“The county executive wants this library project to move forward. He also doesn’t want to create a roadblock to the Purple Line” Gary Stith, director of Silver Spring’s regional center, told the pedestrian safety committee Monday night. “We’re going to have to find a way to work around this.”
Early plans spread the library’s collection over two floors on the corner of Fenton and Bonifant streets, according to library manager Dan Beavin. If state planners choose a Bonifant Street route for the Purple Line, there could be a station through the library’s first floor.
Along with the Purple Line station, the library site could have up to 120 free parking spots, Beavin said. “That’s a lot in an urban center like this,” he admitted.
“A lot of people will be walking to this library, but not everybody,” Beavin said. “We have a lot of people who live in the suburban areas and need to drive.”
Some with the pedestrian safety committee objected to having that many free parking spots, though they did feel some parking was needed. “We have to get out of this car mentality, but we do need handicap parking,” one unidentified woman told the committee.
However, one downtown resident felt ample free parking was necessary. Felicia Eberling, who lives across Colesville Road from the current library, believed the Purple Line wasn’t expansive enough to transport library patrons from Silver Spring’s more suburban neighborhoods to the downtown area.
“This isn’t a city,” she told the committee. “This is a suburb that’s gone development crazy.”
Questions of the future library’s size also have been raised. According to a planning department study, Silver Spring’s new library will serve 87,000 patrons within about 40,000 square feet of space. That size is comparable to the new library in suburban Germantown, Beavin explained.
Compare that with the library in Rockville’s town center. That facility serves 53,000 patrons within 62,000 square feet of space. It also has 160,000 items circulating in its collection, Beavin explained.
The amount of reading material at Silver Spring’s library would be “way smaller than Wheaton, way smaller than Rockville,” Beavin admitted. Currently, the Silver Spring library has 100,000 items in circulation. That’s expected to grow to 125,000 once the new library is complete, Beavin said.
Image courtesy of MNCPPC.