Monday, February 29, 2016
Assaults on Grosvenor La., Florida St.; drug arrest at Cheesecake Factory + more - Bethesda crime update
Drug arrest. Wisconsin Avenue at Old Georgetown Road.
Theft. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Burglary. 4300 block East-West Highway.
Theft. 4300 block East-West Highway.
Vehicle burglary. 4700 block Bradley Boulevard.
Assault. 6800 block Florida Street (Chevy Chase Section 3).
Theft. 5500 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Theft. Capital Grille.
Assault. 5700 block Grosvenor Lane.
Burglary. 11700 block Parklawn Drive (Pike District).
Assault.. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.
Drug arrest. The Cheesecake Factory (Westfield Montgomery Mall).
Theft. 11700 block Parklawn Drive (Pike District).
Theft. 12000 block Parklawn Drive (Pike District).
Vehicle burglary. 8800 block Honeybee Lane.
Petition and thoughts on how to make now-deadly River Road/Pyle Road intersection near Whitman safer
Maryland's State Highway Administration was not commenting to media the day after the crash, but the agency has in the past dismissed calls to signalize the intersection. A Change.org petition has been launched to ask them to reconsider the possibility.
The intersection lies not far from another traffic signal, at River and Wilson Lane. During rush hours, cars headed towards the Beltway often back up to the Pyle Road intersection and further east. That can create additional hazards in itself, as drivers cross lanes where some cars may stop, but others continue to approach at speed if their lane has room ahead.
The SHA historically has been very judicious about adding signals, and they often have sound traffic engineering reasons to back up their decisions. If the new signal was correctly timed with the others along River, it potentially could be added without impacting traffic flow, which is already poor during rush hours (although with Montgomery County's poor record on syncing its traffic lights, maybe I'm being too optimistic).
If the SHA denies the request again, it's not the only solution. A second option would be to simply close off the existing turn option, by sealing off the median altogether. If there are emergency vehicle access requirements for Braeburn Parkway, for example, it may be possible to install a mountable median that can be crossed by emergency vehicles only.
The SHA could then examine adding additional left turn capacity from eastbound River to Whittier Boulevard, if more students would be funneled into that far safer turn to get to school.
Does anyone else have additional ideas on how safety could be improved at this River Road/Pyle Road intersection? Add your thoughts in the comment section below:
Sunday, February 28, 2016
Theft. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Stolen car. 5400 block Burling Road.
Vehicle burglary. 4900 block Cumberland Avenue (Somerset).
Stolen car. 4800 block Dorset Avenue (Somerset).
Vehicle burglary. 4900 block Dorset Avenue (Somerset).
Liquor arrest. Battery Lane at Old Georgetown Road at 9:00 PM.
Disorderly conduct. 6800 block Wisconsin Avenue at 4:49 PM.
Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.
Theft. 10000 block Sinnott Court.
Theft. 10300 block Old Georgetown Road.
Theft. Democracy Boulevard at Rockledge Drive.
Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.
Theft. Sears at Westfield Montgomery Mall.
Vehicle burglary. 7900 block Longridge Court (Cabin John).
Saturday, February 27, 2016
3 dead in horrific car accident near Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda; Whitman student among those killed
Updated 6:05 AM: The deceased Whitman student's sister Helena, who is hospitalized in critical condition, was or is a Whitman student as well
Updated 5:59 AM: I've confirmed the teenage fatality, Thomas Michael Buarque De Macedo, was a Walt Whitman High School student
Updated 5:51 AM: Accident victims identified, additional details from police
Updated 1:19 AM: Photos added
At least three people are dead after a horrific auto accident on River Road near Walt Whitman High School. Montgomery County Police have identified the three victims who died as Michael Buarque De Macedo, 52 years old, the driver; Alessandra M. Buarque De Macedo, 53 years old, a rear seat passenger; and Thomas Michael Buarque De Macedo, 18 years old, the front seat passenger.
Helena Buarque De Macedo, a rear seat passenger, was transported to a local trauma center with life threatening injuries. Thomas was a student at Whitman, according to several documents, including a list that indicates he was National Merit Scholarship Semifinalist in the current academic year. Helena's name appears on a Walt Whitman Honor Roll as a sophomore in the current academic year.
Police have not yet confirmed Helena's age, but Whitman principal Alan Goodwin last night stated that a Whitman student was in critical condition. Michael and Alessandra Buarque DeMacedo lived with their son Thomas and daughter Helena in the 7000 block of Loch Lomond Drive in Bethesda, police said.
Goodwin confirmed on his Twitter account last night that a "Whitman family" was in one of the vehicles.
The family was in a grey, 2016 Chevrolet Volt traveling east on River Road Saturday night at approximately 6:56 PM, when the driver attempted to make a left turn onto Pyle Road, police said. At that moment, a blue, 2016 BMW M235, driven by Ogulcan Atakoglu was traveling westbound on River Road. The vehicles collided. Atakoglu, 20, was also transported to a local trauma center with non-life-threatening injuries.
According to a source who spoke to a witness at the scene, the Volt heading eastbound toward the District was making a left turn onto Pyle Road, which leads to Walt Whitman. The vehicle was struck by the BMW before it could complete the turn. The eastbound vehicle ended up in a ditch, and the occupants were trapped, according to the witness.
The witness at the scene said the occupants of the eastbound vehicle may have been en route to a play at Whitman Saturday night.
The Whitman Drama website indicates that there was indeed a play, Noises Off, last evening at Whitman at 7:00 PM.
Police have not indicated who was at fault, but an investigation continues.
Initially, before officers arrived to direct traffic, drivers created their own turnaround using the pedestrian crossing of the River Road median just west of Pyle Road:
Stolen car. 4600 block N. Park Avenue.
Stolen car. Willard Avenue at N. Park Avenue.
Stolen car. 5400 block Burling Road at 7:50 PM.
Theft from vehicle. Old Georgetown Road at Maple Ridge Road.
Theft. 10300 block Old Georgetown Road.
Theft from vehicle. 7800 block Coddle Harbor Lane.
Theft from vehicle. 5600 block Alderbrook Court (Pike District).
Enjoy a glass of complimentary champagne and shop for the perfect white dress for your event. For one-stop shopping purposes, local vendors including Ella Letterpress, Bethesda Florist, Blo Blow Dry Bar, Lilly Magilly’s Cupcakery, and Cristina Calvert Signature will be on hand to discuss their products and services.
There will also be free gifts for $250 or $500 purchases, and free monogramming.
|What's more credible - promises,|
or this hard data chart that could
be titled, "Oops!"?
Contrary to Council staff's bizarre dismissal and petulant belittling of the Whitman cluster PTSA's analysis, the hard data in fact supports the PTSA - not the Council staff.
Just examine the above table (click to enlarge). Year after year, just as Wood Acres PTA President Jason Sartori testified, MCPS has utterly failed to predict the correct number of incoming students. "Over the last 14 years, our cluster’s six-year projections — the ones used for capacity planning purposes — have been off by an average of nearly 14%," Sartori told the Council on February 2. "That’s more than 800 students!"
The only instance where MCPS "got it right" was only the result, ironically, of MCPS "getting it wrong" over a decade ago. Enrollment fell below projections at Wood Acres Elementary in the 2015-2016 school year, because many parents decided they didn't want their kids to go to the holding school while an addition was added to the building. That addition, currently under construction, was only needed because MCPS severely under-forecast enrollment when the current Wood Acres building was constructed. Only a few years after the new Wood Acres opened, there were 6 trailers outside to handle the "unexpected" overflow.
And let's not forget the recent, shocking revelation by a Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School parent that a full half of the students there live in multifamily housing. You sure won't get that information from the Planning Board or the Council staff! Then consider that Westbard Avenue apartment and condo buildings generate two to five times the number of students that a building elsewhere in southwest Montgomery County.
Ask the kid who's taking gym class in a hallway at Pyle Middle School if there's plenty of room.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Assault. 7600 block Old Georgetown Road at 11:03 AM.
Theft. 7000 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Theft from vehicle. 6800 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Vehicle burglary. 3900 block Newdale Road.
Theft. 5400 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Drug arrest. Westwood Shopping Center - read full story.
Burglary. 10800 block Montrose Avenue.
Rape. 11200 block Troy Road at 8:22 AM (Randolph Hills).
|Westbard sector plan getting|
rammed through like this truck
"The concern is that the Berliner Option will be viewed as 'the community-approved' baseline for further discussion in the eyes of the PHED Committee and the Montgomery County Council as a whole," Sumner resident Dennis Collins said in an email. Collins has prepared a detailed analysis of both the Planning Board draft, and the Berliner alternative.
"Is the Berliner option for you? NO!" says Save Westbard, a citizen organization seeking to retain the neighborhood's suburban, low-density residential character, in a new email. Citing Berliner's endorsement of urban living, and his promise that Westbard area residents will like it too, Save Westbard asks, "How does his experience have anything to do with our experience? If we liked and wanted to live in a mixed-use development, we would choose to move to Mr. Berliner’s neighborhood."
Collins says Berliner's plan still proposes an "absurd" amount of affordable housing in a location far from mass transit and services low-income residents need. He correctly notes that the current methodology the County uses to measure road capacity and congestion is highly inaccurate (I would add that the inaccuracy is very intentional, to allow more development). Moreover, he argues, the density and building heights Berliner endorses remain out of scale with the neighborhood around it. Collins advocates for a 50' height cap on new buildings, and 35' near existing single-family homes and townhomes.
Overall, Save Westbard and Collins are suggesting limiting the amount of new residential units to the 580 currently allowed under the 1982 Westbard sector plan. It's important to note, that all of the numbers and heights in these various plans are only a starting point. Even at 50', developers can obtain additional height and density using the bonus scheme approved by the County Council.
Also, while Berliner's plan does call for a senior center in the new Westwood Shopping Center, I would personally still like to see a recreation center for all ages somewhere in the plan - and it doesn't necessarily have to be on Equity One property.
The community has done well so far in staying united, and very effectively opposing the Planning Board version of the plan. It should be certain that any final Berliner alternative, which still has to be accepted by his colleagues on the Council, is in line with the desires of the neighborhood before it gets any official endorsement.
We don't want to end up in a situation like the Little Falls Place disaster, where EYA (ironically a partner with Equity One on their Westbard redevelopment project) represented a CCCFH endorsement as a community endorsement throughout the approval process. In reality, not a single public meeting was ever held by EYA on that proposal, as company president Bob Youngentob acknowledged under oath at a hearing before the County hearing examiner.
A narcotics raid took place this past Tuesday, February 23, at Relaxed Nails and Spa in the Westwood Shopping Center on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda. Montgomery County Police are releasing few details on the operation at this time.
Witnesses report that both uniformed and undercover law enforcement officers were involved. A man was seen handcuffed in their custody outside the salon.
While I have obtained quite a bit of information about the incident from eyewitnesses and other sources, police are able to publicly confirm very few of those details at this juncture.
"The Montgomery County Department of Police, at the request of a federal law enforcement agency, assisted with the execution of search warrants in a narcotics distribution case," MCPD 2nd District Commander Captain David Falcinelli said Wednesday. He told me further details would be made public at the appropriate time in the future, and that the community should be assured there is no threat to public safety regarding this case.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Vehicle burglary. 4800 block Edgemoor Lane.
Theft. Barnes and Noble (Bethesda Row).
Drug arrest. Walt Whitman High School at 1:56 PM.
Drug arrest. Westbard Avenue at Massachusetts Avenue.
Theft. 7100 block Democracy Boulevard.
Death. 8300 block Burdette Road at 12:36 PM.
Attorney Emily Vaias represented Toll Brothers at a public meeting on the project last night at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. The property in question currently holds several structures along Wisconsin, Cordell and Woodmont Avenues, including the "Beer House" and a vacant surplus store.
As you can see in the above schematic, there is now going to be retail space fronting the Wisconsin Avenue side of the building (the red colored section). Original developer Douglas Development had planned to rely on the lobby to activate the street along Wisconsin, an idea panned by some in the neighborhood.
In addition to the much-needed added retail, Toll Brothers is also adding more parking. The underground garage will now be three levels. Douglas had counted on a parking exemption, due to the site's location in the urban parking district.
As I previously reported, now that Toll Brothers is taking the building condo rather than rentals, the number of units will decrease to 106, while the square footage of each unit will increase. The typical unit size has not yet been determined, however.
What is known, is that the building will be 39% 1 bedroom/1 bedroom+den, 52% 2 bedroom/2 bedroom+den, and 8.5% 3 bedroom units. There will be 16 MPDUs for affordable housing.
You may recall that County officials obsessed with the foolish Bus Rapid Transit proposal arbitrarily tried to extort concessions from Douglas, holding up the project for many months. Toll Brothers now inherits the building geometry eventually agreed to by Douglas. It's unclear how much of a role the County's interference played in Douglas' sudden sale of the property to Toll Brothers in December.
The architect is still WDG, and the renderings of the building will look familiar to anyone who was following the Douglas iteration of the 14-story building.
Vaias said Toll is going to file the project's site plan, and an amendment, with the Montgomery County Planning Department in the next 30-60 days. She said they hope to have a hearing before the Planning Board in June or July. With timely approvals, construction could begin in the second quarter of 2017.
In other Toll Brothers City Living news, the developer announced last night that its Hampden Row project is now expected to deliver in January 2017.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Seventy-three customers lack power northwest of the intersection of River Road and Wilson Lane, and there are several small outages along the Burdette Road corridor. There are also small outages in downtown Bethesda and south of Wilmett Road. The largest outage, over 300 customers, is near Georgetown Prep.
Potomac west of Falls Road appears to be the hardest-hit spot in our area.
There is a limb down on Little Falls Parkway, and there is standing water on the CVS side of the road on Bradley Boulevard at Arlington Road.
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue services are engaged in a swift water rescue at a notoriously flood-prone spot in Bethesda. A 2008 Toyota Camry is trapped in rising waters at Goldsboro Road and Massachusetts Avenue, according to scanner reports.
Firefighters are asking for police to close off Goldsboro.
Another water rescue is needed for a vehicle trapped in high water at East-West Highway and Sundale Drive.
Assaults on Woodmont Ave., Grant St.; burglaries on Lux/Kittery Lanes + more - Bethesda crime update
Drug arrest. 4500 block Middleton Lane.
Assault. 8600 block Grant Street at 8:00 PM.
Assault. 7700 block Woodmont Avenue at 3:54 AM.
Theft. Marriott Suites (Democracy Boulevard).
Burglary. 6000 block Lux Lane at 12:22 AM.
Burglary. 9100 block Kittery Lane.
Drug arrest. Westfield Montgomery Mall.
Theft from vehicle. 11800 block Grand Park Avenue (Pike & Rose).
Drug offense. 10300 block Strathmore Hall Street at 1:18 AM.
For others, including the future Tara Thai, outdoor patio dining is a major design element. Here, construction continues alongside a mall entrance on an upper garage level near California Pizza Kitchen and Sears.
It appears this new location will be quite a step up from its former storefront at Bethesda Row, and its other nearby location in Spring Valley, in terms of the space.
Meanwhile, the rooms and common areas are also getting a complete overhaul. The hotel will remain open throughout the renovations, and interior work will be staged incrementally, to prevent interference with guests staying at the property.
Renderings courtesy Streetsense
All rights reserved
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Theft. 7300 block Wisconsin Avenue.
Stolen car. 4600 block Jones Bridge Road.
Theft. 5300 block Western Avenue.
Liquor arrest/assault. Walt Whitman High School at 6:08 PM.
Liquor arrest. 6600 block Lybrook Court at 10:59 PM.
Theft. 5700 block Luxemburg Street.
Drug arrest. Lord & Taylor (White Flint Mall).
Theft. Westfield Montgomery Mall.
Sexual assault. 8300 block Snug Hill Lane at 12:40 PM.
The snowdrift pictured here at Westbard and Ridgefield Road last night has been slowly melting away over the last month, but continues to fully block passage in one direction. It also fails to provide ADA-width passage heading up and down Ridgefield. This is at the vacant Manor Care nursing home site, owned by Equity One.
Additional blockades remain on the other side of Westbard between Ridgefield and the first entrance to the Westwood Shopping Center, and - unbelievably - alongside Montgomery County Public Schools property at Westland Middle School on Westbard. These not only block pedestrians, but also block access to several Ride On bus stops. Again, we're talking about 30 days later here as of today, folks.
As you may recall, these are the same blocked sidewalks the Montgomery County Council rode past on a bus on February 5, and did absolutely nothing to address. No phone calls, no public comment, no nothing. Not even from Hans Riemer, the author of the sidewalk shoveling law that cost taxpayers $6,458,000.
Imagine, public servants (although they seem to think that means we serve them) intentionally ignoring dangerous blocked sidewalks that put their constituents - including children, seniors and the disabled - at risk. All the while claiming they are taking mucho acción on pedestrian safety. It's beyond the pale. Yet, you've witnessed it here, thanks to my ongoing coverage of this scandal.
Is this what Councilmember George Leventhal means by "Government that works"? Not surprisingly, no current member of the Council lives in Bethesda.