has for the ICC, the tide may be turning on suburban, auto-oriented development in Maryland. The Post reports on Reality Check Plus, a series of "envisioning sessions" over the summer where a cross-section of "business, civic and elected leaders" throughout the state were given the task of deciding where new growth should take place.

And despite the attitudes of a few cranky stay-at-home parents and a possible NIMBY County Executive, it turns out that Marylanders, or at least the ones who participated in both the statewide and the Washington-area version of Reality Check, support sustainable, denser development near transit and existing job centers.

It is a contrast, though, to the slow-growth 'mandate' MoCo voters supposedly sent last month. So do people want smart growth or not? I mean, people like Bethesda Row (pictured). But, of course, talk about building another Bethesda Row somewhere else and you'll hear "overdevelopment!" and "traffic!"

Either way, it's the thought that counts. Thanks, Maryland, for having the right idea.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not only does this story is completely anti-growth biased but also displays discrimative hatred towards economic/business growth and Upscale Development for the state of Maryland in favor for more federal spending for intense development, economic/business/job growth, and Highways/Rapid Transportation building in Northern Virginia.

Anonymous said...

thecourtyard, are you aware of the (catastrophic) 1981 Eastern Montgomery County Master Plan? It covered Cloverly, Fairland and White Oak.

It was about "reducing auto
dependency." It was "based on
a concept of transit
serviceability" (this was before
the term Smart Growth had been invented). It was about
"preserving" the Montgomery
County Ag Preserve.

It was also a total, complete
failure.
It was so bad that the
M-NCP&PC and the County Council had to admit failure and pass a trip reduction amendment less than 10 years after the 1981 Plan was approved.

thecourtyard said...

Mr. Zilliacus - I like how you keep beating the hell out of that one example when there are so many communities (such as our own Silver Spring) that have embraced Smart Growth and have flourished.

Okay, so East County couldn't do it the first time around. That was 25 years ago - the circumstances have changed dramatically. It wouldn't hurt to try again.

Anonymous said...

> Mr. Zilliacus - I like how you
> keep beating the hell out of
> that one example when there
> are so many communities (such
> as our own Silver Spring)
> that have embraced Smart
> Growth and have flourished.

Not one example - three master
plan areas
and thousands
of residents. And the bad
results of the 1981 Master Plan
and its misplaced emphasis on residential densification and
mass transit remain - consider
Castle Boulevard in Fairland
and Stewart Lane in White Oak
for starters.

As for Smart Growth having
"flourished," then perhaps you
can explain the steady exodus
of employment from Silver
Spring since 1978, when
the Metrorail Red Line
arrived?

High-tech employers that have
moved away (frequently to
Fairfax County or other
suburban locations) such as
Orkand Corp. (a Silver Spring original), Vitro, Computer
Sciences Corp. (they used to
own the large building on the
west side of Colesville Road
between Fenton and Cameron
Streets).

> Okay, so East County couldn't
> do it the first time around.
> That was 25 years ago - the
> circumstances have changed
> dramatically.

In what ways?

> It wouldn't hurt to try again.

You can destroy your own
neighborhood with row after
row of garden apartments if
you like - Fairland residents
are now always on the alert when
it comes to proposals from
the Sierra Club or the Coalition
for Smarter Growth or
Environmental Defense to
further densify our
neighborhoods. I think it's safe
to say that most residents of
Montgomery County are here for the following reasons:

It's suburban.
It has a relatively decent school system.
It has no compulsory school busing for racial integration.
It's not the District of Columbia.
It's (in relative terms) affordable.

Most residents of the county are
not here for Smart
Growth - nor do a vast majority
of them take mass transit - and
a Purple Line is not likely
to change that.

thecourtyard said...

Your assertions about Montgomery County residents are unfounded. There are over a dozen Metro stations in this county, including Silver Spring, which has the highest ridership in the state. Home price near Metro stops are ridiculously high. You think that's just due to the schools? Not quite.

And I'm curious what you're inferring by saying MoCo residents are avoiding mandatory busing. I know you get queasy seeing all the "undesirables" in our schools (they come from Briggs Chaney and White Oak, right? In all those "disastrous" apartments, right?) but I get the feeling most MoCo residents aren't so worried.