by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 3:30 pm 1 Comment


If the Purple Line light rail is built, the Bethesda station must include a 92-foot high fan tower that the Maryland Transit Administration is proposing for the open area near the Bethesda Row Cinema and Capital Crescent Trail tunnel.

The ventilation tower would be used in the case of a fire emergency inside the tunnel, where the Bethesda station would be built. MTA would build a second ventilation tower on the east side of the tunnel.

On Thursday, during a Purple Line briefing at the Montgomery County Planning Board, Planning Staff and MTA officials discussed options for making that fan tower compatible with the upscale retail that would surround it.

Staff and Purple Line project manager Mike Madden suggested a variety of tactics, architectural treatments including making it into a clock tower, a glass structure or incorporating it into the coming development around it.

“We do have a concept of what it could be,” Madden said.

Future development includes building higher at 7200 Woodmont Avenue and a Federal Realty project on the north side of the tunnel. The station, which MTA projects would be one of the 16-mile light rail system’s busiest with 15,000 daily riders, will include access and a connection to the Bethesda Metro platform at Elm Street and Wisconsin Avenue.

Renderings via Montgomery County Planning Department

by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 2:54 pm 0

UPDATE: 3:08 p.m. A motorcycle accident on the northbound side of the American Legion Bridge is causing delays this afternoon.

The Maryland State Highway Administration says all lanes will be closed in each direction so a Medevac helicopter can land and pick up the victim. All lanes of the outer loop will open after the helicopter leaves.

One lane of traffic on the inner loop right hand shoulder was getting by as Fairfax and Montgomery County rescue officials respond.

Photo via TrafficLand.com

by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 1:30 pm 0

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service has the largest recruit class in its history and not enough vehicles to train it with, according to an announcement today.

MCFRS uses the vehicles to teach recruits and fire fighters how to respond to car collisions, which result in more than 600 fatalities a year throughout Maryland. So it’s asking for residents to consider donating old cars, tax deductible up to the Kelley Blue Book value. MCFRS can provide towing to its Public Service Training Academy in Rockville for free.

For more information or if you’re interested in donating, contact the Public Service Training Academy at 301-279-1834. Make sure to have a clear title on the car if you donate.

Image via MCFRS

by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 12:30 pm 0

March is truly coming in like a lion, at least in terms of Bethesda’s business climate.

Four openings of unique Bethesda shops or venues are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, including the opening of the relocated and much-beloved Bruce Variety store and the opening night for the highly anticipated Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club.

Then, there’s the grand opening celebration planned for Friday for Bethesda Scooters & Boards, the eclectic shop from Bethesda resident Kaare Wieneke that will move across Woodmont Triangle after a pop-up shop trial run last summer.

Co-owner Wieneke and his “Chris Sacks Band” will be playing and the store (4825 Fairmont Ave.) will be filled with scooters, skateboards, stand-up paddle boards, customized Bethesda t-shirts and a large variety of other items.

Also reopening is Jason McCarther, the owner of the former Box Bar sports bar who sold, then re-bought the place at 7525 Old Georgetown Rd. after the short-lived Dry Fried Wing Bar and Grille fizzled out. McCarther plans to open Roc Bar Live, a live music version of his Roc Bar nightclub in D.C., on Saturday with rock artist and Rockville native Mike Westcott.

Nearby, the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) will be hosting its second night of live music with local jazz pianist and keyboardist Marcus Johnson. Friday’s opening night performance in the revamped Bethesda Theatre features New Orleans trumpeter and bandleader Irvin Mayfield.

Also on Friday, Bruce Variety will return.

In December, owners of the crafts store known for its odd and hard-to-find items said they could no longer afford the rent at its location of 60 years in the Bradley Shopping Center. That announcement shocked and saddened many, some who even signed a petition asking Shopping Center owners to lower the store’s rent.

But soon after Bruce Variety closed on Arlington Road, it found a new home in the old home of Creative Parties Ltd., in the blue and green house at 8011 Woodmont Ave. It signed a lease there in January.


by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 11:45 am 0

UPDATE 4:14 p.m. An animal rights group today released information and started a petition about a deer in Wheaton near Brookside Gardens that it says survived a bullet to the face during a Montgomery Parks deer hunt. The group has started an effort to get Montgomery Parks to stop its deer management program.

ORIGINAL STORY Montgomery County’s Deer Management Program has allowed for the killing of more than 5,500 deer in each of the last several hunting seasons, yet the number of reported deer-vehicle collisions and probable cases of Lyme disease have remained steady.

In a meeting of the County Council’s Public Safety Committee on Thursday morning, Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner and government officials discussed potential steps to curbing the number of incidents typically associated with a large deer population.

Much of the discussion revolved around legislation in the General Assembly that would allow bow hunters to hunt up to 50 yards from homes instead of the current 150-yard regulation. Rob Gibbs, who runs the county’s deer management program with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, said that legislation wouldn’t effect his program much. Park and Planning uses Park Police sharpshooters.

Those sharpshooters recently finished a deer kill in a Chevy Chase section of Rock Creek Park in which Gibbs said they killed 30 deer. Montgomery Parks estimated the deer population in the area was three times the recommended density, which it said led to damage to natural resources, deer-related car accidents and the increased potential of Lyme disease.

“The program in Rock Creek went like clockwork,” Gibbs said. “We’re very pleased with how well it went, particularly the interaction with the public. We didn’t receive any calls.”


by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 10:30 am 0

The Town of Chevy Chase will be the only section of the planned 16-mile Purple Line light rail that includes noise walls, a fact transportation planners emphasized on Wednesday in an attempt to quell noise concerns from residents.

It’s unclear if it worked.

After a roughly hour-long presentation that delved into the science of federal transportation noise requirements and included various soundbites of what a passing Purple Line train car might sound like, some at the meeting held in the Town of Chevy Chase’s Town Hall remained skeptical.

A few residents with houses backing up to or near where the Purple Line would run said readings of existing ambient noise levels (which provide a baseline for how much noise can be added via a train) were inaccurate. One asked Purple Line project manager Mike Madden if any more noise mitigation measures would be added, or if she should start looking at moving away.


by Aaron Kraut — February 28, 2013 at 9:00 am 0

Post Fitness Columnist: Capital Crescent Trail With Purple Line Wouldn’t Be The Same — Washington Post fitness columnist Lenny Bernstein praises the Capital Crescent Trail as a unique running and cycling route for such an urban area, one that he feels wouldn’t be as attractive if reduced to a 12-foot-wide paved path alongside the planned Purple Line light rail. [Washington Post]

State Public Service Commission Orders Utilities To Improve Reliability — The Maryland Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities such as the oft-criticized Pepco electric company, on Wednesday issued an order for utilities to come up with a reliability improvement plan by May 31, among other improvements. [The Gazette]

Reminder: Willard Avenue Park Meeting Tonight — Montgomery Parks is hosting a public meeting to discuss its planned changes for the Willard Avenue Neighborhood Park, set for tonight at 7 p.m. [Montgomery Parks]

Montgomery’s Office of Consumer Protection To Join In On ‘Consumer Protection Week’ — Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection, one of just two county-level consumer protection agencies in Maryland, will celebrate its 40 years with a variety of events during next week’s “National Consumer Protection Week.” [Montgomery County]

Flickr photo by vpickering


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