Friday, August 28, 2015

Assault on Westlake Terrace, disorder on Elm St. & Westbard Ave. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on August 25, according to crime data:

Theft. 8200 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft from vehicle. 4400 block East-West Highway.

Vehicle burglary. 5800 block Wyngate Drive.

Theft. 11900 block Rockville Pike (Pike District).

Assault. 7400 block Westlake Terrace at 7:52 PM.

Theft. 5700 block Bou Avenue (Pike District).

Drug offense. Woodmont Avenue at Battery Lane at 10:54 PM.

Disorderly conduct. 4700 block Elm Street at 2:00 AM.

Drug offense. Arlington Road at Elm Street at 11:25 PM.

Disorderly conduct. 5400 block Westbard Avenue at 1:37 AM.

Drug offense. 7400 block Lakeview Drive at 8:58 PM.

Assault. 11100 Hurdle Hill Drive at 5:49 PM.

Theft. 10100 block River Road (Potomac Village).

Planners lay out scope of work for White Flint 2 redevelopment plan

"A critical issue for [White Flint 2] will be determining how much additional development can be supported by the existing and proposed transportation network," a Montgomery County Planning Department report says early on regarding the redevelopment of the area along Rockville Pike north of the Montrose Parkway, and south of Rollins Avenue.

Some of the groundwork has been laid by the existing and future segments of the Montrose Parkway itself, and a proposed Bus Rapid Transit system along the Pike. No Metro station is located within the sector plan's boundaries, but the location is between the Twinbrook and White Flint stations on the Red Line. Planners will review all of these, but also address the need for better pedestrian and bicycle connectivity between Rockville, White Flint 2 and White Flint. The latter two areas are now branded as the Pike District by Montgomery County.

Properties under study by planners for the WF2 Sector Plan include Montrose Crossing, Pike Center, Loehmann’s Plaza, and the industrial properties east of the railroad tracks along Parklawn Drive. The Midtown Bethesda North condos, and the adjacent Target store, are harbingers of what the future may bring to these commercial properties.

Issues planners want to address in the sector plan process are transportation and connectivity, community facilities (in particular, capacity - or lack thereof - in the Walter Johnson school cluster), environmental sustainability, and land uses and urban design.

One public kick-off meeting was held on June 25, 2015. You can review the public feedback I reported on from that meeting the next day.

A series of workshops will be held this fall to obtain more feedback from residents, businesses and landowners. Planners will present a working draft of the plan to the Montgomery County Planning Board in the spring of 2016, and a draft plan to the Montgomery County Council and Executive by August 2016. The Council will vote on the plan, and a necessary Sectional Map Amendment, by summer 2017.

The next step in the process will be planners' presentation of the Scope of Work document to the Board on Thursday, September 3, 2015.

Accident closes part of Massachusetts Ave. in Bethesda

A fatal auto accident has closed Massachusetts Avenue between Sangamore Road and Goldsboro Road. Use MacArthur Boulevard or River Road instead.

Montgomery County Police confirm the male cyclist has died after being struck by a vehicle around 6:20 this morning in the 6000 block of Massachusetts Avenue. The driver remained on-scene, and is cooperating with the investigation.

Bethesda Barbecue Company cleared out (Photos)

The contents of the now-closed Bethesda Barbecue Company were being emptied out into a rental truck Thursday evening on Elm Street. Rumors that the restaurant owners will try a third concept in the space (it previously was Newton's Apple) are hard to believe. Such a restaurant would have to function with no kitchen, no seating, no appliances, and no toilets. That's right. Workers were even carrying the commodes out of the restaurant. Stay tuned.
Here comes a commode
On to the truck it goes

Thursday, August 27, 2015

SHA to add left turn lane on River Rd. at Willard Avenue in Bethesda

The Maryland State Highway Administration is finally moving forward on a project talked about for the last several years - a new left turn lane onto Willard Avenue along eastbound River Road in Bethesda. Contrary to planners' recent assertions that traffic is wonderful along the busy commuter route, the River-Willard intersection is one of the top 50 most-congested intersections in Montgomery County.

Expected to take over a year to complete, the project will widen River Road along the northbound side between Baltimore Avenue and a point 150 feet west of Willard Avenue. All of the land being utilized for the project is within the SHA right-of-way; no seizure of private property is expected.

Crews will also construct sidewalk ramps for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance and new curbs and gutters. They'll also install audible and countdown display pedestrian signals at the River Road intersections with Ventnor Road, WillardAvenue/Greenway Drive and Baltimore Avenue.

Traffic signals will also be upgraded, and the road will be repaved at project's end, likely in the fall of 2016. Yes, there will be nighttime work Sunday through Thursday nights, to the delight of nearby residents who recently endured a never-ending Pepco project.

$825,000 has been budgeted for the project, and its schedule will be determined by how mild or nasty the upcoming winter is.

The SHA estimates over 17,000 cars use this stretch of River Road daily. Let's hope County planners and the SHA start discussing projects to increase capacity along River Road in light of plans for massive redevelopment in the Westbard sector plan. Of course, while widening River Road would make sense, it would narrow again to 4 lanes at the DC line, leaving a major bottleneck point. Currently ground zero for the War on Cars in America, the District is unlikely to agree to widen River Road within its jurisdiction.

Car stolen from Auto Park Ave., assault in Pike District + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on August 24, according to crime data:

Vehicle burglary. 4900 block Elm Street.

Vehicle burglary. 4600 block Chestnut Street.

Liquor offense. Chatham Road at Blackthorn Street (Chevy Chase).

Vehicle burglary. 3300 block Shirley Lane (Dunlop Hills).

Vehicle burglary. 5100 block Worthington Drive (Westgate).

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Stolen car. 10400 block Auto Park Avenue at 2:28 PM.

Death. 9400 block Kingsley Avenue at 9:28 AM (Maplewood).

Assault. 11400 block Rockville Pike at 11:10 AM (Pike District).

Burglary. 5200 block Brentford Drive (Montrose Park).

First look: Silver restaurant in Bethesda (Photos)

Here's sneak peek inside the nearly-finished Silver restaurant on Woodmont Avenue, in the ground floor of the Flats at Bethesda Avenue luxury apartments. Like neighbor PassionFish, Silver is scheduled to open in September. It is the latest venture from the owners of the Silver Diner chain. This is a preview of what you can expect:

Signage installed at PassionFish in Bethesda (Photos)

The signs are up at PassionFish, scheduled to open in September at 7187 Woodmont Avenue in downtown Bethesda. PassionFish is located in the ground floor of the Darcy luxury condos.

REI coming to Pike & Rose in N. Bethesda

Outdoor outfitter REI is the latest retailer to sign on at Pike & Rose in the Pike District of North Bethesda. REI will be part of the Federal Realty development's Phase 2 construction.

REI's new Pike & Rose location will be in a massive, 36,200 SF space on Rose Avenue, an as-yet-unbuilt street in Pike & Rose Phase 2. That's one of the largest spaces in the development.

There is currently an REI location at 1701 Rockville Pike, just up the Pike in Rockville.

Oily rags blamed for spontaneous combustion house fire in Bethesda

Oily rags spontaneously combusted on the second floor of a house being renovated in Bethesda last night. Firefighters responded to the resulting blaze in the 6400 block of Windermere Circle in the Heritage Walk neighborhood near Interstate 270.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer said there were no injuries, and the fire was brought quickly under control. Damage is estimated at $10,000.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Watch this animation of Suburban Hospital's future expansion (Video)

Streets closed, a parking garage and houses demolished. But somehow, Suburban Hospital makes it all look easy in this time-lapse animation of the hospital's expansion that is currently underway in Bethesda.

One of the reasons I thought the expansion was worthwhile is the horrific parking experience at today's Suburban. It's almost impossible to find a spot during the daytime, which is ridiculous when trying to visit friends or family at the hospital. If the expansion means there's a parking spot for every visitor, I'm all in favor of it.

Assaults in Kenwood, N. Chevy Chase, Garrett Park; theft in Kenwood Park + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on August 23, according to crime data:

Assault/death. 6200 block Highland Drive at 10:28 PM (Kenwood).

Theft from vehicle. 6800 block Granby Street (Kenwood Park).

Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft from vehicle. Westwood Shopping Center.

Assault. 4700 block Oxford Street (Garrett Park).

Drug offense. Woodmont Avenue at Elm Street at 12:52 AM.

Drug offense. 8900 block McGregor Drive at 3:18 PM.

Assault. 3400 block Kenilworth Driveway at 2:47 PM.

Drug offense. 10300 block Strathmore Hall Street at 10:17 PM.

Death. 2300 block Stratton Drive at 7:02 PM.

Jamaican Mi Crazy opening Saturday in Bethesda (Menu+Photos)

Just as reports of hurricane season begin from the Caribbean, Caribbean cuisine is arriving in Bethesda at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Jamaican Mi Crazy Caribbean Cuisine will open this Saturday in the mall's new Dining Terrace. It replaces another local eatery, Dumpling Dojo.

I brought back pictures of the menu (below - click to enlarge). They also have DG Jamaican Kola Champagne on the beverage list as a bonus, as well as Grace Tropical Rhythms Sorrel. 

For the full experience, order the Jamaican Experience Platter for $13. Training ahead of Saturday's opening was underway at the restaurant Tuesday.

A nice decorative touch

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Demolition continues at Bethesda Shell station (Photos)

The house? The house is gone, leaving only rubble behind. Meanwhile, only the small convenience store structure remained Monday at the former Shell station at Old Georgetown Road and Woodmont Avenue.

Both properties are being razed to make way for a small TD Bank building.

Assault on Wisconsin Ave., burglary on Newington Rd. + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on August 22, according to crime data:

Drug arrest. Woodmont Avenue at Norfolk Avenue.

Assault. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 8100 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. 5100 block River Road.

Theft from vehicle. 4800 block Enfield Road (Locust Hill Estates).

Burglary. 5600 block Newington Road at 3:52 PM (Springfield).

Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.

Death. 1700 block E. Jefferson Street at 10:08 AM (Pike District).

Bethesda Barbecue Company confirmed as restaurant being liquidated/closed in auction

Surely you'll be shocked - shocked - to learn that the secretive online auction of the entire contents of an "upscale Bethesda barbecue restaurant" is indeed Bethesda Barbecue Company at 4917 Elm Street. The restaurant's identity was finally disclosed by the auction site last night, so that potential bidders could know where to go for the auction preview today, from 1:00-3:00 PM.

That auction will take place online beginning at 11:00 AM tomorrow, August 26.

This means that, after having its doors locked for over a month, Bethesda Barbecue Company has clearly closed. The future of the space is unknown for now.

See it to believe it: Bethesda gas station becomes a grassy field (Photos)

The site of Bethesda's famous "last gas" before the Beltway has devolved into a grassy field. In a decision as bizarre as the fate of the Bethesda Shell station across from the Bethesda Metro station, this also-walking-distance-to-Metro property is being redeveloped with a small bank building.
Surely this site had more
potential for joining adjacent
lots for development that
would benefit the community
with retail, restaurants and
Metro-proximate housing
This despite the opportunity to combine properties that include a Montgomery County-owned parking lot, and a significant buffer between the site and the single-family home neighborhood behind it, to create a mixed-use development.
A still from Sunday's episode
of "Fear the Walking Dead"?
Nope, just scary MoCo
planning decisions
For now, it is an unused grass field, as nature reclaims the former service station property and downtown Bethesda's gas stations continue to vanish.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Arson on Tuckerman La., theft at Westbard Giant + more - Bethesda crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes reported across Bethesda on August 21, according to crime data:

Arson. Tuckerman Lane at Rockville Pike at 8:41 AM.

Theft. 7000 block Wisconsin Avenue.

Theft. Giant, 5400 Westbard Avenue.

Theft. 10900 block Bloomingdale Drive.

Assault. 5600 block Nicholson Lane at 10:51 PM (Pike District).

Vehicle burglary. 6100 block Executive Boulevard (Pike District).

Drug arrest. MacArthur Boulevard at Seven Locks Road.

Burglary. 5500 block Alderbrook Court (Pike District).

Drug offense. 4800 block Cordell Avenue at 11:40 PM.

Death. 4600 block N. Park Avenue at 10:44 AM.

Demolition update: Bethesda Shell station and house (Photos)

The Bethesda Shell station at 7628 Old Georgetown Road, and a home next to it, continue to be demolished. They'll make way for a puzzling replacement - a tiny TD Bank building, despite the property being adjacent to a Metro station. The gas pumps and canopy are now gone.