Wednesday, February 7, 2007

forget the veterans! I want turf

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.


Anonymous said...

A reader recently posted this comment on the Silver Spring Penguin:

"The problem with the turf is that it is cheap and it hasn’t been properly cared for by the county. ... They [the county] could have a good, nearly NFL Field quality turf that would have a much higher pile height and would withstand much more abuse."

The debate goes on.

rtsind said...

Blair Park use to be a nice park where one could go and chill.

Parks should not have to be built.They already exist.

Man destroys the parks, with concrete monstrosities, then he cries because there are no parks...


Developers are worse than hunters. Developers deplete the parks of wildlife because they deplete the homes of these creatures.
Hunters do not.

A park that is created by man is not a park it is a field-grass and benches,- that is not a park.

If the residents of Silver Spring want a park- there is Sligo Creek- there you will find birds(other than pigeons) sometimes you might here frogs, you may come across a box turtle, and you will see deer minding their own business.

This is what a park is all about- not a green field where people play football and throw trash .

Sligo said...

rtsind said...

"A park that is created by man is not a park it is a field-grass and benches,- that is not a park."

Central Park is an artificial park created by man, and you would be hard pressed to find someone who argues that it isn't a huge asset for the city of New York.

rtsind said...

If they ccan build a park like Central park- I might agree- but I don't think they will.

Any park that is built will take years to look like Central Park,

Anonymous said...

Bethesda has much better public spaces than Silver Spring in general, although nothing as grand as the Silver Circle. The County's urban parks (such as Metro Urban Park) do not live up to their name and are outdated parks from three to four decades ago. They could be redesigned into great parks it MNCPPC really wanted to.

If they put New York's Paley Park into a crevice in the canyon along Georgia Avenue, it wouldn't turn out quite the same. Some of the seedy people in Silver Spring tend to enjoy urinating into the city's dozens of fountains, no one wants to eat lunch while getting misted by Mayor Lane's pis. At least the Downtown Silver Spring fountain is chlorinated (public pool certified).

Anonymous said...

Why are they still moving forward with that horrendously ugly Civic Building? Looks like something they will tear down not too far down the road.

Dan Reed said...

How many fountains are there in Silver Spring? And what's to say there aren't bums in New York who'd piss in the Paley Park fountain? (I'm sure there are quite a few.) If we create public spaces that are valued, you won't see people pissing in them. Note that we haven't had many problems with that in Silver Plaza.

Anonymous said...

I can think of at least 11 fountains off the top of my head, I know of at least two more in the works. I count at least 15 in Bethesda so SS is not that far behind. But SS is inherently more dirty than Bethesda. It also has more shady people who tend to congregate around the Metro station, though not quite as bad as in Wheaton.

There is a fountain near the McDonalds on Colesville that really stunk the last time I visited, however if they replaced the McDonalds with a more reputable eatery that attracts less rough of a crowd and shut down the Metro on weekends (most people drive and park) they could transform it into Paley Park. Bums don't like busy areas like Silver Plaza, they like more secluded places. But I wouldn't say the kids who play there don't pee in it.

Jesup Blair park could be the Montgomery College campus quad if they were to acqire the decrepit residences along Blair Road and renovate them into student housing. That would create a 24 hr atmoshpere in South Silver Spring and revitalize the commerical strip on the other sides that houses some undesirable businesses.