High cost of sprawl is too much to payIt seems that people...


March 14, 1997

High cost of sprawl is too much to pay

It seems that people are having difficulty putting a price tag on urban sprawl. Well, just think.

Do you have an extra car because you live too far from everything? That's $20,000 or so.

Did you sell your last house for less than you should have because the neighborhood is no longer as desirable as it once was? That's another $50,000 or so.

Your current house may not be protected from sprawl, either. That might be another $50,000.

Do you regularly get stuck in traffic because everybody else is driving too much, too? At an hour a day, that's 300 hours or maybe $6,000 per year.

Add millions here and there for new roads, new schools, new utilities and health care due to pollution. Then add a few more millions to bail out city schools and to pay for the welfare and prisons for folks left behind by sprawl.

Then there's the price we pay for selling out what was once the state of Maryland. At the present rate, sprawl will soon turn Maryland into something that will make New Jersey look like the Garden State.

If there is any question among legislators in Annapolis on Gov. Parris Glendening's Smart Growth bill, which would spend state development dollars more efficiently, the costs of sprawl should be their answer.

erald P. Neily


Protect Eastern Shore beauty and character

My late husband came to the Eastern Shore in 1937. I followed in 1972. We were attracted to the area not only by its beauty but by the character of the farmers, watermen, craftsmen, hunters, merchants and residents who made it home. We've seen their wonderful way of life threatened, because countless prime farms and important shoreline areas have been gobbled up by scattered housing developments since the advent of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Their livelihood is now in serious jeopardy as natural resources they depend on are shrinking steadily. It is virtually impossible for them and their children to continue the original Eastern Shore way of life.

Who cares? We all should. Because if suburban sprawl continues, the Eastern Shore will become less and less attractive to the visitors we depend on. Tourists -- combined with the XTC productive farms and open areas they come to see -- are the foundation of our current economy and a major future-income resource.

Suggestion: Let's enhance our natural visitor appeal by adding well-planned conference and recreation centers. They will provide employment, opportunity, stability . . . and a broader tax base. (Scattered housing not only detracts from our basic tourist appeal but it can cost more in government services than it generates in tax revenue.)

Gov. Parris Glendening's new Rural Legacy program -- proposed as part of the Smart Growth initiative -- will help regions like the Eastern Shore identify and protect prime farming areas and natural tourist attractions because of their importance to rural economies.

Nina Rodale Houghton


Driving a car takes concentration

The business section story March 2 concerning the extinction of stick-shift automobiles commented that driving one requires concentration and distracts the driver from using a cellular phone, eating breakfast or reading.

How can society condone such behavior? God forbid that we are forced to concentrate on our driving.

It is bad enough that you have to worry about some idiot behind you or in front who is not concentrating on driving.

I think people have forgotten that the automobile was invented for transportation and not for reading, talking on the cellular phone or applying make-up. Maybe these people should be using mass transit.

Driving a stick-shift requires a little more concentration and coordination than driving an automatic. That makes it necessary to do nothing else but drive.

It is just a matter of time before the automatic pilot mechanism is installed in every automobile.

Julia Dietz


Reader envies Clinton his "friends"

When it was suggested that President Clinton allowed people to spend the night in the White House solely because they were political donors, he replied, "The Lincoln Bedroom was never sold. They were my friends, and I was proud to have them here. I didn't have any strangers here."

I can't offer a historic bedroom to sleep in, but if one of the president's "friends" would like to donate $50,000 or more toward my daughter's college education, he can be my friend, too.

Saul D. Jacobs


Teaching children to inflict pain

The article on Junior Trapper Day (March 2), which was organized by Robert Colona of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources for the purpose of teaching children how to trap animals, made no mention of the actual mechanism of the leg-hold trap and how it catches and holds the animal by the leg, causing terrible pain and suffering to the animal until it is found by the trapper.

Surely, this part of the trapping process should be explained to these children by the DNR representative so they can get the full picture.

It was very sad and a bit frightening to see these young children actually holding this fearful trap in their hands and being taught by an adult to inflict such pain on another living being.

Mr. Colona said, ''Trapping shapes your values.'' Maybe he could use his time in more positive instruction in ecology that would teach children humane values and respect for all life.

Mary L. Pipkin


Pub Date: 3/14/97

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