Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Sidewalk closes at 7900 Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda (Photos)

Let's hope that The JBG Companies will limit this sidewalk closure to the actual demolition of the front of 7900 Wisconsin Avenue (unlike the expansive, open-ended closure down the street at the Apex Building), because pedestrians are already entering the roadway at this location now.
Pedestrians are entering the roadway
to get around the total sidewalk closure
Although police have been seen intercepting jaywalkers at the Apex closure, they are not there around the clock, and the danger remains. With major projects ahead on Wisconsin like the Marriott headquarters and the Toll Brothers' 8008 Wisconsin condos, the chance for significant casualties is high if elected officials don't demand covered sidewalks remain open.


33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Fool in the rain.

Anonymous said...

It's time to start charging for sidewalk and road closures by the square foot and by the day. Unlimited use of the sidewalk and the roadway is currently free for developers. The economic incentive is to monopolize the public spaces for as long as possible, so developers don't have to store their equipment within their worksite or pay for parking. This change should be made at the state and the county levels. Before this change is made, the council should make it a standard practice to press developers on pedestrian accommodations before approving site plans.

Anonymous said...

Is that Bigfoot?

Anonymous said...

Interesting that there is no signage indicating how long it will be closed or contact information.

"Sidewalk law", where are you?

Anonymous said...

Just use the sidewalk along Woodmont Avenue. You don't even need to cross Wisconsin Avenue.

Anonymous said...

The sky is falling!!! The sky is falling!!!

Anonymous said...

The law is there. Enforcement where are you? Seems more fitting to the situation.

Anonymous said...

Good idea and point. I can't wait for this building. The north side of Bethesda could really use improvement. It's a dump now.

Anonymous said...

I'm actually really on board with the idea of a fee being charged for sidewalk closures. And time based charges and late reopening penalties.

Anonymous said...

No umbrella, no raincoat and wearing shorts at midnight in wet, 60 degree weather. Seems like he's not particularly concerned about his welfare.

Anonymous said...

The sidewalk law does not apply to sidewalks along state roads. Marc Korman tried to get a bill through the State House, but there was no interest, not even from Rich Madaleno or Susan Lee.

If you're trying to go from somewhere on Wisconsin to somewhere on Wisconsin, why would you want to take Woodmont? And why should the developer have privileged access to public spaces? Don't we all pay to maintain these spaces? Or do you take the Louise Linton approach to public goods?

The way our county government bends to moneyed interests would make you think we're governed by Republicans, but I think they're just bad at math, business, and negotiation, rather than being malicious.

Anonymous said...

"If you're trying to go from somewhere on Wisconsin to somewhere on Wisconsin, why would you want to take Woodmont?"

You're assuming that everyone who walks along Wisconsin started out somewhere on Wisconsin and is going to somewhere on Wisconsin.

Anonymous said...

@8:24AM: I'm not assuming that at all. I'm just offering a scenario where it makes absolutely no sense to take Woodmont. I also suspect that my scenario is much more likely, because there's considerably more density on the southbound side of Wisconsin than there is on Woodmont in that part of town.

Anonymous said...

Will JBG hire police to monitor?

Of course, there's not much monitoring at the Apex site, despite the developer PR. Rush hour last night had plenty of pedestrians in the street and no enforcement. Same at this site.

Anonymous said...

Oh noes!!! Wait until the sidewalk in front of the Marriott HQ is closed.

Anonymous said...

As annoying as the sidewalk situation is, I do feel that it's merely a small inconvenience to walk to the other side for a while given the benefits we gain. I can't wait for these to improve Woodmont Triangle. It looks so sad and old now.

Anonymous said...

@8:45AM: 7900 Wisconsin is a very nice building, but it's a fallacy that you have to choose between development and insisting that developers minimize the impact of demolition and construction on the surrounding community. It would be nice to see a reasonable effort made to minimize disruption. Perhaps JBG will make that effort. I hope it does, because businesses that depend on foot traffic are affected by these closures. Studies have shown that people try to avoid crossing streets, with wider streets creating virtual barriers. Bethesda Magazine had a story about the effect Wisconsin Ave has on foot traffic in Bethesda a few months ago.

The sidewalk in front of 7900 was closed last night. There's no work going on there today. Is that reasonable? Why was it closed now? The sidewalk in front of the Apex building was closed over the summer, but they've only used the sidewalk for parking so far. To date, there has been no exterior work going on that creates a safety hazard. Is that reasonable? Was it reasonable for Element 28 to keep Commerce Lane closed even after it started leasing? Was it reasonable for the Lauren to keep Woodmont closed for six months after completing exterior work on the building? Was it reasonable for the Stonehall to keep a lane of Woodmont closed for months after completing exterior work so that workers could have free parking?

Developers have shown that they will take whatever they can get. It's time for the county and state to take a heavier regulatory hand, because it's hard to have a functional walking community when so many sidewalks are closed.

Anonymous said...

I found a picture of the creature shown in Robert's second and fourth photos.

Suze said...

The sidewalk will be closed for 10 days to construct a covered pedestrian walkway that will remain in place throughout demolition. Ken Hartman linked to the SHA notice in his newsletter on 8/31, you can read it via Dropbox here.

During the closure they will also be removing street trees and the glass from the building, probably explains the slightly longer time frame than the simple construction of a walkway.

Anonymous said...

Any word on the timing of 8008 Wisconsin? Seems to have stalled for some time.

Anonymous said...

@9:42AM: That's good news, and ultimately proof that it's possible to have development even if developers are required to mitigate the impact of demolition and construction. It will be interesting to see whether county let JBG close the sidewalk on the Woodmont side without providing an alternative pedestrian accommodation once the project reaches that stage.

Anonymous said...

"Let's hope that The JBG Companies will limit this sidewalk closure to the actual demolition of the front of 7900 Wisconsin Avenue (unlike the expansive, open-ended closure down the street at the Apex Building)"

Wait what?! All the vitriol Dyer has directed at Carr, Clark, the county council, and SHA for the Apex building project and he's cool with this. This is no different. The sidewalk by the Apex will only be closed through demolition as well.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Suze, for the actual explanation.

Anonymous said...

They should defintely charge for sidewalk closures. I did a renvoation at my house and to put a dumpster on the street in front of my house (residential area, no parking restrictions) cost a permitting fee along with other fees. I'm fine with that, as long as developers pay for sidewalk closures too.

Anonymous said...

Actually, do they already pay a fee? Does someone actually know? Robert, can you research this and help us learn more about it?

Anonymous said...

No wonder Hartman never links to Dyer.

Anonymous said...

@1:38 p.m.: There's a flat permitting fee for closing a sidewalk or a road, whether you close two blocks for 18 months (DPS automatically gives 18 months and almost never objects to a proposed closure) or a few feet for three weeks. I would get my money's worth out of that permitting fee too. This is the system the County Executive established through regulation.

@11:06 a.m.: The Apex project's closure has already failed the test of limiting the closure to the period of actual demolition. It's not clear from Wisconsin that they're even taking down that building, while the windows on the Wisconsin Avenue side of 7900 are already out.

Friends of Woodmont Triangle said...

Let's remember all the Woodmont Triangle residents who walk in that area!

Anonymous said...

I will tell my friends in the Woodmont Triangle to "don't jaywalk, dumbass."

Anonymous said...

Any update on Justice Wednesday in Kensington?

Any update on the latest Purple Line barratry?

Anonymous said...

Lazy bunch of damn, spoiled whiners. Take your sorry ass across the street for a safe walk, or suffer the consequences.

Anonymous said...

The sidewalk reopened. Why no update? Don't you want to take credit for that?

Anonymous said...

They seem to be done taking the glass off the facade. I have to hand it to JBG -- they really seem to be trying to minimize the impact of their activities on the surrounding community. Other developers should take notes from this project on how to minimize disruptions.