ICC- Intercounty Conserver

The ICC opens tomorrow at 6:00am.  As a staunch environmentalist, I am thrilled that it’s opening and thrilled that it’s been built.

Some of my environmentalist friends were very much against it being built.  They were concerned about the construction of the road negatively impacting habitat and wildlife.

My long-time and very good friend, who happens to be on the PG County Council, would argue with me not only that the ICC would contaminate forests and streams, but that it would also add to sprawl- that when we build roads, more development along those roads naturally follows.

First of all, I think the ICC is close-in enough that it doesn’t qualify as sprawl.  I believe that development should be built as close-in as possible, consolidating businesses and residents, which makes for less travel to and from work, shopping, etc.  The ICC cuts through the heart of Montgomery County, where there is already a rather dense population- so I’m OK with it getting more dense.

Roads aren’t what create development, increased population creates development.  This area, country, and planet are only getting more populated.  New houses wouldn’t be added if the population wasn’t growing- and new buildings are built because there are more businesses to serve the increasing population.

Secondly, I think the ICC will save thousands, if not a million+, gallons of gas per year.  I cringe at traffic jams, as thousands of cars sit idling for sometimes hours, getting horrible mpg.  Cars that would normally travel 20 miles in 20 minutes at an average 25mpg probably burn at least twice the amount of fuel when in stop-n-go traffic.  Also, the more roads there are, the more direct routes there are, which decreases travel distances.

Nobody likes to see natural areas bulldozed- and it is bad for the environment to do so.  However, if this global warming thing plays out like 99% of scientists are saying it will, habitats and entire ecosystems are at risk and we must do everything we can do reduce carbon emissions.

Traffic jams are horrible for the environment (and horrible for the economy and people’s standard of living for that matter, considering all the time wasted).  I believe that in areas with dense populations such as Montgomery County- that in addition to more public transportation, we need more roads and roads with more lanes.

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11 Responses to ICC- Intercounty Conserver

  1. annita says:

    Well, i am not sure i entirely agree.
    To begin with, a Metro or even now, and express bus, would be a better long-term solution. We need to get people out of their individual cars, and on to bikes and public transport. In addition roads are impervious and create more run-off. This run-off tends to be contaminated with oils and gas and other trash, and it is going in to our streams, rivers and ultimately our Bay. The more natural surfaces we pave over, the less places for water to infiltrate and get cleansed. Building new roads, to encourage more driving, even if the distances are cut seems like a short term not long term solutions. We need better, cleaner, more efficient, more affordable Public Transport.
    Secondly, i am not sure how i feel about Carbon credits. Although it is probably a decent beginning, it sort of reminds me “confession”. You sin, go to confession, say a few prayers and all is well. We should not be sinning in the first place. I think Carbon credits can encourage unsustainable behavior. I am sure that if someone can afford a Ferrari, they can afford the speeding ticket and they will probably speed a lot, because “fast” is the purpose of the car.
    We humans need to change the way we think and the way we do things, not be looking for absolution.

    • Scott says:

      Annita- thanks for the great reply. I agree 100% that we need “better, cleaner, more efficient, more affordable Public Transport.” More cars and more roads are not the long-term solution to our problems. We need more radical, systemic changes- but that will take years / decades.

      Regarding carbon credits- in addition to effectively diminishing the use of dirty energy, they serve as a subsidy supporting clean energy technologies, ensuring that clean energy instead of dirty energy is purchased by those companies who own/run the power grid. Without our support, clean energy would not be viable on the open market. Because of the early adopters who have purchased carbon credits, clean energy is already coming down in price and becoming more viable as a mainstream energy source.

      People have cars. Oil and coal is not going to go away quickly. The best way for individuals to make change is to vote for environmentalists and financially support clean energy and technologies.

      An analogy: I drive a hybrid car, but already I wish I had an electric car. But I was one of the first to buy a hybrid, which helped pave the way for electric cars.

      While driving an electric car is better for the environment than driving a hybrid, it will take time for the opportunity to arise for me to buy an electric car (I’m waiting or my lease to expire). While my hybrid pollutes more than an electric car, it doesn’t make me less of an environmentalist than the person driving the electric car. Same can be said for riding a bike, for example. Riding a bike is better than driving an electric car, but people might have to wait for the opportunity to sell house or change jobs.

      I think buying carbon credits is like “driving a hybrid.” Installing solar panels, riding a bike, etc. is obviously more desirable, but all we can do is make progress at every opportunity- since opportunities sometimes take time, it is a gradual process.

      Purchasing carbon credits are currently many people’s best opportunity to protect and restore the environment.

  2. Jack Arnold says:

    Two comments. First, my son and grandsons live close to NW Branch and the ICC. One of the things they liked to do was go down to the beaver dam on the river. That beaver dam, and numerous acres of wetlands were destroyed in the building of the ICC.
    Second, think Purple Line. Much more efficient in every way.

    • Scott says:

      Jack- My concerns lie with the bigger picture of climate change. Rising ocean levels for example, one of many potential consequences of climate change, alone could decimate millions of wetlands.

      I am a big proponent of the Purple Line and have supported financially.

  3. Gertie says:

    I drive from Clarksville to Bethesda every day. It was taking me about an hour. Now that the ICC is open, it is taking between an hour and a half and two hours each way. Traffic on Layhill Rd and on Georgia Avenue is much worse because of the new traffic lights and the increased traffic due to people not reading the signs and not knowing which lane to be in. I am definately using more gass just sitting in traffic; not what the ICC should be doing.

  4. John Tomlin says:

    Scott, I love your stores but I disagree with you on the ICC. I won’t repeat the issues raised by others, but I will point out that the construction of this road has literally bankrupted the Maryland Highway Construction Fund. Experts have noted that it will be ten or more years before there will be enough money in the fund to take on any other major road project in the state. Former Governor Glendening should have gotten rid of the land acquired for the ICC so former Governor Ehrlich wouldn’t have been able to resurrect the road. The ICC is a road to benefit the 1%, not the rest of us.

    • Scott says:

      Hi John! [John and his wife were one of my first dozen or so customers back in the late 1980’s. I used to make deliveries to their house in the wee hours of the morning.]

      • John Tomlin says:

        Hi to you too, Scott! We continue to be loyal customers and are looking forward to the new Rockville store. Hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

        P.S. How about looking into an organic orange juice a little less pricey than “Uncle Matt’s”?

  5. Bill Samuel says:

    Gertie – Yes, that’s a problem. Layhill Road, which previously was a nice country road easy to travel, has been made into a bottleneck. They added 2 new traffic lights. I took Layhill just before the ICC opened, and got caught at the lights. They are extremely long, and only about 10 seconds of the cycle are allocated to Layhill Road traffic. They are trying to force people to use an expensive road by using traffic lights to deliberately bottleneck traffic on old routes.

  6. Tina Rhea says:

    Contee and Virginia Manor Roads, among others south of Laurel, are scheduled to be re-routed and broadened to four lanes plus median to hold the traffic expected when the ICC is extended to Route 1 in a few years. More forest and stream destruction and more local traffic. The Greenbelt City Council was unanimous in opposing the ICC.

  7. Scott says:

    I have received a bit of an education about this issue from my well-informed customers. Thank you. I still do not entirely agree with some of the comments, but agree with many points made.

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