Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Solution to Pedestrian Problems

Today Atlantic Cities has a piece called "Police Stings for Drivers Who Don't Yield in Crosswalks: Does it Really Work?"  They cite scientific research and conclude that yes, it does work.

Recently in Fort Lee, New Jersey, a place many commuters speed through while driving to New York, a police sting operation was set up to ticket people who didn't yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.  This approach could certainly help solve the problem we experienced this winter in the areas around Wheaton of traffic hitting people who are walking across streets.

Can we have a traffic crosswalk behavior sting in Wheaton, please?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wheaton Regional Park Train Now Open

2014 Update: The Wheaton Regional Park Train is open for the summer! This year the train and carousel have a Facebook page and are mentioned by Fodor's Travel as one of the top "8 cheap and awesome things to do with kids in DC."  Apparently our train is a replica of an 1863 train and some of the slides in the adventure park are 60 feet long!  The train's hours are:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday, 10am-6pm
June 1 - August 24Open Daily Monday-Friday 10am-6pm
Saturday & Sunday 10am-7pm
August 25 - 30Closed
SeptemberOpen Labor Day, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-6pm

The Wheaton Train is now in operation for the summer of 2013!  It is open on weekends in April and then every day of the week from May 1-August 26.  See the Montgomery County Parks Carousel and Miniature Train website for times, directions, and the complete schedule.  Tickets are only $1.75 each so these are rides everyone can enjoy.  It is a multi-car small train that can accommodate adults and children and runs on a pleasant trail of tracks through the forest and meadow, past Pine Lake, joggers, and hiking trails.  Come ride the train and enjoy the park!

The parking lot is off of Shorefield Road and is also shared by the Wheaton Carousel, a big adventure playground, and several picnic shelters. Brookside Gardens is also easy walking distance through the park.

To get there from metro, get off of the Red Line at Wheaton and go north on Georgia Ave then turn right onto Shorefield.  Remember bikes are allowed on metro on the weekends and we have a spring break from track work until April 14!  Says the Metro CEO: "The spring break will give people an opportunity to experience the type of system we are working toward."  I am really enjoying the efficient and fast weekend metro.

Wheaton Regional Park Train Station, July 4, 2013, from the parking lot.
Wheaton Regional Park train as seen from a hiking trail in the woods, May 1, 2013.
A view of Wheaton Carousel, July 4, 2013. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Construction Update: Old First Baptist Church of Wheaton Site on Georgia Avenue

From the far southwestern side of the Wheaton Mall parking lot
As reported here, Wheaton church to be turned into luxury condos in June 2012, the construction project on Georgia Avenue just south of LA Fitness and the intersection with Viers Mill Road is going to be the "Solaire-Wheaton," a 232-unit luxury condo building.

From outside Montgomery Royal Theaters

The project (that's the official website with photo) is scheduled for completion in March 2014 and will be 6 stories including a 2 level parking garage on the bottom (hopefully underground).  The new building is expected to have a swimming pool, landscaped courtyard, fitness center, and is hoping for LEED Certification. According to the Washington Post, "about 60 percent of the units will be one-bedroom apartments, 30 percent will be two-bedrooms and 10 percent will be studios."

The only problem I predict with this site is that it is difficult to get to by walking or biking.  I had to try three vantage points before getting a decent view of the construction (all of these photos are from March 9, 2013).  That area is hilly and has too much traffic driving through it on Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road.

Maybe the people who live in this new large luxury building will do something to help calm the traffic at that intersection -- if they walk!  Otherwise they could make it worse by driving.  I hope this new development also helps combat the idea that Wheaton has a lot of low-income apartments.

From the intersection of Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road
This location is the former site of the First Baptist Church of Wheaton, which has renamed itself Streams of Hope Church and relocated to Olney, MD. Their new location is farther north on Georgia Avenue, just north of the Intercounty Connector Highway.

I hope they are happy with their decision to cash out.  The new building bodes well for our neighborhood and we still have a lot of churches nearby.

Bike Commute for Effortless Exercise

Daffodils in Brookside Gardens, March 30, 2013
An inspiring article today is a good follow-up to my blog posts (recently and earlier) about how to bicycle:
"Studies show that bike commuting is one of the best ways to stay healthy."
It is such a good thing to do because it gets us active and exercising without us having to devote any of our leisure hours specifically to it.  Most of us have to commute anyway, so doing it on a bike gives us passive exercise!  It is a perfect situation.

And with the weather warming up it is a perfect time to get on a bicycle!  I expect those racks at the metro station to be filling up soon (haven't seen it yet, ever).  Rest assured that if they are full you can chain the bike up to any signpost or parking meter without an issue.