Nordin Grabsi, who has been trying to run the Ali Baba Felafel truck at the Bethesda Farm Women’s Market, may finally have to shut down his popular stand. He is unable to meet County standards for a mobile food truck, but it also seems the County standards don’t recognize the growing and changing food truck business.
As one of the commenters on the Bethesda Patch site wrote, “I hate to see this happen, particularly since food carts are becoming more popular and interesting…”.
And this is not just a problem for Ali Baba, other food carts have also moved or shut down, just when things are getting interesting. And as well as possibly outdated regulations, there also seem to … Continue reading
Rockville’s King Farm was designed as a transit friendly community, with a gridded street pattern lined by street fronting homes on small lots. So that’s the community part. Now that the transit part is coming along, the pull of suburban standards is proving strong.
In this article, A Community Planned for Transit Now Resists It, residents are quoted as saying the transit line will create a wall within the community. But this is not the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad and King Farm is not Union station.
Why do people never point out that waiting with your neighbor at a station in the morning is a great time to chat and get to know each other–much better than driving home in … Continue reading
According to articles in the Washington Post and the City Paper, the District’s Department of Transportation has taken big steps in making the city more bike- and pedestrian-friendly.
Barne’s dance crossings and hawk signals give pedestrians priority over cars at intersections, and out of a goal of 80 miles of bike lanes, 49 have been completed. The city’s bike-share program is an early success with residents and visitors. Residents find it easier and cheaper to pick up a bike at a corner station than owning their own and schleping it into their homes.
In fact, according to the City Paper, one of the biggest problems seems to be developing enough places to bike to. As they quoted Gabe Klein, Director of … Continue reading
Guest Post by Alex Hutchinson
Whether it’s the Boundary Bridge that straddles Rock Creek right outside Silver Spring or the Cabin John Bridge nestled into Glen Echo, I love the bridges our region boasts. I’m no gephyrophobiac, bridges don’t scare me one bit. But there is one bridge that makes me uneasy–and no, it’s not the Tacoma Narrows— it’s the Downtown Silver Spring Library bridge. Despite the fact the Planning Board voted 8-1 against the bridge, it has once again become part of our local discourse. Here’s why I hope this bridge wobbles into oblivion.
It’s been argued that the proposed bridge is the best and most economic way of achieving accessibility for all. Silver Spring already has a skywalk: the bridge that … Continue reading
Transportation planners talk about mode share, trip mitigation, and relative arterial mobility all displayed in charts and graphs. But there is a human element to using transit. Why would you shower, dress, and walk down the hill to stand here while your neighbors whip past in their BMWs, warm, dry, singing along to Norah Jones, and a swigging a latte?
Montgomery County has a great local bus system, the Ride Ons, which course through neighborhoods connecting to central business districts, Metro, and regional buses. They are clean, relatively prompt, and reasonably priced. Seniors and students get a price break, increasing access, and some of the fleet is running on compressed natural gas, encouraging good green behavior.
But in a … Continue reading
Sure, part of the reason we don’t use Metro is because it’s a long walk from home or you’ve got to pick up the kids after school or you’re just not that interested in the cell phone social life of your seatmate. But wouldn’t mass transit be a little more appealing if it felt like your commute was a scene from a very cool Japanese spy movie?
And Maryland made the New York Times this week as a community that has taken interesting steps toward being green. I can’t believe that DC beat us to taxing shopping bags, this seems like a natural for Montgomery County and isn’t everyone in the habit of traveling with a folded up bag … Continue reading
When it comes to the built environment, the Washington region has long been one of the proving grounds for Planning.
From the first-ever National Planning Conference in 1909 to the demonstration of New Urbanism at Kentlands, Washington has benefited from planning ideas that often seemed far-fetched at the time.
Greenbelt, Maryland is no exception. It’s the best-preserved example of New Deal-era utopian town planning in the United States, and has been named a National Planning Landmark. This Saturday, I’m leading a bike tour of the community (details below). I hope you can make it.
About Greenbelt: Faced with housing shortages, a decimated economy, and deteriorating conditions in cities, the Roosevelt Administration, as a part of the New Deal, set … Continue reading
guest blogger: Valerie Berton
You’ve heard it before, and probably from us: Montgomery County is becoming increasingly diverse. What do you think when you hear the word “diversity?”
Tell us at our upcoming Pecha Kucha contest, where you can demonstrate your vision of diversity in 20 slides shown for 20 seconds each. Anyone can join, and the winner – judged using on-site polling – will be featured on our Montgomery Plans cable show. Winning a Pecha Kucha contest could be a great resumé line!
Walk the sidewalks of Rockville, Silver Spring and any of the county’s downtowns and you’ll see a wide array of people. My kids’ class lists read like an assembly at the United Nations.
That’s more … Continue reading
The recently approved Germantown Sector Plan recommends greenways along Observation Drive and Crystal Rock Drive that would connect Black Hill Regional Park to the Town Center. It’s a good fit on streets that already have wide sidewalks, buffers, and stormwater management facilities.
Sounds like a great feature, one that creates a distinctive roadscape, creates a desirable recreation feature that also works for bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and can be implemented at the same time road and site improvements are made.
Fitting recreation into existing infrastructure and making that infrastructure do double duty is a sensible approach, given not only public sector’s fiscal limits, but our increasing interest in sustainability. Just google greenways and you’ll find lots of communities pursuing … Continue reading
It’s a cool morning, the first in a long time, and the frayed leaves are starting to look less lush, but there’s still time to think about Summer Streets, New York City’s program to create a temporary 6.9 mile car-free route to encourage bicycling in the city.
Free bike rentals and repairs, free skate rental, rest stops, maps, and yes–you can cool off in a dumpster pool!–remove barriers and excuses.
I like the idea of temporarily rethinking the city. Trying out parks and bike routes is not only a physical test of infrastructure, but a test of how we function as individuals in our environment. Certain things are hard–biking, recycling, walking–not because they are inherently difficult, but because the infrastructure isn’t set up … Continue reading