|Pocket Park (with homeless|
man), Cameron Hill
|Paley Park, New York City|
"In urban areas, it’s not always easy getting green," the Gazette whines as it proceeds into a particularly dumbed-down explanation of why Montgomery County wants to pave over the "Turf", one of the few public spaces in Silver Spring that actually works.
"[Director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center - *deep breath* - Gary] Stith said there are more appropriate places to put an expanse of grass. The site of the future Silver Spring Library, to be built on Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street, would be larger and able to withstand heavier use."And where, pray tell, would that be? Bigger than the "Turf"? You lie, Gary Stith.
Is Silver Spring just doomed to have bad public spaces? Take away the "Turf" and we're left with a number of "pocket parks," which are required by the County in most new developments. You might find some skaters or card-players hanging out in the Metro Urban Park, but little else. There's always a homeless person sitting at Second and Colesville (in front of Cameron Hill), but no workers from the office building across the street.
Why are these spaces bad, and the Turf (or Paley Park, pictured) good? Good public spaces are accessible to the street (not elevated and hidden with walls) but also detached (not just a bench at a street corner). They're near a mix of uses (not just a Metro station) and allow a variety of uses themselves (other than sitting). On the Turf, you can sit, stand, run around, play football, or just people-watch. Its genius is its simplicity, not some stupid gimmick or slick Modernist design.
But as long as we're going to rip out "the Turf" to put in some slick Modernist piece of crap, we might as well take the money from these little pocket parks to build a more substantial park somewhere Downtown. Is there space for that? Um . . . we went over that already.
Do I care about the veterans enough to give over our biggest and best public space Downtown over to them? Hell, no.