- A pedestrian bridge would connect the Wayne Avenue garage to the library building's third floor. (Image: Courtesy of The Lukmire Partnership)
Sometimes you get to make your case twice. Such is the case for proponents of building a pedestrian bridge linking the new Silver Spring Library to a parking garage.
The anti-bridge camp opposes the bridge because they believe it's just poor design, cost-ineffective, or that it goes against smart-growth by encouraging driving rather than walking, which in turn negatively affects foot traffic needed by local small businesses. Improvements to the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street are really what is needed (perhaps a Barnes Dance redesign?), they say.
"If downtown Silver Spring, and the Fenton Village neighborhood in particular, is going to thrive, we need to do our best to create a lively and urban environment that will be safe for current residents of the downtown Silver Spring area and inviting to visitors," reads a letter sent by the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board to the county council last year. "Building a pedestrian skywalk over Wayne Avenue will likely do exactly the opposite – keeping people off the streets and limiting pedestrian traffic in and around Fenton Village."
The library will house a county disability resource center, so it's expected to attract a high number of disabled patrons. And so goes the pro-bridge argument: Yes, the intersection of Wayne Avenue and Fenton Street needs to be improved, but making the disabled park in a garage across the street makes the library much less accessible to them.
County Council President Valerie Ervin (D - Dist. 5) brought back the proposal to build the bridge after she initially voted against it because she thought handicapped parking spaces would be built closer to the site. But now we know that putting parking under the library would cost $3.5 million, and the library's design has already been scaled back to bring it within budget.
Silver Spring Patch quoted Ervin as saying, "Since no other solutions were developed to address this issue, I believe it is time for the council to reconsider constructing an elevated pedestrian walkway for the Silver Spring Library."
So, what do you think? A bridge could cost $800,000 to $1 million, but is it necessary, or should efforts be focused on improving the intersection? Cast your vote in our poll below: