Friday, August 26, 2011

Tiger Pit II

Last month a PEPCO contractor "finished" the job on Sligo Avenue. They left this hole in the sidewalk, at the site of a water meter. The hole is a couple of inches below the surface of the sidewalk, and is neatly hidden in the shadow produced by the street light and the utility pole. Here's a look at what this means at night...

This location is a manufacture accident waiting to happen. Will it be a large enough accident to show-up on County stat? Probably not, but the victim will still have to deal with an injury caused by a contractor who has no idea what they are doing.

Walk & Ride

Thursday, August 25, 2011

(No) Turn on Red

Walking back from downtown today I decided to stop at the intersection of Thayer Avenue and Georgia Avenue and take some video. My subject was the cars that routinely pull-out across the crosswalks, trying to sneak-out into Georgia Avenue -- which is almost impossible at this busy time of day (1:30 PM). AND - these intersections are NTOR.

I figured I wouldn't have to stand there long to get something indicative of the usual driver behavior at this intersection, and I was right. I was only there for a few moments before I caught this one.

These nice new intersections and curb cuts don't solve this persistent problem. It's going to take some enforcement to solve this. The same problem exists at Georgia x Bonifant and Georgia x Silver Spring.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sligo side-step

This video is from 2009. Not much has changed in two years...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


These photos were taken this morning on Sligo Avenue. I was on my way from downtown when i came acros this construction sign - doing an ineffective job of warning drivers that work is being done at the corner of Georgia and Sligo. They placed this sign directly across the sidewalk , making passage difficult - especially for anyone with a guide dog, a wheelchair, or a stroller.

When combined with the fact that auto-repair shops on the other side of Sligo have parked vehicles that they are working on over the sidewalk, Sligo suddenly becomes inaccessible to many people with disabilities. Want to get to Georgia Avenue? You will have to take Gist Avenue. Oh, wait, there are probably cars parked across the sidewalks there, too.

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

Sligo Avenue is a busy street during the day, and is a particularly BAD place to be walking in the street.

One seemingly-insignificant thoughtless action can combine with others to create a dangerous situation.

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


State law requires that all transportation projects consider pedestrian access in ALL PHASES of design and construction. While it is clear that SHA has given a lot of thought to the design of new curb cuts it is installing along the east side of Georgia Avenue, it is just as clear that they have thought very little about pedestrians during the construction phase.

I don't know when this particular corner first went out of service, but i first noted it photographically on July 30 - almost two weeks ago. Today, they began pouring concrete.

I am certain that it was blocked for some time before then, as have many of the corners on this side of Georgia Avenue between Sligo Ave. and Colesville Rd. This entire stretch has been blocked in some form or another for months. I hope this is the last hurrah for this project - at least on this side of Georgia Ave.

I know that these new curbs cuts are difficult, and that they will take time, no matter how you schedule the work. But,... Is that it? We are just going to accept this because it is too difficult to resolve?

The truth is, SHA and MCDOT could do better. MC Department of Permitting Services could do better, too. In Silver Spring, conditions for pedestrian during construction are horrendous and sometimes terrifying. Pedestrians are well-served in the design phase, but are marginalized or ignored during construction -- and "It can'nt be helped" is often the response to concerns. No one would allow this kind of behavior if we were talking about the roadway. it would be unthinkable to block two lanes of Georgia Avenue for the entire Summer. How can we then accept the equivalent for pedestrians in pedestrian-rich Silver Spring? Are pedestrians as important to Silver Spring as vehicles, or not?

SHA, MCDOT, and MCDPS should shorten the time it takes to finish these projects. It can be done if it is made a priority - and the General Assembly already did that. They should provide temporary pedestrian facilities in locations that will be closed for extended period (and especially in high-traffic areas or places that have unique dangers.). This can and MUST be done to protect the public safety.

A sign is not enough.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Parking Lessons

This afternoon I took my daughter and one of her friends to Fire Statio One for lunch. As is often the case, people have parked vehicles across the sidewalk in front of the Aamoco shop and Pacci's restaurant. Even the most oblivious person should understand that these sre not appropriate places to park a car. I have spoken to a manager at Pacci's about this, but i suppose I am just a local weirdo to them.

Usually, I just walk past - having taken so many photos of this practice at this location that it harldy seems worth it anymore. How do I get these people to park these vehicles properly? Do I call the police? Do I go into the establishment and confront the owner? Do I offer to find them parking lesson?

The vehicles in these photos are parked such that there is not enough clearance for a person in a wheelchair to pass. The lip of what are/were driveways make negotiating these locations tricky. They are definite trip hazards.

SHA just redesigned and poured new concrete at this location, but the old driveway in front of Pacci's should be removed so that people don't park there ad block the sidewalk. The Aamoco station needs to park their vehicles in a way that doesn't block the new sidewalk. I have complained, but this just seems to be a situation we can all ignore...

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

View Montgomery Sideways in a larger map

Monday, August 1, 2011

Not quite

Last week I received a copy of a letter from MCDOT to the Federal Haighway Admiistration concerning a complaint I filed in March, 2010. In the letter, MCDOT Director Arthur Holmes informs FHWA that the situation has been resolved and that MCDOT has made the changes needed to ensure that everyone is following the law when it comes to replacing utility poles.

I have been gratified by MCDOT's eagerness to address the problem, but I am afraid Mr. Holmes' claims of resolution are not quite true.

This photo was taken today, and shows that this panel is full of dirt, not concrete.

This photo shows one of the old poles along Sligo Avenue, still in place.

This photo shows that the concrete contractors left this water main access 2-3 inches below the surface of the sidewalk - a perfect size and location to trip someone and cause an injury.

I find it difficult to believe that anyone from MCDOT inspected this project before it was considered "finished." Unfortunately, I don't believe their other claim that the procedures have been worked-out to avoid this in the future, either.

I am usually happy when I get 80% of what I ask for from MCDOT. Still, this is a pretty significant 20%, here - and it remains true that the problems with Sligo Avenue sidewalks are not resolved - not quite. I don't believe that the working relationship between PEPCO and MCDOT as it concerns ROW has not been resolved yet, either.