Wednesday, October 4, 2006

whither our town square?

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "[Silver Spring] has an eerie resemblance to Clarksburg in the sense that the density of residential development has exceeded the infrastructure’s capacity for parking and recreation facilities unexpectedly. Not intentionally, but unexpectedly." - Dan Meijer
Both the Post and the Gazette must be waking up from a long sleep, because all they are capable of lately is stating the obvious. Today, the Post reminds us that Ike Leggett, who is black, is still not County Executive yet.

Meanwhile, the Gazette reports that the revitalization of Downtown Silver Spring is not over. (Obviously, they have not been reading Silver Spring Scene.) This is all much to the chagrin of ESSCA President Bob Colvin, who claims that most Silver Spring residents "want a moratorium on development."

But I'm not so sure Silver Springers want the nifty new restaurants and shops to stop coming so much as they'd like some decent public space. The Gazette hits the nail on the head with this one.

We already have The 'Turf', which might be one of the most-used public spaces in the Maryland suburbs. Why would we take this out for a windswept plaza and that ugly proposed Civic Building? Is this a suitable replacement to our Armory, which is long gone but not forgotten?

Silver Spring needs an influx of new development to keep us economically viable and regionally relevant. It's not a moratorium we need; it's a push for more and higher-quality public facilities. When will ESSCA start lobbying for their residents' other wishes?

18 comments:

Silver Springer said...

Right on! We need more quality projects but they do not necessarily have to include an outdoor public component (we may have more pressing needs for those funds) but if so we need usable space not a pocket park!

Terry said...

The "Turf" is inviting in a way that a paved plaza never can be. The planners and architects need to visit the area on a sunny day when the artificial grass is being used by families with small children, clusters of well behaved teens, and people of literally every walk of life catching a few moments of sun.

Plazas don't make you want to lay on them and don't encourage toddlers to squeal and run towards them.

I'll predict it now. If they put in bricks or paving stones, you'll see wind driven trash collecting in the corners, skateboarders roaring through, and homeless folks sitting on the benches. Just like you see near the bus area of the Metro station.

MoCo said...

You said "Silver Spring needs an influx of new development to keep us economically viable and regionally relevant."

What Silver Spring needs even more than new development are schools with better test scores. Nothing keeps property values high and makes an area more sought after by home buyers than schools that have a great reputation.

Robin Ficker said...

The East Silver Springs Citizens Association printed in their newsletter that Leggett told them when appearing before them that he "would impose a building moratorium five minutes after taking office," Then he takes $20,000 from the developers of Crown Farm which will be as dense as New York City and gets the endorsement of the County Chamberof Commerce (Developers) after convincing them not to hold their long-scheduled post-primary debate. He is flipping back to being the perennial developer candidate he has always been.

WashingtonGardener said...

Just last night I was telling anothrer SS resident that instead of spending the $$$ on the ice rink - we should use the money to expand the civic building to its original proposed rooms and square footage. Then leave the front of the side landscaped with green.

The turf field unwittingly showed what a desparate unmet need we in downtown SS have for a public gathering space and open green place.

Anonymous said...

How about they just don't bother building the Ellsworth Condos and move the civic center back a little bit, making the remaining public space larger?

Silver Springer said...

MoCo
said...

What Silver Spring needs even more than new development are schools with better test scores. Nothing keeps property values high and makes an area more sought after by home buyers than schools that have a great reputation.

RE:Montgomery County's school system is considered one of the best in the nation; we have the highest concentration of people holding a Bachelors degree in the United States. A lot of those people drive across a river to get to work and all those years it didn’t save Silver Spring but guess what did? Development.

An inundation of residential units makes a bedroom community. All they will do is drive somewhere else to work. Silver Spring can use a few more homeowners but Montgomery County is approaching if not passed the threshold in residential building. It far outpaces office development creating an unbalanced economy.

I don’t understand why people are irritable about traffic problems yet protest the very thing that will mitigate the situation and maintain and create a healthy county.

Anonymous said...

MoCo said...
You said "Silver Spring needs an influx of new development to keep us economically viable and regionally relevant."

What Silver Spring needs even more than new development are schools with better test scores. Nothing keeps property values high and makes an area more sought after by home buyers than schools that have a great reputation.


RE: Northern Virginia is constantly over-developing but yet they have better school sysytems then Montgomery County as well as PG County.

Anonymous said...

Robin Ficker said...
The East Silver Springs Citizens Association printed in their newsletter that Leggett told them when appearing before them that he "would impose a building moratorium five minutes after taking office," Then he takes $20,000 from the developers of Crown Farm which will be as dense as New York City and gets the endorsement of the County Chamberof Commerce (Developers) after convincing them not to hold their long-scheduled post-primary debate. He is flipping back to being the perennial developer candidate he has always been.

RE: Dude give up because anyone with a brain is not taking your spins and scare tactics seriously.

BTW Crown Farm will nowhere be as large/dense as Tysons Corner or any of the new proposed Developments in Eastern Loudon County, Virginia so again your point is mute.

Anonymous said...

Sligo said...
How about they just don't bother building the Ellsworth Condos and move the civic center back a little bit, making the remaining public space larger?

RE: Negative; instead of building the condos they need to build a Class A Office building so the Employment rate can increase in the area.

Rfustero said...

A class A office building is just what we need- for the very reason mentioned. Low-paying retail establishments attract people from outside the area who add to the traffic problems.

As to the comment by "Terry" and benches where homeless people will sit" just where are they supposed to if you don't want them on benches?

Terry said...

"As to the comment by "Terry" and benches where homeless people will sit" just where are they supposed to if you don't want them on benches?"

I want a change in our economy and in our treatment of the mentally ill and drug addicted so that people don't end up just sitting on benches all day without hope of their circumstances ever changing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Northern Virginia is constantly over-developing but yet they have better school sysytems then Montgomery County as well as PG County.

RE: I wouldn't go that far, when it comes to rich white kids that can get a tutor if they're struggling than northern Virginia does OK.

But they are terrible at teaching Black children as the Washington Post pointed out.

Montgomery County and Maryland in general are much better equipped to teach children of any group and it shows. Performance here is just a lot better in a "real world" situation.

Regardless, nova still gets a whole lot more white collar jobs going to them.

I'm The Decider said...

It's hard to believe most of us are arguing in favor of "the Turf". But if the alternative is some kind of Soviet era concrete plaza, I'll take artifical grass any day. Just think of what that space would be like with *real* grass and [wait for it...] TREES.

I have one more thing to add about this particular "public space" debate. Let's not frame the discussion as an "either/or" proposition. There's plenty of existing room for green-ish public spaces AND commerical expansion (all along Fenton, for instance). We can have both if it's done wisely.

Anonymous said...

Rfustero said...
A class A office building is just what we need- for the very reason mentioned. Low-paying retail establishments attract people from outside the area who add to the traffic problems.

RE: We need retail establishments for steady economic growth and people from outside the area for revenue growth. We can not just have ALL of the upscale retail in Northern Virginia. Silver Spring can support a Pentagon City Mall type of development they just need the right people to invest in it.

The traffic problems are going to accure anywhere whether they build more retail or not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...


Regardless, nova still gets a whole lot more white collar jobs going to them.


RE: And that needs to shift towards Maryland may it be Montgomery County and/or PG County because it is becoming a problem that over 50% of Maryland(DC/Bmore area) Communters are going out of state(majority going to Virginia) for white collar high tech jobs which means more money is leaving the state of Maryland.

Silver Springer said...

Anonymous said...

RE: We need retail establishments for steady economic growth and people from outside the area for revenue growth. We can not just have ALL of the upscale retail in Northern Virginia. Silver Spring can support a Pentagon City Mall type of development they just need the right people to invest in it.

The traffic problems are going to accure anywhere whether they build more retail or not.

RE: I'm confused. Your reply had nothing to do with what Rfustero was saying. He was talking about getting Class A office space so that we have jobs that allow you to live here, mitigate traffic problems and strengthen the economy of Silver Spring.

No one is going to able to afford a place in downtown Silver Spring on $6.15 an hour. The people who do work at retail establishments will drive here and cause more traffic problems.

The reason why nova has upscale retail and hotels is because they have a lot of high salary paying jobs.

With a very low vacancy rate around 3% in Silver Spring, office development is the only market really worth while.

Also traffic problems will not "occur anywhere" with or without. You can certainly mitigate the situation if you provide more jobs closer to where people work. In the long run people will do this.

Plus like another poster said, nova has far worst traffic problems, Tysons Corner has no mass transit rail but that isn't stopping Va from continuing development or going all the way to Reston which also doesn't have mass transit rail.

Anonymous said...

Silver Springer said...
Anonymous said...

RE: We need retail establishments for steady economic growth and people from outside the area for revenue growth. We can not just have ALL of the upscale retail in Northern Virginia. Silver Spring can support a Pentagon City Mall type of development they just need the right people to invest in it.

The traffic problems are going to accure anywhere whether they build more retail or not.

Silver Springer said...

I'm confused. Your reply had nothing to do with what Rfustero was saying. He was talking about getting Class A office space so that we have jobs that allow you to live here, mitigate traffic problems and strengthen the economy of Silver Spring.

No one is going to able to afford a place in downtown Silver Spring on $6.15 an hour. The people who do work at retail establishments will drive here and cause more traffic problems.

The reason why nova has upscale retail and hotels is because they have a lot of high salary paying jobs.

RE: You said it yourself that NOVA have high salary paying jobs which brings in upscale retail and hotels.

So what you trying to say, Silver Spring isn't worthy of the same high paying salary jobs to support upscale retail and hotels like NOVA??????????

Silver Springer said...
With a very low vacancy rate around 3% in Silver Spring, office development is the only market really worth while.

RE: Why can't Silver Spring have Upscale Retail, Hotels, and High Tech Offices? If it can work in Tysons Corner, Fair Oaks, Reston, Pentagon City and Ballston then Silver Spring can do the same. Maybe you just don't want to see Silver Spring progress as much as NOVA has been in the last 30 years and continuing.

Silver Springer said...
Also traffic problems will not "occur anywhere" with or without. You can certainly mitigate the situation if you provide more jobs closer to where people work. In the long run people will do this.

RE: Now that I will say that I agree with along with adding more Upscale Retail and Hoitels so Marylanders don't have to go to NOVA just to find the specific retrail store(s) that is not located in Silver Spring/Montgomery County.

Case in point: Southwest Airlines just open a section at Dulles Airport which means the Virginians don't have to go to Maryland(Virgians already think they are too good to do business in Maryland) to get a Southwest Airline Flight.

Silver Springer said...
Plus like another poster said, nova has far worst traffic problems, Tysons Corner has no mass transit rail but that isn't stopping Va from continuing development or going all the way to Reston which also doesn't have mass transit rail.

RE: Now why would you purposely leave out the fact that they are planning to extend the Metro Subway(Silver Line) to Eastern Loudon County via Tysons Corner, Reston/Herndon, Dulles Airport, etc. Along with plans to Extend the Orange Line Metro to Centerville via Fair Oaks.