Thursday, July 22, 2010

Signs, Signs, Everywhere There's Signs

Here's some informative/amusing signage I spotted in downtown Silver Spring this evening...

Based on this sign posted on their door, it would appear that the Upscale Pharmacy is the latest Retail Fail in downtown Silver Spring. It just moved to this location across from Whole Foods last year. No idea if they plan to re-open elsewhere.



I spotted this wonderful context-free handmade cardboard sign lying in a gutter just outside the defunct pharmacy. I have half a mind to make it the new header of this blog.



Finally, just a block away at the intersection of Cedar and Ellsworth can be found this no less egregious misspelling - on a "Montogomery" County issued sign, no less.



Seriously?

On a side note, the po-lice were definitely out in force in Downtown Silver Spring, and not just in cruisers. There was a noticeable increase in foot and bike patrols in the area, and they were active. I saw them disperse some skateboarders using an (open for traffic) Ellsworth Dr. as their skate spot:



The skaters had been displaced from their new home at the ice rink, as there was a concert scheduled there tonight. (By a classic rock cover band that wasn't half bad, actually.) As I was leaving, I noticed they had found a new home behind the Civic Building.

Also, a bunch of other kids seemed to be getting citations (and a dressing down from officers) for some other infraction:



And finally, I would like to extend a big thank you to "Montogomery" County for installing crosswalks on Dale Drive, thereby lowering the likelihood that I will be killed on my way home from downtown S.S.





53 comments:

jerry'sdaughter said...

Not surprised that Upscale closed. I got Rxs filled there for a while but gave up b/c they just couldn't seem to get it together. Plus they had a weird assortment of merchandise that I imagine no one bought. Incredibly ugly shoes for one. Do you go to a pharmacy for walking shoes? I didn't think so!

paulidin said...

I am trying to live in the DTSS area SO HARD! Tons of places either don't take my 55lb dog or only have pay-to-use laundry machines. Bleh.

Still, I follow your tweets and blog diligently. TO PREPARE.

Anonymous said...

Love those traffic calming devices. Now if they'd just build out sidewalks through out those neighborhoods.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

The staff at Upscale was very nice, old style pharmacy service. I really like that. I did move with them over to the place on Spring. Less convenient, but still great service. The pharmacist really talked to me about my prescription, including some common sense advice. Refreshing.

I've seen the increased police presence in DTSS, too, and I'm happy as a clam. Set the tone with the potential trouble makers, then after a while this can scale back a bit.

Regarding Paulidin's 55lb dog, I love dogs, too, but HATE the mine fields that they leave (and owners don't pick up) in the lawns or other green spaces around buildings that allow them. Most dogs need room to be, well, dogs. DTSS might not be the best choice for a big animal.

On the washing machines, it would be nice to have a washer and dryer in my apartment. On the plus side, though, I can go to the laundry room and put three or four loads of wash in at once and be done with the whole process in under two hours.

hugo said...

We've gotten a bunch of crosswalks and those traffic calming things around my neighborhood (Rosemary Hills) too and I'm thrilled about it. Great job, MoCo. Something to calm some of the through traffic in DTSS, particularly around the problem intersections (Georgia & Colesville, Colesville/2nd Ave/Wayne) would be great as a next step, though I understand that drivers are understandably frustrated about jaywalking in those places as well. I wonder whether increased calming could actually help with the jaywalking - I know I'd be more likely to wait for the light and cross at the crosswalks if I had any confidence that drivers would respect them.

Great as well to see the increased police presence - I still don't see DTSS as particularly dangerous, but anything to reassure folks and send the message to would-be problem causers that they should take their business elsewhere. I'm guessing summer is when problems creep up most around DTSS, so if it can last through then I think we'll be in good shape.

Anonymous said...

Another thing people can do against thugs is back up who ever is in need, like I read happened the other night. If I see a person being bullied, I'll help them out because I would like others to help me out. There's more of us than them.

Patrick Thornton said...

@Terry,

I'm going to have to disagree. DTSS is a great place to have a dog. It's very walkable and there are several green spaces. Dogs need space as you said and an urban environment is a great place for them to get that space.

Dogs that are left to live their whole lives on suburban plots are the ones that are really deprived (just watch some of Cesar Millan's shows). Even if you have a few acres, that's not nearly enough for a dog if you never walk it. Dogs have a need to travel and so no amount of yard space (unless you own a large farm) is going to be enough for a dog. Plus a dog that goes out in public will be much better socialized.

The issue is the owners, not the dogs. Issue tickets and fines to owners that don't pick up after their dogs. A few tickets and your dog gets taken away. Problem solved.

I should also mention that big dogs make better apartment dogs than small dogs because smaller dogs -- the terriers in particular -- are the highest energy. They need the most energy, and when they have a neglectful owner, the turn into a barking mess. A big, lazy great dane would be fine with a few walks a day. The rest of the day you'd find him sleeping on the couch. They are very low energy.

I actually almost bought a place in DTSS but the HOA rules were recently changed on the building to limit the size of pets to 25 lbs. and under. I have no interest in an HOA that restrictive, and I can't imagine it helping the home values of that property.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"The issue is the owners, not the dogs."


Agree with you there. It's wrong to confine a big dog in an apartment all day, then give him a token walk, just as it's wrong to pen a big dog outside in a large yard and ignore him or her. It's also the owners who should be picking up the doggie land mines when they are out having a great time walking their dog those two times a day.

Anonymous said...

IHATEYUPPIES SAID...

I heard a rumor that the Borders store in DTSS will be closing its doors soon. Any truthiness here?

The Borders corporation is close to bankruptcy and they have been closing stores nationwide. Amazon.com and internet downloading is killing the bricks & mortar book retailers. The Borders in downtown DC at 14th and F Streets is closing in August.

Retail is a tough business.

-IHY-

Patrick Thornton said...

@Terry,

I agree with you.

I don't currently live in DTSS; I'm trying to move back, so I don't know the dog poop situation. But people should be fined and cited for leaving trash on the ground, whether it be dog poop or other litter. Neither one is good for a community and doesn't encourage people to care about their community. It's better to encourage people to be better citizens than to ban things.

Currently my dog has a dog walker three days a week while I am at work, goes to day camp one day and I work from home the other day. And obviously she gets walked in the morning and evening at the minimum as well. That's what is necessary for her to get good exercise and be a good, calm dog.

Silver Spring should definitely encourage people to be better dog owners (whether it be through education, fines, citations or some combination), while still being a dog friendly place. People who like pets (and the majority of home owners have one) will move elsewhere. Silver Spring would have better future if it's a pet friendly place for quality pet owners (we certainly don't want Michael Vick types around or lazy owners either).

I see this as similar to the situation with teenagers and skateboarders in the area. Clearly there is an issue. It would certainly be better for DTSS to try to fix the situation, while still making it a hospitable place for teenagers. Part of that will be through increased citations and a new approach from the police. But skateboarders are people too. The most logical solution would be to build them a skate park somewhere else and then fine them for using banned spaces meant for other uses.

Silver Spring, particularly DTSS, can only reach its potential if it is a welcoming and worthwhile place for all kinds of people. I have a medium sized dog, which has eliminated several condo buildings in the DTSS area right off the bat. My wife and I (both professionals that Montgomery County would like to have) would like to move to DTSS, but if it looks like it is too difficult we'll look elsewhere.

Long story short, banning the problem behavior will be much better in the long run than discouraging whole activities.

lonebear said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lonebear said...

On the sign. Count me as not surprised.

There was a sign on Knowles and Beach that had to be corrected three times for distance issues. I am not sure that they have someone in that department who knows how to fact check.

(and I got hoist on my own petard with a street name in the original post)

Danielle Meitiv said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Danielle Meitiv said...

About those Montgomery County trail signs: there's one by my house, near the intersection of Burlington & Fenton (across from the public Storage) that says that downtown Silver Spring is 1.75 miles. You'd have to take a pretty damned circuitous route to add a mile to what is 0.75 miles AT MOST. How made those signs anyway? They're pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Regarding traffic calming devices: When I was younger and asked what superpower I would choose if I could have one--nearly always I replied "to be able to fly". Now that am older and live near DTSS I wish my super power to be the ability to make vehicle tires go flat whenever I want.

Think how fun that would be whenever you saw an agressive driver (and we have so many). You could choose to make it go flat immediately to make your point, or go slowly over, say a ten minute period so they would get caught with a flat on the beltway.

Oh, to dream.

Anonymous said...

"Montogomery": Clearly proofed by a Montgomery College English Dept. adjunct.

Robert said...

Jaywalking is encouraged and Downtown Silver Spring is less walkable than it should be because we have too many NO RIGHT TURN ON RED signs. In many cases if cars could turn right on red, the turning cars would be out of the way by the time the light turned green and the walk sign comes on. Then we wouldn't have the conflict between right turning cars and pedestrians trying to cross the street at the same time.

Patrick Thornton said...

@Robert,

I've never heard that argument before, and you'll find in most urban areas they have no right on red signs because drivers abuse them. Instead of turning only when there is no oncoming car or pedestrians around, as they law states, drivers instead try to force the issue constantly.

Patrick Thornton said...

The easier you make it for people to drive, the more people who will drive. If you want to solve the problem of aggressive drivers, just make it harder for them to drive (and especially make it hard for them to be aggressive).

There is a ton of public transportation around Silver Spring. It's a bit shocking how much traffic there is and how unruly it is. I work in Arlington (Court House), and it has more people and more businesses but a much better traffic situation. If Wilson Blvd has a manageable traffic situation and respectful drivers, there is no reason that the intersection of Fenton and Wayne should be as it is.

Tired of Stereotypes said...

SS Borders closing? Good riddance. They now lock up their videos, alledging that the neighborhood is particularly prone to shoplifting. They admitted they don't do this at White Flint and most other places. Another business wanting our money but also freaking out because they think diversity=crime. The county should run them out and give the space to a neighborhood-owned store that won't be so quick to judge on the basis of stereotypes.

Sligo said...

How do you know people aren't shoplifting? There's a reason a lot more things are locked up at CVS stores in certain neighborhoods - people do steal that stuff. A lot.

ian.swank said...

@ Tired of Sterotypes,
It couldn't at all be possible that maybe they've discovered that that particular store has actually been hit quite a bit by shoplifting, could it? No, any efforts to stop crime must be racist.

Patrick Thornton said...

I'm pretty confident Borders doesn't make judgements based on stereotypes but rather hard data. It's not exactly rocket science to track how much shoplifting is going on. You buy 10 units of something, five of them sell and you only have 2 left. It's not hard to figure out what is going on.

I have no idea if the shoplifting rates are higher in DTSS than other Borders, but to suggest that Borders is locking up videos because they are racist is extremely ignorant.

Springvale Roader said...

Borders is closing? Crap! Not that it's the greatest store, but aside from Whole Foods, it's a place for greetings cards, but moreover, it's a book store, and I hate to see book stores close.

Don't know about the shoplifting thing, but it wouldn't surprise me. We live in an area where CVS keeps razor blades locked up as if they were fine jewelry.

Thank goodness for Silver Spring Books, though I wonder how long it can stay afloat. Maybe Pelecanos will buy it up and keep it going. There's nothing like wandering aimlessly through a book store.

Lastly, please, what gods there might be, do not replace the Borders with another Peruvian chicken joint or hair salon.

ian.swank said...

Has anyone confirmed the Borders closure? That's a large store to lose.

Sligo said...

I heard about that a long time ago, yet it's still there. I'll believe it when it happens.

ian.swank said...

Also, I can't see why they would close this particular location, it's always packed whenever I'm in there. Not just by browsers either, the line is always fairly long.

Anonymous said...

The line's always long because they never have enough cashiers. It's remarkable how much they try and force people to shop on Amazon.

Clancy said...

I think stores pretty much lock up the things that they know are being shoplifted. When my wife and I were trying to conceive a few years back, I was dispatched to the CVS at the Blairs for a home pregnancy test. Once there, I was shocked to find that they were locked up. I felt a bit like an awkward teenager asking someone to unlock it. When I asked why they were in a cabinet, the manager told me that they were one of the most shoplifted items at any store. She indicated that it was mostly teenage girls (short on cash and/or trying to hide their potential predicament from as many people as possible) who lifted them. She told me the condoms are sometimes locked up for the same reason.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I saw the pregnancy tests locked up at CVS and didn't want to get that "teenage girl in a predicament" feeling (even though its not the case). So I went next door to Giant, where they are not locked up.

Anonymous said...

@Terry, I afraid I disagree about the good service at Upscale Pharmacy. I used them for the past year, and getting refills was usually a big pain. Sometimes they were really nice, but usually the girl behind the counter would just tell the person on the other end of her pink cell phone to hold on, then she tried to get rid of me as fast as possible. Seriously, once I asked for a refill and the cashier said "well the pharmacist isn't here." And nothing else! So I asked could I leave this with you and pick it up later? And she rolled her eyes and looked agitated like she couldn't believe I asked that.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the closing of Upscale Pharmacy is any kind of economic indicator, or a comment on local businesses vs national chains. They just did a really really bad job.

Anonymous said...

Just got back from buying a book at Borders and the receipt says "Silver Springs, MD" - how can I care about whether a company goes under if they don't care to change a typo after how many years?

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Anonymous,

Maybe that was one of the problems, inconsistency.

Zain said...

Glad to see the uptick in police presence in DTSS. Not an hour after telling a friend about the Baja Fresh incident, she and I were verbally assaulted by a guy while crossing 16th & East-West. He even threw a fake punch at her after throwing a few colorful racial slurs. A guy behind us fared no better. Of course, since the attacker left and headed down East-West toward the metro before we could call the cops, they took 15 minutes to arrive on the scene (and this was after twice missing us in spite of a very explicit description of where we were standing and what we were wearing).

I was surprised to learn, however, that in spite of what happened, technically no crime was committed, at least not according to the officer (who informed us that, at best, it could potentially be considered disorderly conduct which, since it was not directly observed by the officer, could not yield any sort of arrest or citation).

It's sticky: DTSS is an urban environment and things are bound to happen here. And yet, I don't think its a lot to ask to be able to walk around without having members of your party referred to as "cracker bitch."

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that the officer was wrong. That seems to me to be a clear case of assault -- which includes not just unwanted intentional touching, but also placing someone in fear of being touched in an unwanted manner.

Anonymous said...

"cracker bitch."

I'd ask the officer to arrest the person since it sounds like it was racially motivated attempted assault, could fit into the hate crime laws. Works both ways remember...

Danielle Meitiv said...

re- Borders

My writers group met with a Border's buyer back in January and she said there were no plans to close the SS location.

That said, Borders is doing really badly - much worse than the other big bookstores (although they're all hurting) - so that could change. But only if the whole company goes down, I think.

Anonymous said...

Remember that Borders built its empire by plowing under local bookstores, with their efficiencies of scale and lower prices. If Borders get plowed under by the kindle and ipad, it wouldn't be the saddest story ever. Maybe in a post-Borders world, people who prefer books over ipads will have local bookstores again!

Thayer Ave., too said...

I really wanted to love Upscale, but the very first prescription I took there was mis-filled. The pharmacist realized his mistake and ran out to the parking lot to catch me, but I could easily have given my daughter a double dose of a powerful antibiotic if he hadn't happened to notice that he'd mixed it wrong.
Perhaps it was an honest mistake, and maybe even an isolated one, but I really couldn't in good conscience take another prescription there. I was disappointed, too, because I was hoping for a good nearby alternative to the hell that is CVS.

Jeff said...

@Patrick Thornton

I disagree about making it harder to drive solving the problem of aggressive drivers. This will only exacerbate the matter. It should be easy for everyone: pedestrians AND drivers.

I live in downtown Silver Spring, and as both a pedestrian and a driver I think there are problems on both sides. First, there are only a few problem intersections where things really collide. Colesville/2nd/Wayne is one of them. Cars do go too fast thru this intersection, but pedestrians often jaywalk, creating dangerous situations and unhappy motorists. Second, the "no turn on red" signs should also have "when pedestrians are present" underneath like the ones in Arlington do. There are a lot of intersections that have lower pedestrian volumes where this is approprite (e.g., Spring and Colesville).

Finally, Silver Spring is not Arlington; we do not have an interstate highway paralleling the main through streets like I-66 does for Wilson and Washington Blvds. (I lived in Arlington for almost 5 years). Keep in mind that a lot of motorists are trying to get in and out of DC and have US Route 29 (Colesville Rd.), Georgia Avenue, and 16th St. as their best or only options.

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