Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Silver Spring News 'N Notes

- Latest Transit Center Fiasco news:

Metro: "Don't want it."
County: "Too bad."
Transit Center Inspector: "Not our fault."
MoCo Inspector General: "More inspections/money, please."

- Why don't any of the DC to New York buses depart from Silver Spring? There are two bus lines with pickups in Bethesda and another with one in Rockville. Silver Spring seems like a logical place for an operator to use as a starting point.

- I have seen plenty short and pointless sidewalks in Silver Spring, including many that simply dead end into a tree, but this one near Colesville Road and Highland Drive is my personal favorite:

Apparently no one involved in the planning or construction process ever said, "hmmm, maybe we should save the concrete on this one." Well, at least it's ADA compliant, so the wheelchair-bound can roll into someone's driveway from the side should they really need to do so.

(Recall that Silver Spring was also once home to what was judged to be the "Stupidest Bike Lane in America", though it has since been upgraded.)

- Speaking of concrete, look who's building the Holy Cross Hospital expansion - it's our old pals from Faccina Construction, concrete-pourers extraordinaire!

 If whatever ailment you checked in for doesn't kill you, the collapsing ceiling will!

- Last month Channel 9 News looked into some suspect towing practices in the small parking lot at the top end of DTSS. I'm a little skeptical of all the protestations of innocence regarding having time left on the meter, but still, these towing operations are a total racket. (And if you are going to tow people, PLEASE tow those using the Whole Foods lot for church parking.)

- Anyone have any info as to what business is going in where the 16th Street Blockbuster Video used to be? There's workers doing something in there. Judging from the rest of the strip mall, probably nothing great, but who knows.

UPDATE: It's going to be a Patient First medical center. That is actually a logical use for that space. Thanks to DT for the tip.

- FYI, there's now a Silver Spring Reddit.

- Finally, this is awful: a woman was sexually assaulted in a Four Corners backyard. I would never consider that a dangerous neighborhood, but there does always seem to be a lot of transient folks milling about there - perhaps a lot of people switch buses at that intersection.


Anonymous said...

The Greyhound goes from Silver Spring to New York and back. And you can often get it for less than $20 each way. That's a good enough deal for me.

Sligo said...

But does it have stops along the way?

Anonymous said...

Can we not cast aspersions on the moral fiber of bus riders by suggesting that transit riders are more likely to be responsible for a sexual assault than others?

Sligo said...

Just pointing out that bus routes may result in more miscellaneous people roaming the area than might have otherwise been there, not that there's necessarily anything wrong with the average bus rider.

Clancy said...

The parking lot for the Rite Aid/Fed Ex/Einstein Bros. at Colesville & E-W Hwy. also has a fairly aggressive towing policy, but no meters. (I was surprised to learn that the meters at the lot in the story were private. I always assumed they were county.) The towing company for that lot seems pretty good at targeting walk offs and Metro riders. I've seen people park their car, walk across the street to the dental office, never once looking back to notice the tow truck backing up to grab their car before they make it through the front door.

Craig said...

There are people who park their cars at the Summit Hills Apartment parking lot and then walk to the Metro in the morning. They come back from the Metro early in the evening. Get in the car and drive away. No resident stickers or guest markers on the windshield. Not a widespread problem but you have isolated cases of this going on.

That's some serious balls there. Too bad Summit Hills never bothers to check for illegal parking during DAY TIME hours. The tow trucks only come out at night and the free-loader gets away with this.

Wouldn't be surprised if The Blairs has a similar problem.

Gull said...

@ Craig

Although Summit Hills does not check for illegal cars every single day, they do check about 3x a week. They seem to be less checking the regular parking spaces and are instead checking the people in the visitor spaces. Someone with a clipboard is writing down all the licence plates and i've seen them come back a few hours later with neon violation notice stickers, and i've seen a couple get towed. Since they've been more aggressive about this over the past 4 months there has been a lot more available visitor parking, which my friends appreciate!

Anonymous said...

Since 1996, Ride-On transit, Silver Spring depot, has allowed a CONVICTED CHILD MOLESTER, to keep his job (currently at Gaithersburg Ride-On), yet fired the then victims 12 year old daughter. The father of the victim is a 4 corners native, 2x driver of the month & 1993's Best Transit Operator.
Its not just the passengers, but also whos behind the wheel.

Lindemann said...

Most of the SS-to-NY Greyhound buses stop at the Baltimore Travel Plaza for about 15 minutes. It's no biggie in the grander context of being able to walk to an intercity bus station. Major time savings for me.

Gull said...

Wow, I said to my friend about 3 months ago when I saw that space "this would be a great place for one of those emergency/outpatient clinics like patient first, which are so popular in Baltimore but seem non-existent in the DC area". I'm glad to see this, I live just a 5 minute walk away and used to use the patient first in Baltimore all the time.

Anonymous said...

@Craig Since the Blair's implemented the one spot per apartment rule and cut way down on parking for visitors it has gotten way more aggressive on towing. I usually sew them towing every morning around 11am. Will warn though the towing company the Blair's use toes you out to their Gaithersburg lot, no where near a metro station.

Anonymous said...

The story I have heard for this parking lot is that the homeless are being payed to contact the towing company if they see people leaving the strip mall.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

"There are people who park their cars at the Summit Hills Apartment parking lot and then walk to the Metro in the morning. They come back from the Metro early in the evening. Get in the car and drive away. No resident stickers or guest markers on the windshield. Not a widespread problem but you have isolated cases of this going on.

That's some serious balls there. Too bad Summit Hills never bothers to check for illegal parking during DAY TIME hours. The tow trucks only come out at night and the free-loader gets away with this. "

I've seen Summit Hills staff out at the visitor spaces by the 16th St gate in the morning with clipboards writing down the plate numbers of cars.

Also, a couple of years ago, I had a visitor come and park in one of those spaces and we walked to Metro together to go to dinner. Came back, his car was towed to an impound lot over in Kensington. I didn't know Kensington had an impound lot, so I learned a couple of things from that episode.

Gull said...

I don't think it's terribly unusual for apartment complexes to not check parking as much during the day. My friend in Alexandria said his management company tells people upon moving in that visitors can park anywhere they want between like 8am and 10pm, the 'visitor' spaces and towing are only enforced at night when parking is tight. At summit hills, there is a ton of available daytime parking and it's usually not until after 9pm that I start finding parking difficult if i've run a late errand.

Clancy said...

When Summit Hills does occasionally crack down on parking, it wreaks havoc on some of the adjacent apartment complexes and condos. My condo association can always tell when they're enforcing because guests at Summit Hills start using our lot. I'm not sure why they don't think we won't also tow, but they do. However, the impound lot for us is a little closer than Kensington . . . so they have that going for them.

Anonymous said...

There is a older bearded guy that sits incognito in a white pick-up truck parked near the Oriental East restaurant in the Blair's parking lot every morning, whose sole job is to get cars towed.

Anonymous said...

I live a couple of blocks away from that sidewalk and walk by it every day. I've always thought it was strange too but it's a continuation of the sidewalk that goes all around St Luke's and seems to end at their property line. So I guess it kind of makes sense, like the church built it but the house next door didn't.

Tara said...

Re: towing. I walk across the Wheaton mall parking lot every morning to get to the Metro, and as far as I can tell, Westfield management has completely given up on towing people who use the mall parking lot as free Metro parking. At 7 or 8 am, the only cars in the lot are along the perimeter, closest to the metro, so it's super obvious that those folks are Metro parkers, not mall patrons. So, hey, if you're looking to save $5 a day on parking....

Gull said...

Slightly unrelated news - the Starbucks awnings are up at the Sheraton on Georgia Avenue. Talked to someone working in there who said Starbucks fell behind schedule for various reasons but should be opening very soon (but had no date), and would be accessible from the outside directly or from the hotel's side door, and should have an area of outdoor seating too.

Anonymous said...

JUTP has a good write-up on the City Place plan, for anyone who hasn't seen.

Anonymous said...

Now I understand buses spontaneously combusting, but now trains are too?

Anonymous said...

Scion opens on Wednesday, according to twitter.

Anonymous said...

Regarding church parking in the Whole Foods lot, you should know that the lot owners allow churchgoers to park in the row next to the adjacent church (St. Michael the Archangel). They have to display a church-issued pass or a bulletin. This allows close parking for the disabled. Those who do not follow the rules should be towed, but considering that the property once housed a public parking facility, I think it is fair to try to keep some parking close to a church that has been on the property for more than 50 years.

Anonymous said...

Urban Turf says that there may be a Harris Teeter going in at Shepard Park DC, the same block as Morris Miller. It would be great to have a HT that close but I wouldn't want local wine store Morris Miller to be chased out and its cool deco facade to be lost.
Also, I wonder if the added competition will be too much for our sad Thayer Safeway. Safeway had planned to build an 11 story apart. tower on top of the Thayer location. Like we really need another residential Hi Rise in Fenton Village adding to the 1,000added units that will be within a block of Safeway.

Anonymous said...

Here's the great news from UT:

will be a great gateway building for downtown Silver Spring, even though it's technically on the DC side of Eastern.

I don't think it'll compete with the Thayer Safeway at all - they're not really in the same area and the Safeway is already small/largely just for immediate locals. Fingers crossed the threat of the Teet pushes up Safeway's timeline and they demo their crappy old, small building and put in a fullsize grocery+residential on top. 11 stories is not tall, especially compared to its neighboring SS Towers and the other buildings in the works on adjacent lots.

I do agree that it'd be a shame if the Morris Miller facade was removed.

Gull said...

well, 11 stories of apartments would be against the Master Plan which i'm pretty sure limits height at the Safeway to either 60 or 70 feet (so, 4-6 stories of apartments over the Safeway - likely wooden framed), but would also add likely shoppers to Safeway.

I'm not convinced it'll happen anyway, that seems like a small block for a grocery store, even if it tore all the commercial down and did parking below it seems impractical. Guess we shall see.

Anonymous said...

Plans for redeveloping 8242-8252 Georgia Avenue:


Anonymous said...

There are so many new apartments/condos/townhouses going up in this area. I'd love to see a list of all the projects within a one-mile radius of DTSS. I'd bet we're adding close to 5,000 people in the area in the next 5 years.

JW said...

Re the parking meters: Gosh, what a great way to encourage customers to come back and give your vendors more money.

Keep up the great work, DTSS brainiacs.

Anonymous said...

Awesome news re: 8242-8252 Georgia Avenue. 8242 (the church building) is one of the uglier (dryvit?) buildings around. 8252 on the corner is nicer looking, but the Bonifant side is so close to the street that completely kills that part of the block - with help from the adjacent parking garage. Obviously the parking lot between the two buildings is worthless. All in all it's def another great step forward on a key parcel!

Anyone seen plans or know the timetable for the Progress Place parcel mentioned in the article?

Gull said...

Washington Properties tried to purchase the entire block of the Church on Georgia Avenue, but last I heard the owner of the music store right in the middle of the block refuses to sell.

Anonymous said...

Eleven stories is allowed in Fenton Village. You need to look at the Fenton Village Overlay and a later Zoning Text Amendment (2009) that pushed the height up to eleven. Studio Plaza is 11 stories. Safeway could be 11.
Right now there is a height limit on Fenton St., but the set back is not defined - so they could step back 5' and then go up to 11 stories - just like Studio Plaza did on the side streets.

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