Wednesday, January 21, 2015

WOODMONT AVE., NEW BETHESDA GARAGE OPEN WITH FREE PARKING BY BETHESDA ROW (VIDEO/PHOTOS)

Drivers take advantage of
the reopened Woodmont Avenue
The new Capital Crescent Garage has opened across from Bethesda Row at Bethesda and Woodmont Avenues, and as good as that news is, there's also great news - you can park in the garage for free until March 1, 2015. Here's a tour of the garage, which includes electric vehicle charging spaces, bicycle parking, and 960 parking spaces available to the public.
Strolling along the temporary
pedestrian walkway towards
Bethesda Row on Woodmont
Of course, opening the garage meant reopening Woodmont Avenue. There are 2 vehicle lanes, and as you saw in my report yesterday, a pedestrian walkway set off by barriers. No bicycle lanes are available at this stage, and the sidewalks are still closed. There is some dirt in the walking area toward the pedestrian entrance near the Capital Crescent Trail.
Woodmont near Crescent Plaza


Several readers were asking yesterday about the left turn off of Leland, and the Jiffy Johns. You still can't turn left from Leland onto Woodmont, and the portable toilets are indeed still there at that end of Woodmont.
Please use caution...
...Woodmont Avenue is now
open, and we wanted to give
you a full 30 seconds notice to use
caution in the new traffic pattern
One interesting point is that the opening process diverted from standard traffic procedures. The public knows there is a standard procedure, because when the ultimately-aborted effort to reopen Woodmont occurred last summer, electronic signs were posted on major routes far in advance. Two weeks in advance, in fact. These signs gave an approximate opening date, and alerted drivers that traffic patterns would soon change. No such advance alert was provided for yesterday's opening, which was certainly not in the best interests of safety and traffic management. In fact, the electronic signs were only activated after the road was reopened, giving unsuspecting drivers only moments to adjust.
Even the garage name was secret
Assuming the inspections that would green-light the garage and street openings are not so weak that they can be conducted in minutes, clearly the approximate date could have been forecast and announced, as it was this past August. Instead, the priority seems to have been to have a tightly-controlled rollout of the news. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation press release was not posted until 11:58 AM yesterday. MCDOT's parking Twitter account made the announcement even later, as did other County-related Twitter accounts.
MCDOT press release at 11:58 AM
I personally did not receive a press release or advance notice from the County, nor from the developer, regarding the reopening. That would not seem to make sense if the point is to alert the public to the new parking availability, and new traffic pattern. What in the world was gained from keeping this important information secret?
The gates are up for now

But starting March 1, you'll
have to pay during these hours
Thank the Monopoly Guy for
Free Parking

Cyclists weren't left out

Shiny elevator doors
It probably won't be this easy
to move around on a Friday night
this summer

Official logo

Elon Musk would approve

Proof this garage was designed for
the future of transportation

Don't touch this
Pay at one of these starting
March 1

Safety first

Driver having no problem picking up
speed on the reopened Woodmont Avenue

Pedestrians will have to use this

Eventually, you might pick up
a treat from the Paul Bakery before
heading back to your car...

...at this trailside pedestrian
entrance to the garage
960 spaces sound great, when you remember
that the existing public garage at Bethesda
Row was often filled to capacity last summer

54 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're complaining about the "media rollout" of the news? Sounds petty to me.

Anonymous said...
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Robert Dyer said...

5:16: More petty than ignoring traffic control protocols to stage a PR event? Not likely.

Anonymous said...

One disappointment: I don't see the red and green indicator lights showing open spaces. Hopefully that's something that isn't activated yet? Will be really useful once the garage is full.

I didn't see any visible security either.

Anonymous said...

Robert, can we be honest here? You're not mad because of "traffic control protocols" and there weren't any accidents to prove the opening was dangerous. You're mad because you didn't have the story first. That's understandable and I still enjoy your website very much.

Anonymous said...

LOL, now he's deleting comments in which he is quoted. From this very article.

Anonymous said...

@ 5:39 AM first of 2:

He's just blaming the "MoCo Machine" again. He can never, ever admit that he was wrong, or that someone else did a better job than he.

Anonymous said...

Bob, these county employees are continuing their petty ways. If you're not building them up and praising them daily, they're not happy.

Anonymous said...

LOL, Dyer's little toady chimes in with "MoCo Machine" again.

Anonymous said...

@5:46am: ok, you don't like Robert. That's great. But the rest of us do and we don't care about you and your blog.

Do you get that? You're not winning support here by insulting Robert and his readers.

Robert Dyer said...

5:39 #1: Not having an accident doesn't = safe.

Robert Dyer said...

5:50: Let me get this straight - if someone posts a comment supporting me, they are a "toady," but when you defend and praise the MoCo Machine, you are not a toady? What kind of dictionary are you using?

Anonymous said...

Wish you had taken a closer look at what this project has done to the CCT. It has claimed about a foot of trail pavement and all of the shoulder in this area. It's also placed a large asphalt hump in the middle of the trail. Tough luck if you are in a wheel chair, or pushing a stroller.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the detailed photos. Looks like ChargePoint is running the EV charging stations. Did you see if they take credit card or it requires a special RFID card (like SEMA does)?

Will pricing be the usual $0.80/hour of other garages?

I like the ticket thing. It means no more fishing for change and no needing to estimate how long you'll stay. I still don't understand the inconsistency in Bethesda county-run garages. By the Metro, that one you can only pay a human, meanwhile the one a block up Old Georgetown is like this -- you pay a machine. Then the one on Bethesda Row you can only pay meters. Why can't they settle on one method of payment and be consistent?

Anonymous said...

"Woodmont Avenue is now open, and we wanted to give you a full 30 seconds notice to use caution in the new traffic pattern..."

Jeez, lose the spite, for God's sake.

There is a traffic signal there, as there always has been. The only change is that the volume of traffic turning from Woodmont is restored to its previous level, and that you can now turn right to go north on Woodmont if you want to.

Anonymous said...

Hooray for the gates. I hate not only having to fumble with change, but constantly worry about when the meter is going to expire.

And hooray for the EV charging stations, too. There will be less and less need for gas stations in the coming years.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

"In fact, the electronic signs were only activated after the road was reopened, giving unsuspecting drivers only moments to adjust."

Oh come on, this was a nice post (albeit a day late) up until that laughable hyperbole.

Anonymous said...

"In fact, the electronic signs were only activated after the road was reopened, giving unsuspecting drivers only moments to adjust."

This is as over-the-top as the article about P.F. Chang's closing two weeks ago.

"Hungry diners drove up seeking a bite of Mongolian Beef, only to find the restaurant was no more. They staggered demoralized back into their cars, back into the darkness."

I thought Robert liked darkness. But I'm digressing again.

Robert Dyer said...

7:27: It's not spite. More to your point, what changed since August? Do you mean when they ran the signs 2 weeks last August, they were just wasting energy and taxpayer money?

Robert Dyer said...

7:44: Don't rewrite history. There was no advance notice to the public. Follow the timestamps.

Robert Dyer said...

7:45: So, when they put electronic signs out for 2 weeks last summer for this exact same opening, they were just wasting energy and taxpayer funds?

Anonymous said...

The big question is will Ken and Bethesda bloggers talk garage porn on the next cable access show?

Robert Dyer said...

8:02: What's it like to work for Hans Riemer, a guy who thinks the only greater threat to America than Dodd-Frank is a Styrofoam coffee cup? How do you stay motivated day after day?

Anonymous said...

"The big question is will Ken and Bethesda bloggers talk garage porn on the next cable access show?"

Aw, isn't that too bad. The Dyers are angry no one takes them seriously.

Anonymous said...

There you go again bringing up your BFF Hans again. But since we're on that point, you think styrofoam is not a problem and not a pollutant? It didn't seem that only he was concerned, considering the ban was passed 8-0. Also, following the lead of great cities like DC, NYC, Seattle, SF and Portland is a bad thing?
Why don't you just move to Loudoun County already?

Robert Dyer said...

You're taking me seriously enough to hang out here all day and night posting negative comments. If I was just a fool who had no readership, you wouldn't have to put in the time, and your boss wouldn't have to spend money deploying you here. Think about it.

Robert Dyer said...

8:58: If somebody was trying to get away from MoCo, I'd suggest they go farther than Loudoun. Loudoun and Frederick are slowly turning into Montgomery County, especially because the same low-information voters who elected people like Hans Riemer are now moving to escape the taxes and mess they themselves allowed to happen. As for me, I'm staying right here. Fast food was decades ahead of Hans Riemer in dropping foam containers. The only change I noticed in America after that was that food gets cold a lot faster than it did in foam.

Anonymous said...

Stonebridge didn't announce in advance the opening like they did in August, not even to neighboring communities most affected by the change in traffic pattern, because they don't want mud on their face again if it didn't happen. They have been very non communicative in general to the neighbors.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, you would see no harm in styrofoam (other than food getting colder). The effects of styrofoam will be felt in the future, something difficult for you to grasp considering you only look backwards towards drive-thrus, strip centers and climate-controlled malls.
And don't rebut with your classic taxi vs uber argument or your favorite jon stewart quote.

Anonymous said...

It astonishes me how consistently this man behaves like a petulant child. I'm half here for the news, half here just to watch the show.

Anonymous said...

@ 9:33 AM
We all do, lol.

Anonymous said...

From the comments here, I take it the cable access show is cancelled? No garage special edition?

Anonymous said...

9:33 I agree, the trolling is soo childish! I am tired of reading the garbage and foul language written by anonymous trolls on here. Disgusting.

Anonymous said...

9:33 nailed it. Exactly.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

@ 8:20 AM, 10:14 AM -

The phrase you want is "public access channel", not "cable access".

Anonymous said...

I love the way Dyer simultaneously claims that a ban on styrofoam is a bad thing, while praising the fast food industry for dropping styrofoam.

But I learned not to expect even the slightest bit of consistency from Dyer, a long time ago.

Anonymous said...

@ 10:36 AM - I'm pretty sure 9:33 was referring to Dyer, not the comments.

Robert Dyer said...

11:48: I didn't praise the fast food industry for dropping foam, I only pointed how that they were decades ahead of the County Council in doing so. I guess they are leading from behind. As usual.

Anonymous said...

LOL, trying to have your cake and eat it too, yet again.

Anonymous said...

Drivers are largely ignoring the fact that there's a new signaled crosswalk on Bethesda avenue.
They're actually honking at pedestrians trying to cross there.

Folks are tentative at best driving down woodmont.

The county really should have had an education PR blitz leading up to the opening. A pedestrian is gonna get hit.

Robert Dyer said...

5:20 #2: You are correct - there are several spots where there are potential for accidents when drivers are just being presented with this from out of the blue. The gotcha game has put a lot of people at risk for an inside baseball PR move. Excellent point.

Anonymous said...

"The gotcha game has put a lot of people at risk for an inside baseball PR move."

Please translate this word salad for those of us here who speak English.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Dyer. Could your comments be more absurd?

Anonymous said...

So, as I understand it, before yesterday, Dyer was complaining that the County was taking too long to re-open Woodmont Avenue.

Now that it's finally open, he's saying that the County did it too quickly.

Robert Dyer said...

6:33: That sentence was in English. Perhaps a remedial course is in order.

Robert Dyer said...

7:02: Baba Booey.

Robert Dyer said...

7:09: I've never complained that the County was taking too long to reopen Woodmont Avenue. You must be mistaking me for someone else. However, the public was not given the advance warning about the reopening - in stark contrast to the procedures followed during the aborted opening last August - which put driver and pedestrian safety at risk.

Flynn said...

What are the county rules and guidelines for reopening a road? Is there a required notice period?

I agree some notice would be nice, but it's still standard driving and road rules after all. Not like we aren't supposed to know most of this stuff already. :)

Anonymous said...

I guess I don't quite understand what "advance warning" is needed for reopening a roadway. What was it exactly that motorists were unable to figure out on their own, or from the signs that were there?

Robert Dyer said...

Flynn & 6:29: If there is no advance notice required, why did the County put electronic signs around town 2 weeks in advance for this exact same road opening last August (before it was aborted at the last minute)?. Was that just a waste of energy and taxpayer funds, or was it necessary? They can't have it both ways. I believe a warning was required, as the pedestrians being nearly struck there since it opened might be able to tell you. Drivers were honking because they didn't know there was a new crossing there all of a sudden. Cars will be coming from unexpected directions. Yes, that requires advance notice.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have a reference to the rules and regulations? Versus just conjecture at this point on what the county is and is not required to do.

Flynn said...

Holy crap the designer of that woodmont exit should be shot - the windy tight space is terrible.