ACT Opposes Teenage Curfew
Dear Council President Ervin:
The Action Committee for Transit urges the Council to reject the proposed teenage curfew and to actively pursue other means of ensuring that downtown Silver Spring is a safe and secure place that our entire community can enjoy. Part of the solution is better community policing, using officers on foot and bicycle at night as well as in the daytime.
We were quite disturbed to read the police department's explanation of the curfew in the Wednesday Washington Post. It is apparent that the curfew would be enforced against teenagers on foot or in public transit, but not in cars.
Not only is this discriminatory, but teenagers will drive to avoid the curfew. Putting rowdy teenagers on the roads late at night will certainly not make the county safer.
For that matter, teenagers in cars already cause far more deaths and injuries than teenagers on foot or in transit vehicles. We are so accustomed to the carnage caused by overdependence on the automobile that we frequently overlook it. A much greater gain in public safety would come from a curfew on teenage drivers than from the current curfew proposal. We are not recommending additional limits on teenage driving here, but we do ask that the police collect data on deaths and injuries from vehicular accidents involving teen drivers so that effective action can be taken in the future.
The traditional urban form of downtown Silver Spring is not an experiment that is at risk. Rather, it is part of the solution for the limitations and inherent risks of suburban design. The renaissance of our downtowns – not just Silver Spring, but also Bethesda, Rockville and soon White Flint and Wheaton – will fully succeed only when they are welcoming environments for everyone in the county. This requires strenuous efforts to ensure safety, but not a safety achieved by excluding one segment of the population.
Action Committee for Transit, Vice President