Saturday, August 05, 2017

MoCo's secret move to close Leland St. backfires in Bethesda back alley (Photos)

Montgomery County's stealth move to close off Leland Street to traffic from Woodmont Avenue with no public process has backfired. The closure has simply moved the problem over to the residents of Strathmore Street, where cars are now turning into a back alley that connects Woodmont to the same road drivers were trying to reach via Leland: Bradley Boulevard.

Of course, the alley has none of the expensive traffic islands County taxpayers paid to install on Leland, only to have the street closed off, rendering the traffic "calming" measures moot. Therefore, the impotent dunderheads of the County Council have once again put the public at risk with another cheap "war on cars" move. Heckuva job, Brownie!

56 comments:

Anonymous said...

Robert, are you peeping into those apartments on Strathmore?

Anonymous said...

Two cars. LOL

How do you know they weren't residents or visitors of the apartments?

Gladys Kravitz said...

Abner!!! There's something going on at the Stephens' house!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but now the Council is running DOT and making these tiny-ass engineering decisions? How is it possible that you ran for the position, yet have no idea what the Council does? I'm being serious.

Anonymous said...

Keep on this story. I've contacted the county council and DOT to address this issue. These residents want all the benefits of city living including high home values without any of the accompanying downsides. This public street should be for all to use. I plan to incorporate this street into my daily commute as protest and I encourage others to do the same.

Bethesda majority said...

After huge concessions to the few residents of Leyland...round abouts, expensive wall sound barriers, special landscaping, honking huge median strips on Woodmont etc....the county has shut down one of the only release valves to all the parking lots and grid lock they created on Woodmont. Of course Leyland's 20 homes are exempt from the mess. Does the entire rest of Bethesda ever get a say or do we just pay for it in time and $? If Leyland owners want to live on a segregated quiet cull de sac they could move out of BETHESDA.

Are these repeated stealth encrochements on all of our rights legal?
Has the county forgotten the overwhelming tax base?
What's next shutting down Miller again? Strathmore?

The county should be required to have hearings and undo the secretive compounding errors.
We could just seal off Leyland at Bradley and scrap all the mess. Another bad idea but at least Leyland residents would gain perspective.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want to guess from which apartment at the Solaire this picture was taken?

Anonymous said...

"...round abouts, expensive wall sound barriers, special landscaping, honking huge median strips on Woodmont etc."

You don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

Public funds for public streets should be available to the public. I consider this a civic contribution of Mr. Dyer and wonder why anyone would attack this posting. I am increasingly concerned with the power of County Council to arrive at "solutions" that are not widely reviewed and publicized before enacted. Keep up the scrutiny on behalf of taxpayers please!

Anonymous said...

" County Council to arrive at "solutions" that are not widely reviewed and publicized before enacted."

Do you and Mr. Dyer honestly believe that the council thinks up, approves and implements every single traffic engineering decision?

Cav_Grad said...

Yep, I'll be using this alley. Lived here for years but never knew about driving in it until now. Truly news we can use :)

Seems like a lot of stuff (traffic/ped) happening in downtown Bethesda without input from actual downtown residents. Closing an entire street to traffic usually requires notice. Heck, at least put a sign up saying you're closing it.

Anonymous said...

8:22AM Excellent post. I wonder the same.

Anonymous said...

Oh thanks for the tip on the cut through, robert!

Anonymous said...

Seems like it would be a lot easier to take Arlington than to use those weird and illegal shortcuts between Woodmont and Bradley.

Anonymous said...

Commuters are prevented from whizzing down a quiet residential street in the middle of a neighborhood with a plethora of transit alternatives. And this is supposed to be a bad thing?

Anonymous said...

@11:35 The street didn't allow turns 4-6pm before the closure, so there wasn't much commuter traffic. I live in Bethesda and used it frequently since it's a good way to get to Bradley and avoid the Wisconsin/Bradley intersection mess, and also the Bethesda Ave/Arlington mess.

I live on a street that people who are not residents use, and I understand that comes with the territory, since streets are a public good. Leland street should be also.

I wrote to BUP and MoCo highways and no response. I'll file a 311 request now. Robert, did you file one also? Curious what they said, if anything.

Anonymous said...

This is a great tip, thanks for sharing, Dyer!! Now I know where to cut through!

Anonymous said...

Great! I was wondering what to do now, thanks to Robert I have a new cut through.

Anonymous said...

Two photos of the same two cars entering the alley, both of whom are probably residents of the apartments on Strathmore Street.

Anonymous said...

The residents on Leland Street are selfish. Some have built monstrosities encroaching on the Capital Creacent Trail--I'm speaking of the one in particular with the garage just a stone throw away from the trail and cut down all the trees to build a stone fence that doesn't hide their garage which is the size of some homes. And others want to live close to downtown Bethesda, be won't handle the traffic or noise.

Anonymous said...

The council didn't do this - the Montgomery County Department of Transportation did. Contact them with your comments.

Tim said...

3:30pm I'd hope our councilman is looped in on major traffic/road projects in his district.

He's representing us and should be serving the interests of the Bethesda community.

Anonymous said...

Is there a legal requirement for a public process or notification?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't call this a "major" traffic project. Some folks here need to develop a sense of perspective.

Baaaaaaa baaaaaaa boooey

Anonymous said...

Agreed! Public streets are for the public...

Anonymous said...

Closing access to this street and closing a lane and entire sidewalk on Wisconsin are big deals.

Residents need to have input and notification.

Anonymous said...

Did Robert Dyer ever contact the company that is demolishing the Apex building so that they could explain why they needed to occupy the sidewalk and one lane of traffic during the demolition?

Did Robert Dyer ever contact the State Highway Administration, to ask them their policies relating to such closures?

Anonymous said...

As a pedestrian who walks the Leland/Woodmont intersection on a daily basis, I appreciate the closure very much and have found that other pedestrians/people with children do as well. The cars who cut through Leland to Woodmont actually have to stop without running us over! There are constantly police at that intersection due to the commuters disregard for public safety. This is a big win for pedestrians!
THANK YOU, MOCO!

Anonymous said...

"The cars who cut through Leland to Woodmont actually have to stop without running us over."

I don't understand this comment. The complaint is that there's no right turn, ever, from Woodmont to Leland. How does that force cars to stop when they're going from Leland to Woodmont?

Anonymous said...

It doesnt. Not sure what point they were making. This change had nothing to do with pedestrians anyway. It was all about reducing traffic for the 20 houses on Leland while inconveniencing the rest of Bethesda.

Anonymous said...

@7:53pm: Can't and wouldn't want to speak for Dyer, but so far it looks like the developer needs the curb lane next to the Apex building because it needs a place to park equipment when it's not in use.

Also, it's wrong to focus on the street and sidewalk closure near the Apex building. It's merely a data point illustrating a bigger problem: Neither the County nor the State is very thoughtful about the public spaces in Bethesda. Both are more than willing to give them away.

Anonymous said...

So do you think residents on the alley can call moco and get some restrictions put on it - no, because only Leland residents are special enough. This alley is tight as it is (especially with the retail trucks and dealership overflow parking here) that the county just made a new and worse problem. At least Leland was made to handle traffic as compared to an alley.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why Bethesdian drivers need either of those streets as a shortcut to Bradley. Just use Arlington Road.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer wouldn't tolerate such cut-through traffic on HIS street.

Johanna Ambrogi said...

👍

Bethesda majority said...

DOT takes its orders from Leland. If you need to drive from lot 9 to LittleFalls/Bradley/River/Mass/MacArthur via Arlington Rd. You face tons of lights and much more pedestrian traffic. Do you think rerouting cars toward one or two additional crossings of The Crescent Trail is pedestrian friendly? Clearly it's the opposite.

Anonymous said...

"If you need to drive from lot 9 to LittleFalls/Bradley/River/Mass/MacArthur [i.e., Westbard] via Arlington Rd."

More people live on the block of Leland between Woodmont and Bradley, then fit the demographic you describe. The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Just like the needs of the future passengers of the Purple Line outweigh the needs of two dudes in Chevy Chase who like to run on gravel.

Anonymous said...

@6:28 Elm Street is already closed to traffic entirely for the construction project, so can't the developer of Apex use that if they need to park equipment?

Often with these street closures, I see it being used as free parking for the pickup trucks of constructions workers, like the section of Old Georgetown by Tyber Bierhaus (now re-opened) and Hampden Lane across from the liquor store (finally re-opened also).

Anonymous said...

I agree the needs of the many outweigh the few.
What's the logic for Leland again?

Anonymous said...

I think the back and forth here shows why we need public discussion *before* a move like this is made. We could hear what case (if any) Leland has for this closure and disruption for the wider Bethesda community.

Residents are desperately looking for leadership on these quality of life issues.

Anonymous said...

CASH ME OUSSIDE OLD SPORT HOW BOW DA?

Anonymous said...

Glad they fixed the Leland cut through. Sounds like the county should block off Strathmore from cut through now too. Especially since it's now been published letting everyone know about it.

Anonymous said...

Leland already had traffic calming methods in place before the closure (the island in the center half-way down the road) so there should not have been an issue with speeding. The road was short and bumpy enough that people would have a tough time going over 30mph (the speed limit) on that stretch anyway.

So I see no good reason for this to be closed. We also have not heard of any serious incidents on this road, like collisions with major injuries.

Anonymous said...

@10:42: It's probably more convenient to park the equipment on Wisconsin, because they don't have to commute all the way from Elm.

I wonder why DPS thinks the County should forgo the meter and ticket revenue on county roads so that construction workers can have free parking. If workers are parking in a closed lane while work is going on overhead, it seems clear the roadway could be left open for traffic or used for pedestrians.

And the County gives away our sidewalks and roads for free. There's no charge whatsoever. Meanwhile, a delivery person who lets a meter expire for a minute gets hit with a ticket that costs half a day's pay. It doesn't seem equitable.

Anonymous said...

Agreed. Leland already had many restrictions and calming measures. Makes no sense to close it off entirely.

Anonymous said...

I'm fine with Leland being closed as long as the county stops doing plowing or maintenance on the street. If you want a private driveway, pay for a private driveway.

Anonymous said...

Is there a fee developers have to pay for a sidewalk closure?

Anonymous said...

"I'm fine with Leland being closed as long as the county stops doing plowing or maintenance on the street. If you want a private driveway, pay for a private driveway." -- I love this comment!

Anonymous said...

To the commenter who thinks you should just use Arlington - Arlington is congested. The lights aren't timed well. And that's without lane blockages by Euro Motor Cars.

The road diet on LFP also creates backups, so Leland was a way to avoid them. And to avoid a CCT crossing.

These decisions are exacerbating already-aggravated driving conditions in Bethesda, even as half a dozen new condos go up, which will put still further pressure on the roads.

The island in the middle of Leland forces drivers to slow down. There is no excuse for blocking the road.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip on using Strathmore. Keep up the good work, Robert!

Anonymous said...

I was pissed about the Leland cutoff too but now that I know I can use Strathmore it's about the same drive time for me to cut through.

Anonymous said...

It seems the County has already responded to Leland residents' concerns with several traffic calming measures, of course at a significant cost on the County taxpayers, on a very small stretch of road. This concentration of spending to benefit a very few residents is notable.
To then block through traffic on Leland to the detriment and inconvenience of those that drive into and out of Bethesda, is just plain wrong. Bethesda is an urban area and traffic goes with the territory. If the residents on Leland want to live on a traffic-free street, they should move to a cul-de-sac in the 'burbs.

Anonymous said...

Wow some of these posts are unbelievable. The entitled complaining about a measure to protect pedestrians and cyclists! I work and love in the area - commuters make the right onto Leland then gun it around the blind corner and downhill, without regard for cyclists, pedestrians or residents. The street is still open to traffic from Bradley to woodmont, where visibility is not an issue - this is still a very much public street - the county did this to protect peds and I applaud them for that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the county council for their inquiries to DOT to get this done!!

Anonymous said...

It's great see our council getting things done when others just complain about it.

Anonymous said...

Who says it was done to protect pedestrians and cyclists? We have no way of knowing the motives, because it wasn't done with any sort of process.