Friday, July 28, 2017

Deadly Bethesda sidewalk closure returns, with County Council's blessing (Video + photos)

The Montgomery County Council knows that thousands of pedestrians will enter the busy roadway in the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue over (at least) the next six months - and frankly, my dear, they don't give a damn. Despite white knuckle videos like these that were captured last evening in front of the Apex Building, the Council folded like a card table under pressure from the developer and State Highway Administration, allowing the unprecedented closure of the sidewalk and a full lane of the jammed commuter route. After the barricades were removed for a few weeks, they returned Thursday, sending impatient pedestrians into the roadway against oncoming traffic.

Watch a car zip past a pedestrian with inches to spare in the above video. And there's plenty more where that came from. This is an untenable situation, brought to you by the same clowns who claimed they were making a goal of zero pedestrian deaths. Total hypocrisy. Once again, you must pay attention not to what this Council says, but what they do (or don't do, in this case).

The closure is related to the demolition of the Apex Building at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, despite the fact that cities such as New York do not permit such seizures of public sidewalks and roadways during construction. While the County Council claimed to have passed two different laws to prevent sidewalk closures, they have proven to be laws as impotent as the Council itself.
Another near miss; all of these
just within a few minutes on the
first day of the closure




36 comments:

Riff Rafferty said...

Give it a rest Dyer. All these people have to do is cross the street using one of the many marked crosswalks. It's called a detour. If people are too lazy to cross the street, it's their own fault if they get hit by a car.

Robert Dyer said...

The reality is, many pedestrians are going to walk into the street rather than laboriously cross and cross back. The Council knows that, yet they are endorsing the closure anyway, which is morally bankrupt.

Anonymous said...

Walking across the street is hardly that burdensome. If these people want to assume the risk of walking into oncoming traffic to avoid 30 seconds, that's on them not the County

Anonymous said...

point to me where the council endorsed this closure?

Anonymous said...

Walking in the street because your too lazy to avoid a construction area is not germane to the idiots in B-town, you see this in any city were construction occurs. Please get over the self-righteous attitude that government must wipe your backside for every case of flatulence that you encounter. If you want to be a daredevil and risk life and limb, playing auto frogger, by all means leap sucker. But don't whine Mr. D about how the "govemint" otta do something about it. Idiots abound everywhere and cannot be controlled. You can't stop stupidity.

Anonymous said...

So much hyperbole and very little substance. How does Dyer not realize that the sidewalk is closed for public safety? What's deadly is a piece of debris falling on someone.

How is it the county's fault that people choose to disobey a clearly marked pedestrian detour? Is it the county's fault that cyclists don't follow stop signs? Is it the county's fault that people drive drunk and kill people? Is it the county's fault that pedestrians cross a signaled intersection on "don't walk"?

I think the county government is inefficient and misguided in many of their decisions, but I'm tired of hearing every single issue that bothers you being the county's fault. You're like the boy who cried wolf too many times.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that Dyer wants to turn the county into more of a nanny state than it already is

Anonymous said...

They need to just shut that southbound block of Wisconsin until the work is finished.
A driver detour.

That's really the only other option.

Robert Dyer said...

6:57: They haven't spoken out against it, or taken any action. Impotent as usual.

7:19: That's what covered walkways - like they have in Baltimore and New York City - are for.

Anonymous said...

There are conditions where covered walkways are not appropriate. This is one of them. Look it up.

Anonymous said...

http://www.bethesdamagazine.com/Bethesda-Beat/2017/Berliner-Korman-Question-Need-for-Six-Month-Wisconsin-Avenue-Closures-Near-Apex-Building-Demolition/

Anonymous said...

@8:24: Apparently Dyer expects the Council to go completely rogue, ignore the State's authority whenever it sees fit, and body-slam the SHA through the nearest coffee table.

Robert Dyer said...

8:24: That was completely ignored, and the Council hasn't lifted a finger since about the closure.

8:34: They ignore federal law, and even their own County open data law, so why not?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, folks should cross to the other side of Wisconsin. But, in reality the vast majority are not. So, we have pedestrians in a lane of a state highway.

There has to be a better way.

Anonymous said...

"But, in reality the vast majority are not."

When you say "vast majority" what percentage, would you say? Perhaps 78%

Anonymous said...

Funny how this exact condition exists at 7272 Bethesda Avenue and in front the Rugby construction site. No covered sidewalk or barricaded walkway, and pedestrians somehow realize they must use the other side of the street. Obviously a bit of an inconvenience, but would you prefer one while additional lane on Wisconsin be closed for 6 months to allow room to build a temporary covered sidewalk?

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant to type one "whole" additional lane on Wisconsin.

I guess a bigger debate is if they really need all that room on Wisconsin to demo the existing building and erect one 22 office tower and two 30 story residential towers. I would think that a lot of their staging could be on Elm, but then again, I assume that will soon be a very, very large excavation to build the tube for the Purple Line, not to mention the vertical excavation for six elevators and very large scale fire stairs all the way down to the Red Line mezzanine level. They are not building very much parking below grade, but I would image the transit and CCT trial tunnel excavations will be huge and require a parade of trucks to take away the excavated soil and demoed building. The logistics of this caper will be fun to watch, but not so much fun to drive by at rush hours, or to listen to at 3 AM.

Anonymous said...

This is a state road, so a state-permitted closure, but if you look around Bethesda, you'll see very few sidewalk closures that comply with the very weak sidewalk bill the county passed and no closures that comply with the guidelines that DPS developed. It's probably time for a leadership change at DPS. Both developers and members of broader community have legitimate complaints about the permitting process, which current leadership has not fixed. These complaints go to the efficiency and certainty of the process, both of which are seriously lacking.

Anonymous said...

The council approved the sidewalk closure when it approved the project. It did not approve it explicitly, but anyone with common sense would have realized the project was going to require a sidewalk closure. The ex post complaints speak more to the amount of common sense the council has than the commitment to providing pedestrian access.

Wisconsin Avenue is a significant barrier for pedestrians. The other Bethesda site had a good story about it a few months ago.

Anonymous said...

One of the issues with this site, which Dyer keeps ignoring, is that not just the building needs to be removed, but the entire structure spanning the tracks up to the sidewalk. That's why you can't do the demolition completely inside the curb.

Anonymous said...

@6:14: Sometimes progress means temporary inconvenience. The new building will serve generations of Bethesdans. I think we'll survive a few months of sidewalk closure (enacted for the safety of passers-by).

@6:17: Why use common sense when there are hands to be wrung and a rabid anti-"cartel" agenda to be promoted?

Anonymous said...

Warren Street, Manhattan, December 2016. Hardly a "special case terror target".

Anonymous said...

Baltimore, December 2013.

Sidewalk and two lanes of roadway closed.

Robert Dyer said...

6:17: How was there a sidewalk along Wisconsin before the Apex Building existed, if that's true?

5:46: I'm actually in support of this project, especially if they bring back a movie theater tenant in the basement. I don't think we can say the closure is for "safety" if County officials know they sending people into the street.

6:20: Wisconsin Avenue is a major state highway. I'm hard-pressed to think of another project that's been able to close a lane on a major commuter corridor in Montgomery County. I won't claim it's never happened, but I'm having a hard time recalling one.

Anonymous said...

"How was there a sidewalk along Wisconsin before the Apex Building existed, if that's true?"

The sidewalk was then, and is now, part of the roadway bridge. Everything within the sidewalks on Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street that extends over the former railroad tracks/current trail is also on a bridge.

If you look at pictures of the location prior to construction of the Apex Building, you will see a wide cut south of Elm Street through which the railroad tracks crossed under Wisconsin Avenue. All of this is now covered by the Apex Building complex, and the structure over the trail need to be removed when it is demolished.

Anonymous said...

"I don't think we can say the closure is for "safety" if County officials know they sending people into the street."

Have you tried to contact anyone at Carr? They could explain to you why it is necessary to take the sidewalk and one lane of southbound Wisconsin Avenue for the project.

And both they and the State Highway Administration could explain to you that putting a temporary sidewalk there would take one of the two remaining lanes of traffic.

Maybe your energy would be better spent directing those irresponsible pedestrians to cross to the east side of Wisconsin Avenue? Or to consider using Woodmont Avenue instead?

Robert Dyer said...

6:46: Yes, and that is exactly the point I was making - the sidewalk and right lane are not part of the Apex Building. I used to look down at the trains coming out from under Wisconsin Avenue from the sidewalk on the bridge when I was a kid.

6:57: Actually, that's up to the County and law enforcement to direct irresponsible pedestrians. Why do we need a temporary sidewalk, when the sidewalk is already part of the bridge, not the Apex property?

Anonymous said...

You're an idiot, Dyer. You're talking about two different structures. You watched the trains from the roadway bridge.

Robert Dyer said...

7:29: That's exactly why I'm not an idiot - I know that the sidewalk is not part of the structure being torn down.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer, if you stand at the exact same spot from where you watched trains over 30 years ago, you would be looking at the plaza area in front of the former movie theater. That is on a structure that extends over the former railroad tracks/current trail and extends all the way to the curbs of Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Streets, and will need to be demolished to make way for the new building.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the sidewalk on Google Street View, you can see that only the first two feet of it are part of the roadway bridge. The rest is part of the Apex Building structure.

https://www.google.com/maps/@38.982316,-77.0932963,3a,15y,309.04h,84.15t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sX3IQlgoHVY1VRJvECYWh5w!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Anonymous said...

Richard Nixon - "I am not a crook!"

Robert Dyer - "I am not an idiot!"

Robert Dyer said...

8:33: Among other things I have in common with Richard Nixon, we both were victims of massive voter fraud that caused us to lose elections.

Anonymous said...

A lot of investigation has already gone into whether or not electoral fraud determined the outcome of the 1960 presidential election between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, and no one, either at that time or since, has been able to prove that there was fraud.
Even investigations that found that fraud may have occurred, concluded that it would not have been substantial enough to alter the results of the election.
Inspite of all this, the legend that somehow Joe Kennedy and the Daley Machine in Chicago were able to deliver enough fake votes in Illinois to give Kennedy the 113,000 popular vote margin by which he won the White House persists today and is believed even by people whom you would think know better. - NR Ramos

Robert Dyer said...

8:39: It was the fraud in 1960 that directly led Nixon to Watergate, in his attempts to ensure he would not be victimized again. Daley Machine = MoCo Cartel.

Poll watchers will be needed in 2018.

Anonymous said...

Dyer blames Watergate on the Democrats. "Tschootspa", as Michelle Bachmann would say.

If Scaramucci doesn't work out, maybe Trump can hire Dyer.