Saturday, March 11, 2023

A streetlight in a precarious position


This streetlight is leaning heavily and looks like a strong gust of wind could knock it over.  I saw this on Plum Orchard Drive in Calverton.  Back in 2016 there was a spate of falling streetlights on Plum Orchard Dr between Broadbirch Dr and Cherry Hill Rd. Those got fixed as part of the Adventist Healthcare White Oak Medical Center development. 

This little stub of Plum Orchard was ignored however, and the streetlights are really looking worse for the wear.  I really thing if someone leaned against this pole it would fall over.  It is also worth noting that the access panel looks to be held on with electrical tape.

When I took these pictures on Thursday, there was a van from an electrical company parked near one of the street  lights so it is possible these will be fixed soon. It is also possible that they will just fall to the ground before they get fixed.  I'll update as more information becomes available.

Friday, March 3, 2023

White Oak Town Center construction

White Oak Town Center (staff report here, it has the best overview) is a new strip mall being built on the site of a former industrial building at the corner of Industrial Parkway and Prosperity Drive in the White Oak / Calverton area of the half of the county called Silver Spring.

 The full development, with the one-story building in the background that is reported to be the future location of an Amazon Grocery store. in the center you can see the steel skeleton of what will become a monumental sign/clocktower/dumpster at the southwest corner of the development.  Next to it is a plaza with seating area where visitors to the shopping center can have a variety of experiences and enjoy the sights and sounds of Columbia Pike / U.S. Route 29. Closer to the camera where there is currently just a pile of dirt, there will be an accent wall.


White Oak Town Center as seen from Industrial Parkway
The view of the new construction from across Industrial Parkway near U.s. 29. The intersection with Prosperity Drive is immediately to the left and is very close to the intersection of Industrial Pkwy and Columbia Pike. This isn't an issue now since Prosperity Dr near the site is lightly used, however, with additional traffic this is likely to become a point of contention between users of the two roads both trying to enter Columbia Pike.

Future Grocery store

This is the northwestern end of the site, Prosperity drive is in the foreground and in the distance on the left you can see the sign for the Westech Corner strip mall at Tech Road. The building under construction will house a grocery store.

I'm not sure we need another strip mall when Westech Corner is within sight and has over half a dozen restaurants, and Orchard Center is only a mile away with Giant, Aldi, Target, and Kohl's. But, I'm not the planning board, and if they think we need another shopping center with a big parking lot instead of affordable housing a short walk away from a Flash bus stop, who am I to disagree.

development from the "spine" road

This is the low, one-story building that will have space for 3 retail stores. The road in the foreground is the "spine" road that will connect Industrial Parkway to Tech Road.

The view of the new construction from across Industrial Parkway near U.s. 29. The intersection with Prosperity Drive is immediately to the left and is very close to the intersection of Industrial Pkwy and Columbia Pike. This isn't an issue now since Prosperity Dr near the site is lightly used, however, with additional traffic this is likely to become a point of contention between users of the two roads both trying to enter Columbia Pike.


Sunday, February 12, 2023

8787 Georgia Avenue construction


The construction of 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. The building is full height and covert in a white Tyvek wrap.  When finished it will have 376 residential units and up to 32,000 square feet of retail space including a Mom's Organic Market.  This site used to be the location of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Headquarters (M-NCPPC) for the Montgomery County Planning Department and had a large surface parking lot.


The front view of the new 8787 Georgia Avenue currently being constructed with an estimated completion date of this Fall. There are two buildings that will be connected to each other and there will be underground parking, this is the west building, there is also one to the east.  You can view the Preliminary Plan and Site Plan here.



Thursday, February 2, 2023

White Oak Apartments construction, 2240 Broadbirch Dr


Demolition of the old Gannett USA Today National Customer Service Center located at 2240 Broadbirch Drive in Calverton, MD (or Silver Spring for those of you who insist on calling half of Montgomery County that) has begun. This is the building that is set back from the road and has four giant satellite dishes in front of it.

This will be replaced by a residential development with 359 unites in a 5 story building and two buildings with two-over-two development that contain 28 units. There will also be some public open space on the left side of the lot. You can view the planning board presentation for White Oak Apartments here.

The property being developed is across the street where the entrance is.
Blocked sidewalk

Even though the demolition is nowhere near the sidewalk, the construction site has blocked the public sidewalk forcing you to either walk through the heavy grass between trees or walk on the busy road.
More blocked sidwalk

A good view of how the sidewalk is blocked without any notice part way down the block. There is no good reason for them to have disrupted pedestrian traffic in this way.

The existing satellite dishes with the building partly demolished behind them

Thursday, July 7, 2022

New bridge on the Northwest Branch trail at MD-29

The northwest branch trail north at Maryland Route 29 is accessible from the Burnt Mills West parking lot by crossing over the Northwest Branch.  For a long time this was a bit of a hassle, and, a somewhat dangerous to boot.  There was a sidewalk on the bridge, but not one leading up to it or from the bridge to the trail entrance.  This means you had to walk through the grass on the side of the road or walk in the very busy road. Once you got to the trail entrance, your troubles were not over. You had to go down a steep embankment, cross a small creek on stepping stones, then climb up the other side.

Sidwalk leading to the bridge

 Sometime in the recent past this was changed for the better.  There is now a sidewalk from the parking lot all the way to the entrance, and there is now a sturdy bridge going over the creek.  This is a real improvement and makes getting to that trail much easier and hassle free.


Bridge at the start of the Northwest Branch trail

Looking down the bridge

Monday, February 14, 2022

Fenton Street, Silver Spring, Maryland

Large parts of the Silver Spring downtown area have been redeveloped, or ar in the process of being redeveloped.  This section of Fenton Street is a bit south of that area, around Silver Spring Ave and Sligo Ave.  It hasn't seen any new development in quite a while.

Fenton Street

7-Eleven, Many and Olga's, Ethio Addis Market, Lovely Inc: Checks Cashed.

This Greyhound bus stations doesn't look any different now than it did 30 years ago, except maybe the parking lot is in worse condition.

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Purple Line Construction

It looks like construction of the purple line is pausing due to the state and Purple Line Transit Partners feuding over cost overruns and delays.  Because of that, it is likely that views such as these will be a part of our lives for quite some time.

These are the bridges that will carry the Purple Line (left) and the Capital Crescent Trail (right) over Colesville Road.

Intersecting girders

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Watch for falling streetlights

 Several times now I have gone down Plum Orchard Drive (behind the shopping center with the Target, Babies R Us, and Shop-Rite in Calverton, MD) and seen a fallen street light.  At first I assumed that someone had run into them, but I got a close look at a recently fallen one.

You can see the base of the pole just rusted through and the whole thing fell over.  Along the street you can see that some have been replaced, but some are very old and rusty, I expect more will fall in the future.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Flood damage on Colesville road at the Northwest Branch

On Wednesday there was some very heavy rain and the Northwest Branch flooded Colesville road, closing it for almost two days. When the floodwaters subsided there were debris and silt piled up and part of the sidewalk was washed away. These pictures were taken on Friday at lunch, approximately 24 hours after the road re-opened.

A big pile of sand has been cleared from the road and piled up.  Behind that you can see a fence that has washed up against the road. The leftmost lane of southbound MD-29 was still closed.

Part of the sidewalk washed away exposing a number of formerly buried cables.  They have already started marking the cables for repair. They have been quick to start fixing things, you can't see it in this picture, but they have already smoothed out the washed away section.  The rightmost lane of MD-29 North was still closed, causing a significant traffic back up even in the middle of the day.

The northwest branch from the bridge looking downstream.  The water level isn't back to normal but it is much lower than during the flood.

You can see a pile of dead wood just on the other side of the guardrail.  I suspect it was cleared off the road and dumped there

A large pile of sand that was cleared from the road.  You can see the washed out sidewalk just beyond it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Power problems again

Storms, power outages, dark intersections, power lines down across the metro rail tracks, it certainly has been an eventful week here in Silver Spring, MD.

Just when you thought it was safe to move through Silver Spring.... No, it isn't shark week (that's next week, but Chompie has been keeping an eye on things). Today's thunderstorm brought a few more power outages and sent another batch of traffic signals dark. The police had a handle on things here at Colesville Road and East-West Highway this evening. More troubling was how some power lines along Spring Street fell across the metro tracks and a train drove partway over them. No one was hurt but 41 people were stuck on the train. Above them, along Spring St, the police had closed the road, the fire trucks were there, and Pepco was trying to fix things.