Friday, August 25, 2017

Wheelchair-bound man is first pedestrian victim of Apex Building sidewalk closure

Pedestrians walk into oncoming
traffic in front of the Apex Buildin
The dangerous sidewalk closure in the 7200 block of Wisconsin Avenue in downtown Bethesda has been in place for about a month, and at least one pedestrian has already been struck. An elderly man in a wheelchair was hit by an SUV at the intersection of Wisconsin and Elm Street on August 4. The man was "barely tapped," and uninjured in the incident, according to Montgomery County 2nd District police commander Captain David Falcinelli. 

To be clear, if a pedestrian is struck walking on the side of the road, or that intersection where the sidewalk and crosswalk are closed, they almost certainly will be the one at fault in a crash. Indeed, the elderly man was determined by police to be at fault in the August 4 incident, even though he was reportedly in a crosswalk area when he was struck. Jaywalking (or jayriding) is against the law, and unlike the County Council, most of us accept that we must follow existing laws or work to change them.

But County and State officials know that impatient pedestrians are going to enter the road along closures like this (as we've seen on Fairmont Avenue years ago), rather than cross the street and cross back again later. Traffic engineers know human behavior, and that is often factored into pedestrian design decisions. 

Yet the closure was allowed to happen anyway, rather than requiring a covered pedestrian walkway along Wisconsin Avenue. If you think it's inconvenient to cross Wisconsin Avenue twice to get around this closure, imagine how difficult it is for a disabled person, such as the man struck in this case. Such walkways are specifically utilized to avoid discriminating against the disabled in construction zones.

The very few apologists out there for the Council (the majority of whom work for the Council) will grasp at the straw of noting this is a state road. In reality, the County has not enforced its so-called sidewalk closure law on its own roads such as Fairmont. Numerous sidewalks along County roads in downtown Bethesda have been closed this year, with no action by the County. Many have not even displayed the required sign displaying the term of the closure. 

The County Council has utterly failed to protect pedestrians in construction zones.

77 comments:

Anonymous said...

August 4?

Anonymous said...

This is a breaking news site 5:51 AM

Anonymous said...

"he was reportedly in a crosswalk area when he was struck."

If he was just crossing the street, then what does this have to do with the sidewalk closure?

Anonymous said...

Could you link to the County's sidewalk closure law, or post the text of it here, Robert? I'm trying to understand how it has supposedly been violated.

Anonymous said...

Personal responsibility. The decision is up to you whether to follow the sidewalk closures or take on the risk of accident or injury. HIS CHOICE.

Riff Rafferty said...

These people are making a choice to walk in the street. There are multiple options for them to take a detour around this area of construction. You're making a fool out of yourself by continuing to harp on this particular point!

Anonymous said...

Did you ever contact the developer or the demolition contractor to ask them why they need to occupy the sidewalk and one lane of traffic, Robert?

Anonymous said...

No, he is gonna wait for that random twitter guy to do something about it so he can report that "many" are up in arms over the closure.

Anonymous said...

"An elderly man in a wheelchair was hit by an SUV at the intersection of Wisconsin and Elm Street on August 4. The man was "barely tapped," and uninjured in the incident, according to Montgomery County 2nd District police commander Captain David Falcinelli.

"The elderly man was determined by police to be at fault in the August 4 incident, even though he was reportedly in a crosswalk area when he was struck."

So, he was crossing the street at Wisconsin and Elm. Was he crossing with or against the light? How was this shown to be related to the sidewalk closure?

Anonymous said...

@ 6:28 AM - Good points. The article doesn't even indicate what side of the intersection the person was crossing.

If it's "in the crosswalk area", that sure sounds like it wasn't in the lane of traffic next to the closed sidewalk, or even crossing the closed portion of Elm Street.

Anonymous said...

Robert you're just as guilty as the people you despise. You do slanted, one-sided, biased reporting. Just because you hate the county council doesn't make your interpretation of events right. You're so narrow minded that you can't objectively discuss news. It's really sad. It's OK to have an agenda but not when it causes you to slant and misinterpret every fart that happens in Bethesda and the county.

Anonymous said...

@ 6:37 AM - It seems that only the crosswalks on the north and east sides of that intersection would be open and thus legally considered a crosswalk.

Another possibility is that it is the section of Elm Street east of Wisconsin Avenue, between Ruth's Chris and PNC Bank, which does not relate to the sidewalk closure in any way.

Anonymous said...

Wow, not a single positive comment today. Where are the attaboys at?

Robert Dyer said...

7:04/6:28: The police said he was in the crosswalk in a closed area. None of the other crosswalks are closed besides the Wisconsin/Elm on the Apex side of Wisconsin.

7:14: If you want to see attaboys from the corrupt County Council to their friendly house organ media outlets, just check the councilmembers' Facebook pages.


Sample headline:
"Hans Riemer buys new sport coat - and it's spectacular!!!"

Anonymous said...

Trumped up reporting.

Anonymous said...

Elm Street is closed, so there would be no turning traffic. How did he manage to get hit by a car, if he was "in the crosswalk"? Given that he was judged to be at fault, was he crossing against the light?

Boyce Bowles said...

Folks could turn onto Wisconsin southbound from the other side of 355.

Terrible to see what Robert had warned about is happening. Is anyone home in Rockville at the Council? Stop this madness before someone gets killed.
This is life and death...not a partisan issue!

Anonymous said...

"...noting this is a state road."

Which pretty much invalidates your entire argument.

"The very few apologists out there for the Council"

You mean the "very few who agree with your constant defamation of public officials." I have seen absolutely no comments supporting your extremely hateful statements (but plenty of rational counterarguments debunking your claims) on your own blog, so it's safe to say that the extreme majority of the county is in disagreement with you.

I agree that nobody particularly likes the county council and people clearly want some fresh blood, but please don't equate yes votes for term limits with your ad hominem attacks and defamation.

Anonymous said...

Dyer says he wants more corporate business, but at the same time he strongly supports nanny state regulations and chastises the county for not strictly enforcing them. You can't have it both ways.

Maloney Concrete said...

This is dereliction of duty by the County Council.

This Council is historic in it's inaction. No Council in the modern era has accomplished so little. We need Bethesda representation on the body.

Anonymous said...

Big, big fail by the County.
Tragic, but preventable. Dyer is trying to save lives.

Anonymous said...

https://www.facebook.com/HansRiemer4/

I do not see this sport coat headline.

Anonymous said...

A pedestrian was struck and killed on the Garden State Parkway in Sayreville, NJ last night. Would it be "grasping at straws" to say that the Council isn't responsible for that, either?

Dyer wants us to elect him to the Council, yet he apparently has no concept about what the job actually entails.

Anonymous said...

Boys Balls - If Elm Street is closed on the west side, there could not be any turning traffic to or from there.

Also, IIRC, left turns are prohibited from southbound Wisconsin to eastbound Elm, leaving the right turn from northbound Wisconsin to eastbound Elm as the only legal turn at that intersection.

Derp Derp Derp

Boyce Bowles said...

8:02am We can all agree that if Dyer was on the Council, downtown Bethesda would have more oversight.

He wouldn't have let this unsafe mess stand.

Anonymous said...

7:52am there's a pattern of a lack of Council oversight. Leland Street closed with no due process. This sidewalk was closed with no notice or signage as required under the Council's own sidewalk law.

Anonymous said...

7:50am Dyer disagrees with Council policies. He doesn't attack them personally like the Anonymous nut here.
Big difference!

Anonymous said...

Wonder if Dyer paid the AA man in the Steeler garb who is always begging for money outside the BofA in a wheelchair to get "hit" in front of this building?

Anonymous said...

@8:25 - Does the Council's sidewalk law apply to non-County roads?

But you're correct about the lack of oversight on the Council. I ordered a cheeseburger with no pickles from McDonald's the other night. You know what I found when I opened the wrapper? Three warm pickles! WHERE IS THE COUNCIL??!?!!?

Anonymous said...

Dyer hardly ever goes to downtown Bethesda. I doubt there would be much oversite from him.

Anonymous said...

My God, all of our main arteries wouldn't be covered under the "Sidewalk Law" then. Big miss.

Anonymous said...

8:43am lol...most of Dyer's content is Downtown Bethesda related. 24/7 coverage of our wonderful Downtown!

Autonomous said...

What I don't understand is why the county allows this unsafe situation while also spending money on parking lot and pedestrian safety ad campaigns.
Seems hypocritical.

Anonymous said...

@8:58

ju-ris-dic-tion (n): the extent of the power to make legal decisions and judgment

Anonymous said...

To all the haters who comment negatively on this blog on a regular basis: why do you bother to read this blog if you despise what the author is writing? Maybe you have nothing better to do with your time, but I enjoy reading it and your comments are just annoying.

Anonymous said...

All you Dyer-fanboys are missing the point and jumping on his bandwagon of absurdity. There are ways to avoid walking in the street, it's called a detour. It happens when roads are worked on too. If a road is torn up and you drive through and mess up your car, is that the County Council's fault too? Follow the traffic/pedestrian lights, markings, and signs, and you won't have problems.

Robert Dyer said...

9:06: For a County Council that constantly weighs in the Trump administration, and just lost in court for contradicting state law on pesticides, they seem to know very little about what "jurisdiction" means.

Anonymous said...

@9:35 - So you cite an example of the Council overstepping its bounds -- and losing -- as evidence that the council should overstep its bounds in some other area? The mental gymnastics here are really impressive.

Anonymous said...

Dyer Logic > Logic > Anonymous Logic

I remember Giffords said...

After weeks of warnings, our elected officials turn blind eye to dangerous situation. Then handicapped man gets struck.

Bastards!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for highlighting the dangerous illegal pedestrian jaywalking. Bethesda police should really enforce this dangerous violation more frequently!!!

Anonymous said...

10:32am Don't blame the Council's failures and lack of leadership on our heroic police force.

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, that man ventured illegally into the street and received a ticket!!!

What is this world coming to???????????????????????????????????????

Next they'll arrest bank robbers! Where does this end????????????

Anonymous said...

"they seem to know very little about what "jurisdiction" means."

And you're clearly unaware of the definition as well.

Anonymous said...

1) Three weeks old.

2) Dyer still can't demonstrate a connection between this incident in a crosswalk, and the closed sidewalk. Was the person crossing against the light?

3) Dyer still hasn't posted or linked to the law regarding sidewalk closures.

4) Dyer still hasn't contacted the developer or the demolition contractor to explain why it was necessary to occupy the sidewalk and one traffic lane.

5) Dyer still hasn't explained how #3 relates to a state highway such as MD 355.

Anonymous said...

Robert Dyer is my hero. He is the biggest troll on this blog. Throw up some half heated facts and stirs them into a big ol' pile of shit and calls it "news". Keep up the good work sport.

Anonymous said...

"Dyer disagrees with Council policies. He doesn't attack them personally"

LOL bullshit.

Anonymous said...

Dyer sez "Fortune 500 HQ's good; 'Wall Street' bad."

LOL

Anonymous said...

If you want reheated county press releases, there are other sites for that. We're here for Dyer's enterprising journalism.

Anonymous said...

4:21 PM - How many more Attaboys do you have to give Robert before he lets you use the microwave?

Still waiting for Robert to show how this pedestrian accident that happened three weeks ago in the crosswalk of Elm Street, in which the pedestrian was ruled at fault, is actually related to the sidewalk closure.

Anonymous said...

Marc Korman (our state rep) is working with MD-SHA on the closure issue. When I drove by on Thursday afternoon, Wisconsin Avenue was open (so the lane wasn't taken) _and_ the sidewalk on Wisconsin was open, however the Elm Street crosswalk was fenced off.... so you still can't cross Elm on that side of Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

Robert, could you contact someone and find out if the closure was related specifically to the move of the Community Paint & Hardware building? The timing suggests that it might be.

Robert Dyer said...

6:00: The accident occurred August 4, when the sidewalk and lane were closed.

Anonymous said...

I stubbed my toe on August 4. That doesn't mean that it had anything to do with the sidewalk closure.

Anonymous said...

In which crosswalk was the pedestrian crossing, and what directions were he and the driver heading? I'm still trying to visualize where this is in relation to the sidewalk that was closed.

Robert Dyer said...

6:07: Originally, the closure was to last 6 consecutive months. We'll have to see if they are now modifying that or not to when they are actually doing work that requires a closure for safety reasons. The County and Council admitted before that they didn't even know what Carr was doing, despite being a partner with them in P3 for Purple Line. So poor communications from the County are not surprising here. We're left to guess what's happening while the Council is asleep at the switch.

Robert Dyer said...

6:33: The victim was in a crosswalk on the Apex side at Wisconsin and Elm, so must have been in process of trying to jayride around the obstruction there when hit by SUV.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you have the right crosswalk, Robert? If he had been in the crosswalk along Wisconsin Avenue that crosses Elm Street, there is no way he could have gotten hit by a car, as there is no crossing or turning traffic there due to the closure of Elm Street.

Anonymous said...

"We're left to guess what's happening"

Isn't it your job as a journalist to ask what is happening?

Anonymous said...

Robert's last posting in the morning: 11:18 AM EDT

Robert's first posting in the evening: 9:33 AM

Anonymous said...

It doesn't seem that he could have been in the crosswalk if he was on the West side, in which case he was in the road and was hit there, which would be consistent with his being found at fault. Hence the statement that he was "reportedly" in the crosswalk. I reportedly won the Powerball.

The lane closure is a nuisance, and crossing the street only to cross back is a toothache, but if you choose not to obey the law, you're assuming the risk of getting hit.

It's more constructive to focus on the lack of justification for the lane closure than to pretend this accident is evidence of wrongdoing by the Council, assuming they even have jurisdiction over this issue.

Anonymous said...

Sidewalk is still partially closed on Wisconsin. Folks still have to venture into the street...sad to say.

Anonymous said...

7:01PM That sounds like retail.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the County Council candidate debates next fall, when Robert will explain how his experience as a retail serf give him the knowledge and skills needed to snag Fortune 500 headquarters from other states and transform us from a Bedroom Community to a Living Room Community.

Anonymous said...

@5:57 I was hoping for a Champagne Room Community myself.

Anonymous said...

Could this be Robert Dyer's Sooper Seekrit Daytime Jobbie-Job?

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/donald-trump-campaign-offered-actors-803161

Anonymous said...

Saturdays too? Still leaning retail.

Boyce Bowles said...

Robert Dyer is a well established activist in the Bethesda community and a journalist, publisher of several news sites covering MoCo.

Dyer is talking about pedestrian safety, transportation, public safety, economic development, sane development policies and the night time economy.

Meanwhile, "Anonymous" has ad hominem attacks and wants to talk about why he thinks his blog is better than Dyer's Suburban News Network. "Anonymous" believes every post other than his are from Robert and he demands immediate replies from Dyer.

The comparison is striking and "Anonymous" isn't helping his side with his unhinged comments here.

Anonymous said...

Who are you spoofing Boyce Bowles?

Robert can't fight his own battles and needs someone to taunt and insult the big bad anonymous posters who bother him. Isn't that precious.

Boyce Bowles said...

12:34pm Your response proves my point above! Thank you.

Boyce Bowles said...

Robert Dyer is a well established activist in the Bethesda community and a journalist, publisher of several news sites covering MoCo.

Dyer is talking about pedestrian safety, transportation, public safety, economic development, sane development policies and the night time economy.

Meanwhile, "Anonymous" has ad hominem attacks and wants to talk about why he thinks his blog is better than Dyer's Suburban News Network. "Anonymous" believes every post other than his are from Robert and he demands immediate replies from Dyer.

The comparison is striking and "Anonymous" isn't helping his side with his unhinged comments here

Anonymous said...

The county lacks jurisdiction over the sidewalk next to Wisconsin Avenue, but the council effectively approved the closure when it approved the site plan for the project. There's no way for the builder to implement the site plan without closing the sidewalk. The council could have asked about pedestrian accommodations before approving the site plan, but it never asks.

Marc Korman tried introduced a state sidewalk bill in 2016, but it didn't go anywhere. Neither Rich Madaleno nor Susan Lee introduced a bill in the senate. Madaleno was probably too busy writing nasty letters about Larry Hogan's wife. Lee was probably too busy getting her picture taken. With that said, the state seems to have a higher bar for closing pedestrian access. There have been projects along Wisconsin for which the county happily closed sidewalks and lanes on county roads for projects while the state insisted on covered walkways.

The county's sidewalk bill is feckless. The original version made it harder for DPS to close sidewalks and required developers to post signs and answer calls about the closure. The final version set no standard for sidewalk closures and made the county responsible for placing signs and answering calls. Wonder how that happened. DPS doesn't even adhere to the requirement or its own policy on sidewalk closures. See Pages 6-7 of this document: https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DOT-Traffic/Resources/Files/MCDOT%20TTCP%20Guidelines%20and%20Requirements%20(2015).pdf. Those things almost never happen. In practice, the DPS grants 18-month permits even when building delivery is scheduled for less than 18 months.

The county acts as if developers are doing it a favor by building in Bethesda. The council and DPS act as if it's a marginal property. Bethesda needs development, because a lot of the land in the CBD is underutilized. But the county rarely holds out for a good deal and instead lets developers dictate terms. There is very little public space in downtown, and it is neither car nor pedestrian friendly.

Anonymous said...

Agree with 7:32PM. I've never since a Planning Board that tries so little to negotiate better deals with developers. Our local municipalities drive harder bargains with developers via their planning boards than MoCo does.

Anonymous said...

Boyce Bowles, you are just another anonymous poster, complaining on a blog.

Rugby said...

Dyer is doing what the council and the betsy beef should be doing, providing cold hard facts.

Anonymous said...

@9:31 PM: The Planning Board seems to be doing the will of the council, given that the Council almost always approves the Planning Board's recommendations.

Anonymous said...

Rugby,
Are you having a baaaaa-d day?