Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Chevy Chase) this week is calling on the county’s Department of Transportation to make its plans for a new White Flint road network friendlier to pedestrians and cyclists.
After a meeting last week on the county’s 35 percent design plans for the Western Workaround, Berliner on Tuesday sent Department of Transportation Director Art Holmes a letter, according to Friends of White Flint.
In the letter, Berliner points out the section of Old Georgetown Road between Executive Boulevard and Rockville Pike as an area where he says the county’s designs are inconsistent with the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.
Regrettably, MCDOT’s 35% design drawings include no bike lanes and only a 13 foot shared use path/sidewalk as opposed to a sidewalk and a shared use path. The combined facility would not be wide enough to allow for the desired café seating in front of the adjacent properties, customers exiting and entering retail establishments, and safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists. These functions simply cannot coexist in a 13 foot span directly adjacent to retail structures. The shared use path should be ten feet wide according to ASHTA standards.
Adding to these concerns is the fact that this segment of Old Georgetown Road is also supposed to accommodate the Recreation Loop called for in the approved Sector Plan (p. 59). In the current design you shared at the meeting on Monday, there is no Recreation Loop. If it will not be possible to accommodate this element, important to many – if not all – residents involved in the WF Sector Plan process, then I am interested in hearing what options are being considered as an alternative route
Ohio-based Paladar Latin Kitchen & Rum Bar announced it will open its first D.C. area location on Aug. 16 at North Bethesda Market, where work continues on the space across the street from Whole Foods.
The 180-seat restaurant, with two patio seating areas, will take over the space at 11333 Woodglen Dr. To celebrate the opening, the restaurant is holding a ribbon cutting on Thursday, Aug. 15 at 6 p.m. followed by a special dinner and opening event to benefit the Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg.
The cost is $40 per person with all proceeds going to Manna. For more information or for reservations, contact Manna’s Mark Foraker at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paladar’s full menu will be available, with seafood, steaks, sandwiches, appetizers and deserts including Cuban Braised Beef Ropa Vieja, Blackened Fish Tacos, Plantain Crusted Crab Croquetas and three kinds of guacamole served with chips blended from plantain, yucca, malanga and tortilla.
The restaurant will also carry more than 50 rums, rum flights and tasting-size pours, as well as Mojitos, Caipirinhas and Margaritas.
It will be open for brunch on Saturday and Sunday, traditional happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week and a late night happy hour from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. The restaurant is planning two more locations for Tysons Corner and Gaithersburg later this year and early next year.
Photo via Google Maps
The company today announced Rockville-based digital research and design agency SPARK Experience will move to the building with a seven-year lease that starts on July 1. The company does user research, designs websites and puts together social media branding campaigns.
Also moving in will be Dr. Joel Adler and Assessment Associates, a psychology practice that has signed a six-year lease for a 1,300 square-foot office space.
The 11-story building offers a total of 52,000 square feet of space. The news comes on the heels of good news for Bethesda-based developer B.F. Saul’s office building at 7700 Old Georgetown Rd.
B.F. Saul recently inked 12 new companies to leases at its eight-floor, renovated office building, including Long & Foster Real Estate and the Major League Soccer Players Union. About 98 percent of the building was vacant after an anchor tenant moved out.
Despite an office market that pales in comparison to an ongoing residential boom, signs are pointing toward improvement.
Earlier this year, D.C.-based developer Akridge cut the ribbon on downtown Bethesda’s first new Class A office space since 2001. In November, County officials celebrated the groundbreaking for construction on a 220,000-square-foot Class A office building at 4500 East-West Highway, on the former site of a McDonald’s.
Construction-related disruptions in rapidly developing downtown Bethesda are nothing new, but Montgomery County and the developer of an apartment complex being built on Wisconsin Avenue are facing a particularly difficult situation.
The county is working to get a homeless man, known as Tom, to move away from the prominent spot where he stays and stores his belongings at 8300 Wisconsin Ave., where developer StonebridgeCarras is building a 359-unit apartment complex with a 50,000-square-foot Harris Teeter grocery store.
Tom stays on the sidewalk at the northeast corner of the property along some construction fencing, visible to all travelers into and out of downtown Bethesda.
Many are concerned for his safety. Construction crews will begin controlled explosions in July to blast through dense rock at the site. Those blasts and drilling work might occur as close as five feet to the sidewalk.
Montgomery County officials can’t commit Tom to a hospital for mental health evaluation unless it is proven he is a danger to the safety of himself or others, according to Ken Hartman, director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Bethesda Cares, the county’s homeless service provider for the area, has reached out and encouraged him to move.
If he doesn’t, Hartman said the county will have to figure out another way.
UPDATED 2:50 p.m. More than 136,000 spectators descended on Congressional Country Club during last year’s AT&T National golf tournament, even after no spectators were allowed on the course during third round play because of the derecho that hit the night before.
If tourney host Tiger Woods played as expected, it’s safe to say at least that many would show up over the course of the week. But on Wednesday afternoon, Woods announced on his website that he will sit out the tournament because of a left elbow strain:
“I was examined after I returned home from the U.S. Open, and the doctors determined I have a left elbow strain,” Woods said.
“I have been advised to take a few weeks off, rest and undergo treatment. I’ll be ready to go for the British Open, and I’m looking forward to playing at Muirfield. I would like to extend my regrets to AT&T, our sponsors and the fans in the Washington, D.C., area. The AT&T National means a lot to me and my foundation. It’s especially difficult not defending at my own tournament. It’s going to be a great event, and I look forward to being there to provide my support.”
It’s a big blow for the tournament, which Montgomery County says had a $10.9 million economic impact on the area. Woods won the event last year.
The event officially starts on Monday, June 24 with a club Pro-Am, followed by professional practice rounds on Tuesday and a tournament Pro-Am that are both open to spectators. The tournament will run from Thursday, June 27 to Sunday, June 30.
Here’s what you need to know if you plan on attending or if you live near Congressional, courtesy of Montgomery County and the AT&T National tournament:
Where Do I Park?
Drivers must use one of the official tournament parking and shuttle lots. There is no general admission parking available in the immediate vicinity of the golf course. If you’re feeling adventurous (and you’re early) nearby homeowners have been known to charge $10, $20 or more to allow drivers to park on their front lawns:
Rock Spring Lot (Blue Lot), 6720 Rockledge Dr., Bethesda (seven miles from Congressional at I-270 and Democracy Blvd.) This is the best location for those coming from Virginia and other areas south of Congressional Country Club. Operating: Tuesday, June 25-Friday, June 28, 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, June 29-Sunday, June 30, 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Single-day and weekly passes available. Single-day passes for Wednesday-Sunday are $15, weekly passes are $55.
Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St, Gaithersburg. Operating: Thursday and Friday only, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. A single-day pass (Thursday or Friday only) is $7. Cost includes one-day parking and shuttle pass from the Fairgrounds to Congressional Country Club (less than 15 miles). Get single-day pass for fairgrounds.
Shuttles will depart from both lots about every 15 minutes.
VIP Preferred Parking Lot F, 7727 Persimmon Tree Lane, adjacent to AT&T National main entrance, providing walking access to tournament. Operating: Tuesday, June 25-Friday, June 28: 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Single-day passes are available for specific days, ranging from $30 to $50, depending on the day of the week.
County transportation officials hope to start construction on a shallow tunnel crossing of Rockville Pike at Medical Center Metro by fall 2014 with a complete project by fall 2017.
Montgomery County Department of Transportation engineer Holger Serrano, his staff and consultants gave the latest on the $68 million, federally-funded job at a required public meeting on Tuesday in Bethesda. The county has issued a request for proposals for designers and builders and hopes to trim a list of candidates this fall before selecting a contractor next year.
The $68 million from two federal grants will build both the 80-foot long pedestrian tunnel crossing at the South Drive/Wood Road intersection with MD 355 and a bank of three high-speed elevators on the east side of the street that will allow commuters from the Walter Reed Military Medical campus to access the Metro station platform 120 feet below ground.
The goal is part safety — getting the Metrorail and Metrobus commuters off of the street-level crosswalk — and part traffic flow. About 3,000 people crossed the intersection daily before BRAC added Walter Reed to the National Naval Medical Center. Studies estimate about 7,000 people would cross by 2020 if not for the underground alternative.
Though the existing street-level crosswalk won’t go away, the pedestrian tunnel crossing underneath would ostensibly allow the State Highway Administration, which operates MD 355, to improve traffic flow through the notoriously clogged area.
That and an intersection improvement part of the project at Jones Bridge Road and MD 355 had a few Bethesda-Chevy Chase residents at the public meeting concerned about pedestrian safety.
Max Brenner Opening Delayed — A spokesperson said construction issues mean the chocolate shop and restaurant won’t be able to open as anticipated on June 22. An opening is planned for some time next week.
Drybar Celebrating Milestone Blowout With Giveaways, Deals — Drybar, the California-based blow dry only hair salon at 4840 Bethesda Ave., will give whoever is the 1,111,111th blowout free blowouts for life. It will also give free blowouts this week to anyone who buys $100 worth of products in the store on online. On Sunday, it’ll host a scavenger hunt by hiding coasters throughout Bethesda and posting clues on its Twitter account. Each coaster is good for a free blowout. [Drybar]
Montgomery Group To Talk Food-Related Economic Development — A meeting tonight of the Montgomery County Food Council will include a discussion of food-related job creation with panelists who have created job opportunities through farming programs and the food service industry. The meeting is set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library (21 Maryland Ave., Rockville.) [Montgomery County Food Council]
Bethesda Country Club Group Help In World’s Largest Swimming Lesson — A few dozen kids took part in Bethesda Country Club’s contribution to the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson, which took place across five continents on Tuesday. The event is meant to raise awareness and combat childhood drowning. Bethesda Country Club event organizer Laura Metro nearly lost her son in a pool accident two years ago. [ABC7]
Flickr photo by IamJomo
Bethesda Green is launching a program to survey and educate Bethesda’s roughly 200 restaurateurs about “greening” moves including installing LED lighting and switching to sustainable packaging for leftovers.
According to a report from the Environmental Protection Agency, about 80 percent of energy use in restaurants goes to waste because of inefficient kitchen appliances, lighting, HVAC systems and bathroom appliances. The environmental nonprofit hopes to connect some Bethesda restaurants with Pepco rebates for switching to LED light bulbs and provide guidance with other tips:
1. Separate and compost all food waste.
2. Recycle all paper, cardboard, plastic, glass and aluminum, and place ins in easily accessed locations.
3. Reduce energy usage through regular equipment maintenance, the reduction of appliance idling time and by switching to LED lighting.
4. Make the switch to sustainable packaging for leftovers and take-out orders.
5. Buy local! There are numerous farms all around the DC area, and fresher produce tastes better on the plate.
6. Reduce your water usage and your bill!
7. Give back, contact food banks and leftovers to those less fortunate.
8. Practice waste reduction across the board — write specials on a chalkboard, buy beverages in bulk, use refillable condiment containers.
9. Convert your used oil to biofuel.
10. Be green and clean — buy multipurpose supplies made with natural materials.
Video via Comcast Newsmakers
John Jabara’s Savenia Labs was one of the first companies in Bethesda Green’s incubator when it started in 2009.
Four years later, the company that provides energy ratings for popular appliances is offering a new service and is on the cusp of going nationwide.
The concept helped Savenia win Best Environmental/Energy Company at the recent Maryland Incubator Company of the Year awards. Jabara and his staff buy a batch of appliances or electronics, test how much electricity those products use at a lab at the University of Maryland and integrate that information with energy costs in different areas.
Savenia will also attach a carbon footprint rating to the appliance by incorporating how different areas produce the electricity being used to power different products.
For example: The company can take a coffee maker, gather market data such as how long people typically leave a pot of coffee on a hot plate, test the electricity output and determine that $25 product may cost a consumer $100 to use in the long run. Savenia then provides that information to retailers in the form of an energy rating label displayed on the store’s shelves.
“Winning the award is a great milestone as we go forward in the process of rating lots of new products,” said Jabara, a Bethesda resident. “We will basically identify the most popular products, buy those products ourselves without any manufacturer influence, come up with a user profile and see how much electricity it will use.”
Jabara’s first retail client was Stronsiders Hardware. His company now provides energy rating labels for products in Ace Hardware stores in Northern Virginia, D.C. and Baltimore.
Today, Savenia launched another service. After requests from large companies and universities looking for information on their own electric use, Jabara’s company will now provide subscription-based access to a datbase with its ratings and cost information on various appliances.
The goal is to one day offer the ratings label service nationwide in big box retailers, though Jabara said the company isn’t quite there yet. Savenia’s office is still in the Bethesda Green Incubator, above the Capitol One Bank on Cordell Avenue.
“Once you hit a certain point, you’re expected to move up and on,” Jabara said. “We’ll be there soon.”
Photo via Bethesda Green
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