I read with some sadness your recent article about growth. Having lived in the Bethesda area of Montgomery County, Md., before moving out to Orange County, I feel like I am having deja vu. When I was a teen-ager, the debate about growth/no growth and jobs/economy was in full swing. After all of the construction (or nearly all) and road improvements are in place, that section of Bethesda that you show is a complete disaster. To drive a distance of about 2 miles through Bethesda can take upward of 30 minutes.
The issue is not jobs or economy, because jobs will not be lost. Jobs may not be created as rapidly, but then the residents' life styles will be enhanced. The issue is how fast is the area to be developed. Do the citizens of Orange County want a five-year growth plan, or do they want a five-year growth plan spread as a 25-year growth plan? I believe that a slow-paced, longer time frame will allow for real planning. Preservation of open areas for future residents and maturing children to enjoy is more important then the enriching of already-wealthy developers.
The need for fast, efficient mass transit is absolutely imperative if any growth plan is to be successfully implemented. So far I have yet to hear a discussion involving light rail or other incentive-based public transit usage. Incentives to car-pool and relieve congestion on the roads will have to be seriously addressed. This area is going to suffocate itself otherwise from pollution and a destroyed environment. No one will want to live here, no matter how many jobs will be created.
BERNEARD ELMAN, II