Route 1 improvement is a bigger task than marchers realize

I couldn’t agree more with Emily Guskin’s Oct. 25 column, “A march to rebuild Route 1.” The “gateway” thoroughfare to our fair university is a disgrace. There is a contest, really, between ugly and dangerous as the best descriptive adjective for Route 1 as it passes through College Park. I’d say it should end in a tie.

But her column left me wondering just what it is she is proposing. What does taking a Saturday morning walk up Route 1 from the campus to Cherry Hill Road have to do with such a tremendous and tremendously difficult goal?

As I see it, in order to achieve the goal of a safe, attractive, tree-lined and biker- and pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare from the Capital Beltway to the campus, scores of businesses need to be closed and significant amounts of commercial retail property purchased (willingly or not from the owners) by the state. Only then could a wholesale widening and reconstruction of the roadway occur.

Sure, I’d be quite happy to see this happen, but short of a tornado tearing down Route 1, it would be a monumental task. I’m guessing it is well beyond the ability of university officials to demand of the state. At best, it will occur piecemeal over many years.

So I ask again, water stations and cheering citizens lining the roadway aside, how is this complete makeover of Route 1 in College Park to occur?

Richard M. Todaro

Graduate student

Public policy

Fan rivalry is part of the sports experience

Lately, there have been a number of letters and articles in the opinion section regarding poor behavior from our student section. I would like to defend our student section, for once.

I was at the Virginia Tech game the other day, and I was standing very close to a group of students decked out in maroon and orange, presumably from Va. Tech. During the game, my friends and I had some verbal exchanges with them about how they didn’t belong in our student section and they should go back to Blacksburg, Va. We may not have said it as politely as that, but you get the idea. I am willing to bet those students did not leave the stadium feeling they were treated unfairly or faulting our university for allowing such behavior. One of these students even shook my hand after a funny comment one of us had made about Vick completing a lot of passes to our secondary.

As students, we should make it our responsibility to harass opposing fans in OUR student section. More than likely, the reason they are sitting there in the first place is to stir up some action and have some fun arguing with us during the game. At least, that’s why three of my friends and I entered the “Mountaineer Maniac” section at West Virginia University’s Milan Puskar Stadium last fall, fully aware we were entering enemy territory and would not be pleasantly welcomed.

People are not always going to get along when they cheer for different teams; that is the nature of sports. That is also part of what makes the experience so fun. The energy and compassion our team displays on the field helps get the crowd riled up, and vice versa. When D’Qwell Jackson tackles someone for a five-yard loss, I don’t think he helps them up and says, “I’m sorry. I hope you’re OK. That was a good try.”

I am not saying it is OK to punch Va. Tech fans in the face if they try to sit in our student section. I am not saying it is OK to spit on them and pull out every curse word in the book and scream it in their ears. All I’m saying is we should not be expected to roll out the red carpet for fans of the opposing team and be perfectly friendly and respectful. It’s a football game, not a knitting circle. Give them a hard time, they asked for it. Go Terps, baby.

Michael O’Rourke


Biology and criminology and criminal justice