If anyone should be especially thankful this Thanksgiving, it should be Senator Paul Sarbanes. In one of his last acts as County Executive, Doug Duncan asked the Metro board to name the new Silver Spring Transit Center after our outgoing Senator and an outspoken transit advocate. The $75 million Senator Paul S. Sarbanes Silver Spring Transit Center (if the re-naming of BWI is any indicator to how it will be named) will start construction this summer.
Will they re-name the Silver Spring Metro station itself after this is built? Probably not. Metro does not traditionally change station names once they're open - even when Prince George's Plaza became the Mall at Prince George's, the Metro station retained the PG Plaza moniker. They did, though, change the name of Mt. Vernon Square/7th St-Convention Center to reflect the convention center's move from Chinatown, but that was more of a logistical issue than the desire to stay up-to-date with place names.
Either way - man, I wish I had a place named for me while I was still alive. Sarbanes will pinch himself every time he takes a train to Silver Spring.
Sarbanes is a good man and has represented us well. The worst things his opponents could say about him is that he's "too intellectual". In a number of ways, he was a good complement for Mikulski in the Senate. Sure, they're both pretty darn progressive/liberal, but their styles couldn't be more dissimilar. I suspect is good to have a delegation that can work their colleagues via a number of routes.
Maryland also has a long tradition of electing genuine people as opposed to airbrushed and prepackaged candidates. That's a good thing. I'd rather be represented by a hard working "character" than by a polished image that's backed by little substance.
What did Sarbanes ever do for Montgomery County?
There are quite a few things, given the number of years he was in office. A couple of practical things:
- bringing the FDA into the closed Surface Naval Warfare center in White Oak
- wrote the law that completed the whole (as originally designed) Metro system. Probably why they're naming the transit center after him.
- funds to communities such as Wheaton for beautification and development
- funds into the MARC system
- support for Federal agencies with facilities/offices in the county
- funding for the Capitol Crescent/Georgetown Spur
- funding for restoration/preservation of the Anacostia watershed (Northwest Branch runs through Silver Spring, crosses 29 there by Trader Joes)
- restoration funds for Great Seneca/Muddy Branch watersheds
Those things came up on the first round of Google. Feel free to continue the search yourself.
I'd point out that the Smithsonian metro station is named after someone (a former metro administrator). The metro map doesn't show it but the station itself does...
I'd like to see WMATA greatly simplify all the metro names. Why for example can't "U Street/ African-American Civil War Memorial/ Cardozo" simply be "U-Street"? We don't need neighborhood descriptions injected into the station names. WMATA clearly isn't giving passengers enough credit here. If someone is headed to the AA Civil War memorial and they learn its at the U Street stop, they'll get off at U Street. Not too difficult.
Other station names that desprately need shortening:
OLD:Woodley Park-Zoo/Adams Morgan
OLD:New York Ave-Florida Ave-Gallaudet U
OLD: Archives-Navy Memorial-Penn Quarter
NEW: Penn Quarter
Seriously, can't we invoke an 8 syllable cap or something?
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