Normally, rooting for a particular piece of legislation to pass is about as useful as rooting for a particular horse to win. The political process, like a 3-1 shot, can quit in the home stretch.

But Montgomery County Councilwoman Rose Crenca is riding an especially worthy bill toward the finish line in Rockville. And every jurisdiction in the area should do the same.

The bill would require all apartment buildings and places of business in Montgomery County to display their addresses in numerals at least six inches high. The numerals must appear on a contrasting background, and in a conspicuous place. Owners of single family homes are "encouraged, but not required" to do the same.

The idea is to make it easier and faster for emergency vehicles to figure out where they're going. In addition to achieving that through easier-to-read addresses, Rose Crenca's bill also would require street signs in the county to be converted on a staggered basis to list hundred blocks. Most now don't.

"It's a simple bill. I don't anticipate any problems," said Crenca. She expects it to be law by the end of the year.

But Prince George's County is the only other jurisdiction in the area with the six-inch numerals requirement. All the others require addresses to be "readable." Like beauty, readability too often exists only in the eye of the beholder.

Imagine yourself behind the wheel of an ambulance, responding to a heart-attack call on a dark, rainy night. The address you've been given is 7202 Thumbtack Court.

But the numerals are too small to read from the street. Or a bush has grown so high that the numerals have been obscured. Or the address is posted as "Seventy-Two-Oh-Two" by someone who thinks he's a little classier than his neighbors.

If that heart attack victim dies because you can't find 7202 in time to save him, won't that be a ridiculous waste of human life?

And if you're worried about cost, here's a first-hand bulletin: I replaced all four of the numerals on the facade of my home over the weekend. The total cost was $3.56. Cheap at the price.