Monday, May 29, 2017

Berliner met privately with Westbard developer in Spring 2013

Another sign of what Montgomery County officials knew about the proposed redevelopment of the Westbard area, years before they revealed it to the public, is a 2013 meeting between developer Equity One and County Council President Roger Berliner. In an email from Equity One's then-Executive VP of Development Michael Berfield dated May 2, 2013 obtained by Robert Dyer @ Bethesda Row, Berfield thanked Berliner for meeting privately with him and attorney Barbara Sears a few days earlier.

Montgomery County officials already had advance notice of the redevelopment, as they were legally bound to sign off on the 2012 sale of the "Westwood Complex" by Capital Properties to Equity One. That's because Westwood Tower, leased by the Montgomery County Housing Opportunities Commission, was among the properties changing hands. (Equity One is now known as "Regency Centers.")
Equity One found Berliner
so helpful, they used his
letter as promo material
Many in the community questioned why a Westbard sector plan update delayed for over 30 years was suddenly on the front burner. Indeed, my 2012 article on the Equity One purchase noted that Montgomery County suddenly announced it would take up the sector plan, just hours before the sale became public knowledge. 

In response, Berliner himself wrote in November 2014 that, "First and foremost, this plan is not being done 'for Equity One.' as has been asserted by some in the community." Yet Berliner had participated in the private meeting over a year earlier, and according to Equity One, had coached the developer on "the best way to engage the community during this process."
Berliner's chief of staff tweets
an endorsement of the
Equity One-EYA partnership
during a Spring 2014
community meeting
In fact, Berliner's office tipped its developer-friendly hand early, two years before the councilman voted "Yes" with gusto to pass the Westbard sector plan in May 2016. During a Spring 2014 community meeting hosted by Equity One at Walt Whitman High School, Berliner's Chief of Staff Cindy Gibson tweeted approvingly of Equity One's partnership with local developer EYA at Westbard. "Seems like a good choice," Gibson tweeted about the proposed development, which would come before her boss in his regulatory capacity on the District Council for approval.

90 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can't wait until they get rid of all those cookie-cutter gas stations and convenience stores.

Anonymous said...

Is it legal or illegal for a county council member to meet privately with another person?

Robert Dyer said...

6:49: Good morning, Regency Centers.

7:06: Legal, but ethically questionable if residents aren't in the loop yet. Chief of staff tweeting approval of matter over which boss has regulatory approval authority? Hmmm.... There's a line there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

Saying that the EYA-Equity One partnership "sounds like good idea" does not equal "approval of the project".

Robert Dyer said...

7:33: How is it appropriate for the COS to say it's a "good idea?" Berliner is to have no prejudice coming in to the decision-making process. Here his COS is saying it sounds like a good idea. Why?

I also don't recall Berliner announcing this ex parte communication with the developer, an ethical violation Casey Anderson has turned into an art form.

From the Council's own website:

"Ex parte communications are communications made to influence a decision-making official off the record and out of the presence of other parties. Ex parte communications are restricted by State and local law. The restriction against an ex parte communication applies in local map amendments, sectional map amendments and similar proceedings where a decision must be made on a record. Any communication by telephone, email, letter, face-to-face conversation, or other off the record contact, is strictly prohibited. If a final decision by the Council is based on or significantly influenced by matters outside the record, the action may be invalidated."

Can the Westbard plan be invalidated as a result?

#Oops

#LockThemUp

Anonymous said...

Expressing an opinion does not equal "prejudice".

Unlike you Dyer, most people are capable of changing an opinion when new information becomes available.

Robert Dyer said...

7:51: When you are an official with regulatory authority on land use decisions, you're not supposed to express a pre-formed opinion, and you aren't supposed to meet privately with the applicant and not disclose that at the next Council meeting.

Anonymous said...

No comments allowed on "No Justice Tuesday"?

Robert Dyer said...

8:28: It's not a discussion item, just a reminder so somebody doesn't waste time going out there for nothing, and paying inflated parking taxes, er, fees to participate in their own government. Soon to come in June: Having to waive your Fourth Amendment rights to participate in your own government at the Council building! If you don't, you can't sit in on the meeting, testify, meet with your Councilmember, or anything. Experts on violating the Constitution, your Council is, as numerous judges ruling against them have confirmed in recent years.

Anonymous said...

"you're not supposed to express a pre-formed opinion"

Can anyone picture Robert Dyer being able to avoid doing that?

Anonymous said...

true. council should get rid of parking meters so that way i can dump my car there instead of paying for parking at my apt bldg.

i'm with you on this one dyer.

Barwood Sucks said...

Berliner's secret back channel communications with developers...

Where does the Council and staff end and EYA/Regency begin? They're all on the same team against Bethesda residents. Let that sink in for a minute.

Anonymous said...

Where does "Barwood Sucks" end and Robert Dyer begin?

Barwood Sucks said...

Dyer signs his comments with his name.
Nice attempt to change the topic.

Roald said...

The Council staff was cheerleading for EYA at the earliest meetings. Very strange and worthy of investigation.

How much collusion was there?

Robert Dyer said...

#LockThemUp
#BurtMacklinFBI
#FBIinvestigation

Roald Sucks said...

#DidYouEverContactTheFBI?

Barwood Sucks Sucks said...

If you're not actually Robert Dyer or sitting right next to him, then how are you in a position to know how and when he comments?

Barwood Sucks said...

11:08 AM Dyer is active here and other platforms using his own name.

Now, let's get back to discussing the collusion between the Council, the staff and developers against residents.

Are council members allowed to open secret back-channel communications with developers? Is it appropriate?

Anonymous said...

A non story. A meeting is not indicative of corruption. You just want to paint that picture and are narrow minded and interpret everything that way. I hope that area is developed soon. It looks terrible and the plan is not bad.

Anonymous said...

12:26 PM You have to admit, there's a lot of smoke. Worthy of investigating further.

Anonymous said...

12:34. I disagree. The smoke is not smoke. This is a major development that is happening somewhere that NIMBYism is chic and accepted. Dare to speak against and say that you like the plan and you're accused of being a criminal and other things by folks.

Anonymous said...

12:40 PM There really wasn't any support from Bethesda residents for the plan.
Hence the protests in the streets now, term limits enacted, etc.

Candidly, I thought the developer's PR firm would do a better job with astro turf faux support. Shows how deeply unpopular the plan is!

Anonymous said...

There is support for the development. As 12:26 stated, many assume there isn't because the residents in support are not as vocal or have time to get involved in the fight. Working to pay a big mortgage isn't always compatible with protesting and fist raising.

I Remember Gifford's Child Abuse said...

6:24 is correct. Protests are for people who are angry about an issue. People who are happy or content don't bother to come out.

Anonymous said...

7:24 PM & 6:24 PM continue the fiction about phantom support for the plan. Plenty of opportunity for anyone who supported the plan to speak out. There was and is *no* real support from the community. Full stop.

Roald said...

Let us dispense with the notion that there is constituent support for the Westbard Plan. There is none...that's why folks are protesting.

Anonymous said...

"Full stop"

You just outed yourself yet again.

Robert Dyer said...

6:24/7:24: The BS-o-meter is off the scale. You're using the Dan Reed "silent majority" argument, under which a developer cannot lose. Problem is, that's not the way our system works. We have a process, and if you don't participate, you have no input. In fact, even under your fantasy, your concept falls apart.

Had people been so fat and satisfied about the Westbard plan, they would have realized it was under extreme threat of being junked thanks to overwhelming community opposition. Concerned that the Council would listen to citizens and reject the plan, they surely would have turned out in droves to save their beloved plan.

They didn't. Of course, there never was any actual threat to the plan, because the corrupt Council knew how they were voting years in advance, as the above story again shows.

You've never been able to generate any sizable number of actual residents to support the plan. Ever. In any forum. There. Is. No. Support.

Anna Van Horn said...

Term limits is the result of the property tax increase.

Sure, there were folks here and there with other reasonings (like Westbard), but the reason it passed was the vote of all those who pay no attention to most things, but sure as hell noticed the tax going up.

To attribute it passing to anything else is wishful thinking.


Squirrels can’t burp.

Anna Van Horn said...

If people did voice their support, how would you treat them?
That's one place I would not want my real name bandied about amid personal attacks. Possibly from people living right around you.

When something is planned and people agree, they don't comment. People become vocal when they `don't agree. Now, it there comes a time when it isn't going to happen, then you'll hear from those who wanted it in the first place.

That's kind of how it works in the real world.


Rats can't vomit


Anna Van Horn said...

To say that no one wants it is ludicrous. Nothing is absolute.
There are some who just don't care.
There are some who do care, who do want it, yet know they're in the minority and suck it up, but they still want it.

You contradicted yourself in your last sentence. "You've never been able to generate any sizable number of actual residents to support the plan. Ever. In any forum. There. Is. No. Support."

No sizable number does not mean ZERO. It just doesn't.
Exaggerating your cause harms more than it helps.


Rabbits can't fart. (no broccoli for the bunnies-they'll explode!)

Anonymous said...

Read Robert Dyer's comments in support of building freeways right through downtown Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Northwest DC, ("Bethesda Downtown Plan" thread) and that will disabuse you of any notion that he understands public opinion in the slightest.

And then there are those pesky election results from 2006, 2010, 2014.

Anonymous said...

4:50am you're exaggerating the non existant support. Attend some community meetings before claiming that there is support.

Anonymous said...

Berliner still live on Rockville Pike?

Anonymous said...

5:50 AM same line for 5+ years. you need new jokes!

Anonymous said...

Berliner is still on Rockville Pike, right?
As far away from Bethesda as he could get :)

Anna Van Horn said...

5:46AM - You miss the point. They won't show up at community meetings. Some don't care one way or the other, and that's a fact. I'm sorry it doesn't mesh with your views, but people can be apathetic.

To say that *every* homeowner opposes it is ludicrous. Nothing is absolute.
To think otherwise is deluding yourself.


The howler monkey is the loudest land animal. Its call can be heard from three miles away.

Anonymous said...

6:35 AM Bethesda residents aren't as shy as you make them out to be :)
They're among the most educated people in the country and I can assure you, they don't hesitate to speak out.

So, no, I don't believe in your imaginary Westbard Plan supporters yet.
That's too easy of a crutch when a development plan has overwhelming opposition among Bethesda residents.

You probably still think Santa is leaving those gifts out for you :)

Barwood Sucks said...

6:17 AM Last I heard, Berliner still lives on Rockville Pike.

Anna Van Horn said...

6:41AM - I live in Bethesda too :)

You can't believe that even one lone person doesn't care about the plan?
Not one single person?
Every person who has never shown up at a meeting? or not signed their name to a petition?

That's your opinion and you're entitled to it.

But it isn't mine. :)
Everyone always has a gift from Santa under our tree that no one admits to buying.

Robert Dyer said...

6:35: If someone "doesn't care one way or another," why do you claim that somehow translates as support? The planning process (despite the fact that the County Council and Planning Board ignore the testimony) only takes into account those who participate. If you don't care, then you don't care.

But the quantifiable number is, how many participate in the process? The answer was very clear - opposition to the plan is overwhelming. You were unable to show support in numbers at any stage of the game.

Then, to top it off, the civic associations ELECTED BY THE RESIDENTS are one after another voting to donate thousands of dollars to the lawsuit OPPOSING the Westbard plan as adopted.

As befitting someone posting under a fake identity, your talking points are the same as Dan Reed and Casey Anderson (who violated the law on ex parte communications multiple times, including the night when he made his infamous "silent majority" claim at Westland MS - you know, the night when the only speaker in the crowd to support the plan lived near Suburban Hospital).

How is it that you conveniently have the same animosity and hatred toward me as our resident troll, and you just happen to agree with him on every issue?

5:28: No public polling was ever done on the Northwest Freeway, and certainly not anytime recently. Anecdotally, I've been pleasantly surprised by how many millennials have responded favorably to the idea of building the freeway in the last few years. When somebody complains about traffic in downtown Bethesda, they are shocked to find out how they were sold up the river by our elected officials who canceled our master plan highways.

Time may have left you behind, my friend, but fortunately your bosses on the Council have some 1960s bus plans for you.

Anonymous said...

Berliner and his team won- the Westbard Plan passed. Why do they keep up this fiction that there was community support? Admit there was no support and get on with it...you won!

7:05AM The Council's idea of creating a new "dumb" bus system is a big mistake and big waste of tax payers money. The idea of waiting for a bus at a stop and running buses, whether there is demand or not, is going to be like linear broadcast TV in an on-demand Netflix world.

The Council needs to focus on smart, next generation transportation solutions, not looking back to the past with dumb bus service. Keep Ride On for the short term, but invest in the future.

Anna Van Horn said...

Robert, I don't see how you get to that view after what I wrote.
I was under the impression I've been "chatting" with an anonymous poster, not to you.

On one hand you say everyone supports it.
On the other hand you say it "only takes into account those who participate". Which kinda proves my point.
You go thru all this sideways BS, when all I've ever said is that it's ludicrous to insist that EVERYONE has the same view, without exception. Period. Or as you like to say "Full Stop."

Sheesh, you are so paranoid about me. Sad!
I'll continue to have my opinions, you don't scare me off that easily.
Love and bacon, Anna


Oysters can change gender multiple times during their life.

G. Money said...

As someone who is ambivalent about the Westbard plan (the actual plan, not a generic development plan), I've got to agree with Dyer on the point that it doesn't really matter if there's some silent group of supporters - only those who make their voices heard can be listened to.

On the other hand, if there is strong demand for growth in inner suburbs of DC, that is a form of vocal support for further development (or, alternatively, higher housing costs). That support comes from potential residents as opposed to current residents, and therefore inherently doesn't have the same sort of organizational power. But it exists nonetheless. A reasonable outcome would find a balance between the current and future residents, but based on the vocal opposition, the actual plan is too focused on the latter group.

Also, Dyer, people can disagree with you without hating you. I certainly disagree with you on most issues.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has the same goals in mind: better transportation, more affordable housing, safe schools, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Anectdotally, I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of Millennials who respond to the idea of building the freeway"

Sure they did. Did you bother to explain to them the enormous expense and destruction that this would have involved? I doubt it.

https://ggwash.org/view/61890/here-is-what-a-freeway-through-northwest-would-have-looked-like

Anonymous said...

@ 7:16 AM -

"The Council's idea of creating a new "dumb" bus system is a big mistake and big waste of tax payers money. The idea of waiting for a bus at a stop and running buses, whether there is demand or not, is going to be like linear broadcast TV in an on-demand Netflix world."

Wow. All I can say is that you must live an incredibly sheltered life if you don't realize that this is the way that every single bus and rail transit system in the world operates.. And schedules are regularly updated to reflect demand.

Robert Dyer said...

7:49: The demand is certainly there for the residential, especially in the Whitman cluster. But we can't allow demand for something to be the only factor in planning. There's demand for heroin, crack and strip clubs, but we don't allow those legally on Westbard Avenue. The same applies to any other "product" which threatens the quality of life.

We really need to come to grips with the fact that infinite growth is simply not possible. We may have maxed out the population our infrastructure can currently support in many parts of the County. The sooner we accept this fact, the sooner we can plan for the future.

7:57: There would have been little expense, as our very stupid leaders passed up the federal government's offer to pay 90% of the construction costs. So stupid, and now look where we are - the worst congestion in the nation.

#LockThemUp

7:24: I certainly never said "everyone supports it," because the vast majority oppose the plan. We have public testimony, email counts, comments at charettes and public forums, polls, protests, plaintiffs and lawsuit donations.

You also have exclude those who simply support having an improved shopping center, as that is almost everyone in the community. There's no argument about that. But when you throw in the 3000+ people and thousands of new cars, the support evaporates, and you have the overwhelming opposition that is well-documented in all forums and platforms.

The Elon Musk of Bethesda said...

http://www.businessinsider.com/us-cities-with-worst-traffic-2017-3/#1-but-its-probably-no-surprise-that-los-angeles-is-the-most-congested-city-at-45-a-4-increase-from-last-year-10

A quick fact check shows that congestion in DC does suck, but DC is not "the worst congestion in the nation".

Dans Reedmer said...

9 in 10 Bethesdians want to see Robert Dyer run over by a runaway grocery cart filled with cans of cling peaches in heavy syrup, in the sea of asphalt that is in front of the Westbard Giant.

Anonymous said...

I note that the DC metro area is #9 on that list, and all eight of the metro areas that were higher on that list have much more extensive freeway systems than our area.

And in our area, Northern Virginia actually built most freeways that were proposed, yet they have the worst traffic in the area.

Elm said...

8:47 AM The I-270/495 bottleneck ranks above any in Virginia according to those nationally ranked bottleneck lists.

True, it backs up all the way down into Virginia, but it's Maryland that isn't doing its part.

Elm Dyer said...

Link?

Robert Dyer said...

8:47: That's #FakeNews, I'm afraid. Any list that has the DC area as 9th is a complete joke. We have regularly been in the top spot. Nothing much has changed. Errors in the methodology of a particular survey might result in us dropping to #2 for a year, or #3. But not #9.

It's kind of like the Planning Department claiming intersections on River Road aren't failing during rush hour. You can say anything you want, or game the numbers, but it doesn't make it true.

8:59: Ironically, it's the lack of the M-83, Rockville Freeway, Northwest Freeway, North Central Freeway and new Potomac River crossing - along with the utterly stupid idea of routing I-95 onto our Beltway (duh!) instead of through D.C. - that are to blame for the 270/495 junction backup. People headed to a variety of different destinations are being forced to stay on these two roads to get there, because the other routes don't exist.

Anonymous said...

Because the Southwest Freeway really needs all that traffic from Maine to Florida.

The Elon Musk of Bethesda said...

Robert, where is your data if you are going to say I use fake news? Is this just your personal observation? Have you ever driven in NYC, LA, SF, Miami, Portland, Seattle, Honolulu?

I would love a chance to see where you get your data at so I stop using fake news. Until then, I am going to believe you just make up things that contradict your belief.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, do you realize that the Beltway was originally built so that long-distance traffic could bypass the city? It wasn't originally intended to serve primarily suburb-to-suburb traffic.

Robert Dyer said...

9:27: The problem is, they decided to route east coast traffic onto it, instead of the original plan to have I-95 go through D.C. Then we didn't build the Outer Beltway, which would have provided a bypass. Entirely self-inflicted damage.

Anna Van Horn said...

Does anyone honestly think that we wouldn't be in traffic hell if those roads had been built back then?

Don't you think that If built, they'd be just as congested now as our current roads?

Wouldn't the area have built up around them like they did the roads that did get built?

I certainly doubt we'd be driving without traffic problems today just because those roads had built then.

Anonymous said...

I repeat my previous question - why do you believe that traffic would be better if Maine-to-Florida traffic used the Southwest Freeway and the 14th Street Bridge?

Robert Dyer said...

10:03: The areas around the highways are already fully built up. We just don't have the roads that were designed to accomodate that growth running through them.

Robert Dyer said...

10:09: What I can say is that the Wilson Bridge gave out because it was never designed to carry east coast traffic.

Anonymous said...

Dyer wants to build freeways so he can take pictures of cranes. Dyer loves cranes.

Anonymous said...

We need more buses and definitely a purple line! These anti-development/perfectionists are the worst. Robert Dyer you are pretty rude to everyone who disagrees with you and use very poor logic to defend yourself. You'd be a terrible leader as you can't even manage the comments here.

Anna Van Horn said...

11:25AM So, you are saying that if those roads had been built at that time, then today, our roads would be free of congestion?

Anonymous said...

And you're saying that the Southwest Freeway and the 14th Street Bridge would not have "given out" from the additional traffic that went to the Wilson Bridge instead?

Andy Van Slyke said...

The comments here are the only place on Earth that folks will argue that the I-270 spur is not the worst daily traffic jam in the DC area.

Anonymous said...

How would building the M-83 have reduced congestion at 270 and 495?

How would routing I-95 through downtown DC have changes anything? I-95 is currently routed on the opposite side of town.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer wants to build a freeway just a block away from Deborah Vollmer's house.

Tastee said...

If we build Roberts highway, is it going to let more of MS-13 into Bethesda?

Anonymous said...

That's funny. 11:37 wins the Internet today.

Anonymous said...

M-83... MS-13... same difference.

Anonymous said...

Most of these comments stray from the topic.

*1. Roger Berliner's meeting with Equity Office more than a year *before* the start of the Westbard planning process: appears to have been an ex parte communication that should have been disclosed. Puts the lie to Berliner's contention that the decision to re-open the Westbard sector plan was not for the benefit of Equity One.

2. Community support for Westbard redevelopment: The 5 surveys that have been conducted show that substantial majorities (70% or more) oppose high density development at Westbard. 2016 surveys showed that 79% opposed the Westbard sector plan and only 3.3% supported it; and that over 90% opposed key aspects of the developer's sketch plan including height/density (too much); green space (inadequate); intrusion into the buffer zone of the Willett Branch stream; failure to bury utilities; and auto access (adverse effects on traffic congestion. Over 80% supported protection of the historic African-American cemetery thought to lie on the Westbard site (2016). These 2016 findings are statistically significant within +/-4% at the 95% level of confidence. So the opposition to the Westbard project is very strong and includes roughly 80% or more of the surrounding community.

3. Term limits: there were many factors including tax increases, unhappiness with the County's control of liquor retailing and unhappiness with the land use planning and approval process. Flash points on the land use front included planning and zoning initiatives affecting Damascus, Lyttonsville, downtown Bethesda and Westbard. Term limits was passed with approximately 70% of the November 2016 vote, after failing twice previously.

Anonymous said...

11:19 PM, again: One more point-- it is worth pointing out that virtually everyone wants to see a new and improved Westbard shopping center. The problem is that most of the surrounding community doesn't like the County's sector plan and the ensuing developer's sketch plan. The County won Round One with the May 2016 approval of the Westbard sector plan. A pending lawsuit could invalidate the sector plan. So far, surrounding neighborhood associations have voted 7-0 to back the lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Who is this weird anonymous posting at 2:19 and 2:28 AM EDT?

Anonymous said...

Since this is the most read blog in Bethesda, unlike that slightly failing magazine, readers are constantly checking the blog to see if there were updates. This is not abnormal, but for a slightly failing magazine it might be :)

Anonymous said...

#covfefe

Anonymous said...

6:00AM - what's your stake in that fight? Why would you care enough to bad mouth another local business? That's what it is, you know. Another local small business.
The author doesn't like them. What's your excuse?

What a mean-spirited thing to do. Shame.

Robert Dyer said...

2:50: Are you sure you read over your questions before hitting "Publish Your Comment?"

M-83 would absolutely reduce congestion on I-270 by diverting a significant amount of upcounty-bound traffic from the interstate to M-83 at the future Watkins Mill off-ramp. Less cars between there and Clarksburg means more capacity.

How do you not understand that removing the I-95 east coast traffic from our Beltway will reduce congestion on the Beltway? Even a gorilla could figure that out.

Robert Dyer said...

3:50: You're thinking of the Purple Line.

12:39: Since they, unlike the Wilson Bridge, were designed at the time with I-95 in mind, I would assume they would handle that traffic as planned.

11:37: I'm not "anti-development."

12:22: Absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Dyer, So, you are saying that if those roads had been built at that time, then today, our roads would be free of congestion?
12:22 PM
-------------------------------------------------------
12:22: Absolutely.

Hahaha. Funny joke.

Development would have followed the roads as they were built, just like it did every other road that WAS built. We'd have different roads, but still congested.

How do you not understand that? Even a gorilla could figure that out.

Robert Dyer said...

8:32: Can you hear what a daft comment you are making? The area around all of these unbuilt roads is ALREADY developed.

Anonymous said...

The area around the proposed path of the Northwest Freeway was already developed when that freeway was first proposed.

Anonymous said...

You are king of the daft comment.

You thinking there'd be no development changes or new development in the surrounding area in the 40+ years from when the road would have been built to now?

Yes, I get it was already developed ALL THOSE YEARS AGO.

And they'd build, alter or renovate the surrounding areas to use the new roads.
And we'd still have congestion.


Robert Dyer said...

11:02: There would have been no congestion with the full D.C. freeway system in place.

Anonymous said...

LOL - Like there is no congestion in Los Angeles?

Anonymous said...

Would have been? What conversation are YOU having?
I'm talking currently and have been this entire time.

Is that the reason for your confusion and why you've been wrong?

Robert Dyer said...

10:23: I can't help you repeat grammar class, but I can tell you that "would have been" covers the period from construction of the freeway(s) through today and the near future. I'm not wrong.

Anonymous said...

Well, I can't help you understand reality but maybe this will help: "You use would have to talk about actions and events that were possible in the past, although they did not in fact happen."

IF those roads had been built, we would still have traffic congestion in the area in 2017.