Friday, August 27, 2010

Speak Up

Last week I wrote Councilmember Valerie Ervin and asked for a meeting to talk about pedestrians issues in Silver Spring and across Montgomery County. We're going to meet in mid-September - shortly after the Primary.

I have three things I want to talk about; the County's (non-)compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act in Rights-of-way,, enforcement of laws to protect pedestrians and keep infrastructure unobstructed, and Complete Streets.

In preparation for this meeting, I would really appreciate hearing your impressions, ideas, or stories about your experiences on Silver Spring sidewalks.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Selective Enforcement

The intersection of Georgia Avenue and Bonifant is a dangerous place for pedestrians. When traffic backs-up, drivers are caught in the intersection - several bloanking the crosswalk. The confusion in the traffic pattern here is evident.

This car is parked for maximum visability to potential customers- I get it. It's also blocking the sidealk. This is the Greyhound Terminal again. This is not the first time I've seen this car like this, It's only a block from the Police Station. Officers drive by this car all day. If this person parked the car in Sligo Avnue, the police would notice and ask that it be moved. It's important to keep the road surface open, but pedestrians don't rate receiving protection from law enforcement.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Loose Change

this afternoon Rachel and I took a year's worth of loose change to the coin counter at Chevy Chase bank on Georgia at Cameron. On the way home we ran into this work crew on Sligo Avenue near Georgia Avenue. They were using jack hammers on the street, and were standing on the sidewalk. Ordinarily, I would switch to the other side of the street at this point. The problem is that the other side is blocked as well - AS USUAL.

Cars parked at several auto shops here block the sidewalk. Men were working on these two vehicles on the sidewalk. Rachel suggested that we go over to Gist, but that is just as bad.

We also walked by the gaping hole in the sidewalk near our home. The recent rains have increased the size of this hole, It's at least 2-feet deep.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Crazy Weekend

I spent a lot of time out and about this weekend. We shopped the Fresh Farm Farmers' Market, had dinner at union Station, and went to Rockville via Metro to look for computer parts. I noticed that drivers were particularly impatient this weekend. People were taking more risks than usual in response to backed-up traffic and general driving annoyances. It seemed that everywhere I went there were drivers speeding, running lights, honking their horns, and generally pushing limits.

Here are a few of the situations I came across on the sideways this weekend.
This truck was parked across the sidewalk on Easley Street near Fenton - at the Shell Station. I walked by this location several times over a few hours and it was not parked here temporarily. I saw pedestrians walking in the stret to get past this location.
A Crossing Guard on duty near the Silver Spring Metro on Friday evening. These Crossing Guards do a great job, and really keep things afe at these busy intersections.

The Greyhound Terminal on Sligo Avenue. Several times a day cars are parked over the sidewalk here.
Wire from a chain link fence at the corner of Sligo Avenue and Mayor Lane is a dangerous trip hazard. It's been like this for a long time, but it's getting worse.
Once again, the passage in front of the Fire Station One restaurant is blocked. You can't go to the outside because A firetruck is blocking the way. On the inside, seating stacked chair are stored in the way. A person in a wheelchair could not get by unless someone offered to help move these heavy wrought-iron seats out of the way. What gives this restaurant the right to do this???
The intersection of Silver Spring and Georgia Avenues. Again, at the location of Fire Station One. A car pulled into the crosswalk. ( Taken after I crossed - I just missed getting the cross signal white.) Notice the Fire Truck parked to the edge of Georgia Avenue.

Pedestrians walking around several cars stopped in the crosswalk at Wayne and Georgia Avenues.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Yesterday we headed to Safeway in the afternoon, and I stopped to take photos of the ever-widening hole forming around one of the pole-tandems on our street. We ran into our neighbors on their way out, and I got an earful about these poles. The law of unintended consequences is clearly at work here, I thought. I tried to do something good by demanding that these poles be replaced according to modern standards - and the law. What happened as a result made me feel a little guilty, standing there listening to her.

(photo from 2005)

These sidewalks have had problems almost continually since I have lived here - 13 years. No matter what I do, MCDOT can't seem to get this worked out. It is almost like being pubished for asking for help in the first place. I ask them to fix the poles - they make them worse. I ask again - they hold an event right next to the crazy double-pole thing, and no one says a word. The County Executive speaks while standing RIGHT NEXT to the poles and doesn't notice. All the cameras are on HIM. The focus is on what is happening in the street. The poles are completely ignored. Five months later, and the poles are still here. MCDOT might as well give me the finger.

Hundreds of people walk down Sligo Avenue everyday. Some , because they want to - others, because they must. The street is dotted with apartment buildings, and the Ride-on bus is busy here. Drivers and Bicyclists have few problems, because the road surface is FABULOUS. The sidewalks are second-class. Industry and government turning their backs on those who don't OWN.

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map