Montgomery County Council

News Release

June 2, 2000

A Letter to the Editor of the Gazette by Councilmember Phil Andrews
The Tragic Accident on Muncaster Mill Road

June 2, 2000

Letters to the Editor
Georgia MacDonald, Commentary Editor
Gazette Newspapers
1200 Quince Orchard Boulevard
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Dear Editor:

In using the tragic accident on Muncaster Mill Road as justification for building the Intercounty Connector (A Deadly Decision, May 24), the Gazette chose to promote its own political agenda in reckless disregard of the following facts:

Fact one: As long as schools, homes, and businesses are located on Muncaster Mill Road, school buses and trucks, including landscaping trucks, will continue to travel that road. The ICC won’t change that.

Fact two: Contrary to your editorial, under no circumstances would the bus involved in the accident have used the ICC, given the location of Mill Creek Towne Elementary School in Derwood, the home school of the students on the bus, and the location of the holding school (the North Lake Center) west of Muncaster Mill Road in Flower Valley off Norbeck Road.

Fact three: The Maryland Department of Transportation’s own study shows that the ICC would worsen congestion at the two major intersections closest to Mill Creek Towne Elementary School. Those intersections are Muncaster Mill Road at Shady Grove Road, and Midcounty Highway at Shady Grove Road.

Fact four: ICC opponents don’t consider Muncaster Mill Road as it exists today as an alternative to the ICC. Many, including me, favor straightening the road and widening it to four lanes. In fact, the County Council voted last fall to request that the Planning Board evaluate this idea.

Fact five: The Gazette ignores the reality that fatalities on any road are always possible, and that the overwhelming majority of accidents are caused by bad driving and/or poor vehicle maintenance.

Fact six: What has kept the ICC from being built is not political cowardice, but the severe and irreparable environmental harm it would cause as determined by federal agencies in the Reagan, Bush, and Clinton Administrations – conclusions supported by responsible political leaders at the state and county level.

If the Gazette hopes to retain its credibility, it better respect the facts in its editorials and cease exploiting a tragedy for political purposes.


Phil Andrews
Chair, Public Safety Committee

Patrick Lacefield, (240) 777-7939