Wednesday, Aug. 29, 2007

Trees more satisfying than asphalt

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I commend R.L Hails Sr. on his first point (‘‘We keep paying but nothing gets fixed,” Aug. 22 letter), which seems to be that Minnesota frivolously chose a new stadium over bridge safety. After that, however, his reasoning falls apart.

He laments that the Intercounty Connector was not built years ago when construction would have been less costly. The ICC was not built because the repeated environmental studies kept concluding that it was a disastrous idea, and politicians accepted science.

Concentric beltways around Washington, including the piece we call the ICC, were an idea of the region’s youth. We have now matured and most of us realize that green space, trees, natural streams, parks and walkable communities linked by effective transit produce a much more satisfying living arrangement than neighborhoods and parks bisected by highways, not to mention one that can help us avoid the worst global warming scenarios.

Ponder this also: Had the ICC been built 50 years ago, its many stream valley bridges and road overpasses, as well as its 18 miles of 10-lane surface, would now be adding to Maryland’s significant burden of road infrastructure upkeep.

Don’t spoil your poignant criticism of Minnesota’s priorities by touting such a budget-busting, counterproductive project as the ICC.

Anne Ambler, Silver Spring