Keller Newgent, who has lived all of his 69 years on the same block near Seat Pleasant shock his finger at the young bureacrats before him and said, "I picture you people as kids whose mother has baked a bunch of cookies -- us," and he pointed to the high school auditorium, packed with people, behind him.
"You eat one now, then a year from now you decide, gee, they're good. Let's get some more. You'll eat us all!" he declared to the delight of the audience. After Newgent finished, Francis Francois, Princes George's County's representative on the Metro board of directors, observed, "That's the first time I've ever heared Metro called the great cookie monster."
Newgent was one of 20 people who made emotional pleas and offered alternative proposals to Metro's parking lot plans at a public hearing called by the Washington Metropolian Area Transit Authority at Central Senior High School.
The subject was a proposal to raze nine houses at Addison Road and Central Avenue to build a 602-space parking lot for Metro commuters to use when the Addison Road station opens at the end of the year.
At the end of the three-and-a-half-hour meeting, Francois told the speakers, "Personally, I think you made a good case."
The parking lot would occupy a five-acre area bounded by Central Avenue, Addison Road and 68th Avenue, and would displace nine families, some of whom are elderly and disabled.
In addition, said owners of the affected properties and their neighbors, the lot would be inadequate if Metro's own estimate -- that 3,000 parking spaces will be needed at the station -- is accurate.
The residents also complained that the parking lot would be temporary, at best, if the Metro line is extended to Largo, as the long-range plan.
They emphasized their concern for their close-knit, 20-year-old, racially mixed neighborhood, and suggested several alternatives to the Metro planners, including:
An 11-acre lot of 1201 Addison Rd. that is vacant except for a produce stand. A shuttle bus sytem could be used to carry commuters the mile between the lot and the terminal.
A 72-acre parcel owned by the Arundel Supply Co. at Addison and Walker Mill roads, which would allow room for expansion to accomodate as many as 2,500 vehicles. It is about 1.5 miles from the station and would also require a shuttle system.
A parcel of 10 acres, now for sale, about a tenth of a mile south of the proposed parking lot along Addison Road. It now has one house on it and is adjacent to more vacant land.
A vacant 11-acre plot across Central Avenue and East Capitol Street from the proposed site.
Construction of a multilevel parking garage, so that less land would be needed.
Metro site planner Lee Skillman said after the meetint that some of the proposals had ben investigated by Metro before the Addison Road-Central Avenue site was chosen.
"Generally speaking, parking should be within 1,000 feet of the station. Fringe lots are difficult (for people to use). However, there are several successful (fringe) lots," Skillman said.
He said planners would look into the residents' proposals and make a report to the Metro board of directors in about a month. The lot would not be built for about a year and a half after the board decision, and would supplement the present 482-space lot across Addison Road from the proposed site.
Resident also voiced their anger at Metro over what they considered a lack of honesty and sensitivity.
"You have not been honest with us all along," said Patricia Brown of 223 68th Ave., who lives across the street from the proposed parking lot.
She echoed others who recalled that Metro planners have changed their parking-lot plans several times since the project was conceived.
Others charged that Metro singeld out their area because it is not within either Seat Pleasant or Capitol Heights, and has no local political representation. Seat Pleasant council member Virginius Williams, as well as County Council members Ann Lombardi and Deborah Marshall, attended the hearing to support the group.