Outside of thinking it might look a little awkward, I don’t really give a rat’s ass whether the new library has a pedestrian bridge or not. However, at a time when the county government has a ONE BILLION DOLLAR budget deficit, is it really prudent to be constructing an elective $800K addition such as this simply because a vocal minority demands it? It's surprising that this continues to be considered by many as a viable option. Given the current fiscal climate, even Ike Leggett must be reevaluating his support of the bridge.
As reported on ThayerAvenue.com, the East Silver Spring Civic Association is the latest group to lend their support to the construction of the bridge, voting overwhelming to do so in their meeting last night. What actual weight their support carries, I have no idea. The type of people who openly express RAGE over the prospect of that they might have to pay 50/75 cents an hour to park at a library (“It's un-American!”) are likely the same ones who have no problem with all Montgomery County residents shouldering the cost of an $800K bridge during a recession.
If they are going to ultimately build the bridge, here are some potential ways to do it equitably:
- Conduct a county-wide survey of residents’ preference for a library bridge. The $800K (plus overruns!) price tag will be divided equally and added to the tax bills of those who responded in the affirmative. The cost doesn’t even need to be divided uniformly - I have no qualms with making the supplementary charge progressive based on income. To prevent freeloaders from using the bridge, only those taxpayers who helped pay for it will be permitted to cross. Each of these people will be issued a keycard required to access to the bridge. Even better, to avoid sharing of keycards, a biometric identity validation system can be installed.I’ve also been wondering lately how it is that the staff of the current Silver Spring library is permitted to actively promote the construction of a bridge at the future library. Not only do they have pro-bridge signs displayed all over the library grounds, they are distributing the lawn signs inside the building. They have every right to be in favor of the proposal, but in general are government employees allowed to make overt stands in the workplace on contentious political issues?
- Collect a toll from each library visitor who wishes to cross the bridge to offset construction costs. Of course, the toll would probably need to be in the thousands of dollars per crossing (about on par with taking a trip on the ICC).
- Only permit sufficiently disabled people to cross the bridge, as they are the ones for whom the bridge is intended. We wouldn't want any excessive wear on our precious bridge, would we? A physician would be stationed at the entrance to the bridge. Each prospective bridge-crosser would be required to submit to a comprehensive physical exam. If the doctor determines that the person is physically unable to take the elevator to the first floor and cross Wayne Avenue, they will be permitted to utilize the bridge. Otherwise, they will be made to walk their able-bodied ass across the street.
At this point, I’d be fine if they just kept the old library and sold the land allocated for the new library to a worthwhile retailer. At least the current library is in my neighborhood. Most of the books I check out are ordered from other branches, anyway.
On a related subject, one development that should be interesting to follow is Ike Leggett’s recent proposal to start charging for parking at the Rockville and Bethesda libraries.
Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio and City Council member Mark Pierzchala said the elimination of free parking for the library would have an adverse effect on the city.Really, how cheap and/or poor are people in Montgomery County these days? Parking in Rockville costs a dollar. I though MoCo residents were wealthy, or did all the rich people move to Virginia already? Perhaps I am just out of touch with the common man.
"Of course I don't like it. It will have a negative impact on Town Square," Pierzchala said of the mixed-use development in the heart of the city. "We don't know who'll pay" for parking.
You know if they are paying for parking in Rockville and Bethesda, we’ll be paying for it in Silver Spring at our new library. There’s another fight we can all look forward to.
Also, in brief...
- Don't miss the latest Handmade Mart this Sunday from 10-5 on The Promenade.
- Nicaro: You're fired.
- Could Fire Station 1 be open by Friday? The Washington City Paper's Young & Hungry blog says maybe.
- I finally tracked down this shirt after seeing it for sale years ago and regrettably not buying it:
For those of you that hate Virginia as much as I do, it can be purchased online here.