Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Carry-Out Chinese

On Tuesday we had the kitchen floors re-done, so we decided to order food for dinner. We didn't want pizza, and most of the delivery-Chinese around here isn't very good. No, in order to get good Chinese food in Silver Spring, you must go to Oriental East - in Blair Plaza. They don't deliver. That means crossing Georgia Avenue.

Kids both had tons of homework. Wife had a long day at work. So, I decided to try it by myself - I'll walk to Oriental East at night, alone.

I decided to walk across the railroad bridge over Georgia Avenue. At Fenton, I crossed west and took a left, choosing not to walk down Sligo, because you often have to walk in the street against oncoming traffic.Lights in your eyes. You would never see it coming. Gist is not busy, and it comes out right across from the bridgehead. Never mind that you have to walk in the grass a little.

The bridge itself actually affords a nice view of Silver Spring - especially at night.

I could imagine this being a preferred place to cross, if the infrastructure were improved. It is a very dark place. Some of the lighting is out.Kind of scary.The tunnel, however, is not scary anymore. When the kids were little they called this the "Pee-Pee Tunnel."

Now it is lighted, looked-after, and decorated. There is still graffiti, but tghe overall experience is nice.

I cut through what used to be Blair Mill Road., past the Veridian, and down East-West Highway. Past Discovery Studios and Acorn Park. I press the button and stand at the crosswalk just past Blair Mill Rd. Dark again. This is a pitiful crosswalk for the number it serves.Dark, dirty, dingy, and under-marked. I am worried about getting across safely. I take my time. This is my greatest frustration and fear - getting across a busy street with no help. Where is a Boy Scout when you need one?

Needlessness, I make it, but I have to cross immediately again because the construction site there IS STILL BLOCKING THE ROW. WHY??? I have to walk down almost in front of Blair Plaza Apartments to cross, only to cross again to get to Giant. This is very confusing - especially in the dark. Cars don't bother stopping.

The front of the Giant is one of the poorest-designed places in town. Many people walk there or past there - , but the sidewalk is less than three-fee-wide. You have to turn sideways when passing an oncoming pedestrian. Forget any kind of cart here. We lived in Blair Plaza for three years, so I know this place and how to get around. Otherwise, it would be a little sketchy, I think.

On the way back, I walked up East-West Highway to Georgia Avenue. The sidewalks south of Discovery Studios are horrendous. WHAT IS SHA DOING???These conditions have existed for years. Is there some special circumstance that prevents SHA from fixing this? I know they are aware of it. The sidewalks are broken, patched with uneven asphalt, muddy, and full of trip hazards. They lead to one of the most dangerous intersection in Montgomery County - Georgia and East-West Highway.

Frightening five-point intersection. Worn-out crosswalk markings. DARK. HUGE crossing distances and short cycles. It reminds me of Frogger.My guess is that SHA just doesn't think anyone walks here - especially at night. It's all about the car.

I decide not to brave a crossing here. I love life too much. Instead, I go back down under the tunnel, and cross at Sligo Avenue. Not in good shape either, but at least I know my way there. I know how to grab the wires and swing around.

I leave right after I call, and when I get there the food is ready. When I get home the food is still hot.The whole trip took about 40 minutes. Barely broke a sweat on this rather warm night. Would be easier and safer if the Metropolitan Branch Trail were in Place. Phase One will make this kind of trip fun. I will root for this project more later...

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