Montgomery County Executive Sidney Kramer seems to have mounted a damage-control operation in Silver Spring and Takoma Park. Residents' opposition to his massive traffic and development proposals for Silver Spring has been growing. Consequently, transportation director Robert McGarry has announced a plan that purports to protect neighborhoods from the coming wave of cut-through traffic.
On close examination, this plan has quite a few hitches:
You cannot have the remedy unless you agree to the disease. The protection plan will not be put into effect unless Mr. Kramer's whole gargantuan proposal is passed, Mr. McGarry says.
Under Mr. Kramer's proposal, Silver Spring traffic will increase at least 66 percent, 100 buses per hour will be added, and at least one local intersection may have mile-long backups -- a forecast from the professional staff at Park and Planning. The planning board predicts that Silver Spring will have worse traffic than anywhere else in the county, including Bethesda.
If you are stuck in a one-mile backup and the only thing standing between you and liberation were a no-right-turn sign, would it stop you? I'd wager the answer for most people is no. The neighborhood protections offered by Mr. McGarry (stop signs, no-turn signs, etc.) are flimsy, especially given drivers' predictable frustration over bottlenecks on main roads.
At long last, Mr. McGarry has listed residential streets that are candidates to become ring roads, to carry traffic around the business district. Sorry, folks on Carroll, Dale, Columbia Boulevard, Flower, Franklin, Piney Branch, Seminary, Wayne, Sligo Creek Parkway and other streets: you have the misfortune of living on the Road to Progress.
Citizens who want to hear the full story about neighborhood traffic should listen to John Erdman, the independent traffic engineer hired by citizens to assess Mr. Kramer's traffic proposals. WILLIAM LEARY Vice President, Silver Spring-Takoma Park Traffic Coalition Silver Spring