Sunday, October 23, 2016

MoCo Politico Provides Value

I haven't seen former county executive Doug Duncan says he was gamely passing our campus literature at Shady Grove Metro in the summer of 2014, but his Twitter feed is a must follow.  It's basically just him complaining about the Red Line and Metro in general.  To wit -
"Another rotten start to my day on Metro.
"Man beaten on Red Line last night during rush hour. Puts my litany of complaints in perspective. Hope he's doing better! "
and finally
"The Red Line is now officially the Dread Line to me. "
Anyway, according to his thoroughly detailed Wikipedia entry, "in February 2010, several Maryland politicians, including Kumar P. Barve and Christopher Van Hollen, expressed support for Duncan's becoming the Metro general manager, after John Catoe announced his resignation from the position, effective April 2010."

It looks as though someone missed his calling!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Perhaps Connie Chung Will Make an Appearance!

It's a shame that the activity causes brain damage, because Montgomery Blair's football team is now 6-0.  After beating Paint Branch for the first time in recorded history (seriously, people reported that it was the first time since at least 1974), they will play 6-0 Sherwood this Friday at Four Corners.

Maybe Blazer alum Ben Stein  (class of '62) will attend the game, perhaps with classmate Carl Bernstein.  He'll have plenty of time now that he's no longer shilling for Donald Trump, which he said that he did because Trump was a "force for change."  Also, the "fundamental decency" of George W. Bush was never in doubt, but the Obama administration represents "eight years of mess and lies and deceit."

Stein does recall that he was a speechwriter for the Nixon administration, doesn't he?

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

We Can Finally Get Rid of Piney Branch Pool!

The brilliant people in downtown Silver Spring, who know how to work productively with developers to produce a better community, may be getting a spiffy new aquatic and recreation center as part of a new mixed-used development -
"The aquatic and recreation center will feature a 25-meter long, 8-lane lap pool (half the size of an Olympic swimming pool), a multi-purpose therapy pool, a spa, fitness center, basketball court and locker rooms, according to Stacy Spann, executive director of the Montgomery County Housing Opportunity Commission (HOC), which is working with the Lee Development Group on the project. The county’s recreation department will operate the new center which will face a new, open-air central plaza. The center will span two buildings on the ground floor of the project.
In an email sent to Bethesda Beat Wednesday, Spann said the plan for the site is to create a multigenerational affordable living community that entices the general public to interact with its residents. Fifteen percent of the project’s units will be designated as moderately priced and 10 percent will be set aside for workforce housing, according to documents filed with the Montgomery County Planning Department."
That's great!  Among other things, we can finally jettison the Piney Branch pool, which is perpetually on the county's budget chopping list, thus allowing for expansion of an overcrowded elementary school.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Hey Now, That's Our Urban Blight You're Talking About There

The Takoma/Langley Sector is the famously ugly strip-mall-plex blighting the intersection of University and New Hampshire Avenues. The southern half of that intersection is in Takoma park’s Ward 6 (Montgomery County). The other half is in unincorporated Prince George’s County. PG County and Montgomery County together (sort of) are developing the area.
"Sort of" would appear to be the operative phrasing.  The Voice also said that the area was "await[ing] massive redevelopment."

Still waiting.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Aldi Effect

The Aldi down the street from me is set to expand, and it might mean big bucks for me, if only I lived in Great Britain.
"The opening of a new Aldi supermarket could boost the value of local homes by £5,000, research by My Home Move, a conveyancing firm, has found.
It found the "Aldi effect" is pushing up the price of homes in locations up and down Britain, where new Aldi stores are popping up.
The change represents a 2.5pc rise in value on the average UK home, from £216,450 three months before the opening of a store, to £222,052 three months afterwards.
Despite Aldi once being seen as a dowdy and downmarket grocery outlet, it is now the UK’s sixth largest supermarket chain and is widely viewed as a haven for middle-class bargain hunters.
Of the eleven new stores which opened between February and April, nearly all locations saw an increase in property values, with prices in Chipping Norton, the then the constituency of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, rocketing by 133pc."

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Wildwood Motor Speedway

I assume that the loud crashing sound that awoke me at 4:30 this morning, the almost immediate squeal of tires from a motorist leaving the scene, and the broken bumper, metal, and glass in front of a vehicle parked in front of my neighbor's house on Wildwood Drive are related.

I know that we're all supposed to be embracing the grid as a way to relieve traffic congestion, but unfortunately our neighborhood appears to have been laid out in the 1940s in a way that assumed that the streets would be used for quiet residential use AND that residents would drive everywhere and would want to get there as fast as possible.  As a result, we have wide residential streets that don't form a proper grid to go along with almost a dozen access points at New Hampshire Avenue, University Boulevard, and Carroll Avenue that encourage cut-through traffic at a high rate rate of speed.  Traffic calming efforts such as speed bumps and traffic circles don't seem to have much effect on those motorists who insist on driving over them at a full rate of speed and/or are intoxicated late at night.

Of course, the real solution is for people to embrace transit-oriented development and stop driving personal automobiles in our urban area, but that seems to be decades away at best.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Things Fall Apart

Sean Emerson of Around Four Corners provided some insight into the seemingly abandoned storefronts adjacent to New Hampshire Avenue in the shopping center surrounding our soon to open transit center.  It turns out that they were gutted by fire in July 2013.

More than three years later, the charred and decaying roof facade has finally been torn down, but the properties remain blocked off behind a chain link fence.

These types of conditions tend to contradict statements about how the Crossroads area is an economic powerhouse with high rents and occupancy rates.