SHED NO TEARS for the Cockeysville underpass....


SHED NO TEARS for the Cockeysville underpass. It cost $260,000 to build in 1930 and $8 million to get rid of it 60 years later. As an example of American roadway architecture, it was quite literally the pits -- ungainly, dark, damp, narrow and a community-splitter if there ever was one.

No wonder the Cockeysville Improvement Association, in august assembly at the old Colonial Inn, complained on March 14, 1930, that the underpass "put[s] part of the town in a pocket."

The CIA (the old one, not the post-war one) was appeased only when the State Roads Commission agreed to widen and straighten a bridge over Beaver Dam Run 100 yards north of the underpass.

Actually, there was a perfectly plausible reason for building the underpass. In those days, the Northern Central Railroad crossed the old York-Baltimore Turnpike, now known as York Road, at grade. The possibilities for mayhem were manifold. With traffic building up on that very rural two-lane road, something supposedly had to be done even if it did not exactly add to the cohesion of Cockeysville.

As for the $8 million "improvement" now taking place, its five-lane wide-ness will also tend to keep the eastern and western pockets of town far apart. But the aesthetics can't be worse.

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A FEMINIST reporter signals: "Berlin's famous Victory Column -- which commemorates Germany's 1864 war against Denmark, its 1866 campaign against Austria and its 1870-71 battles against the French -- came under attack in mid-January.

"A shadowy revolutionary group planted a bomb at the top of the monument, damaging its female figure of Winged Victory.

"The group said it had chosen to 'shake up' the memorial because 'it is a symbol that glorifies war and male violence.' "

We wonder whether anyone has studied the record of female rulers, such as Catherine the Great. Are they less prone to war and violence?

This clearly is an idea worth dollars galore in foundation grants.

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WILLIAM BENNETT, the man who thinks the Great Books are Republican, who made the job of education secretary a bully pulpit, who talked a tough line as drug policy chief and who didn't want to be chairman of the Republican National Committee without making real money on the side, has landed on his feet. Mr. Bennett will be a senior editor of National Review, the conservative magazine Bill Buckley built.

It's a case of the right man in the right job. It's where he always belonged. Government work was so constrictive. He's really one of us, an idea man with no boundary limits to his mind's wandering. Government work wastes such a talent.

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