Friday, March 23, 2018

MoCo Council again tries to sabotage Montrose Parkway East

This week's so-called "compromise" on the Montrose Parkway East project is actually another attempt by the Montgomery County Council to either sabotage, or altogether cancel, the long-delayed highway. Amidst the political pablum of County Executive Ike Leggett's press release, clearly written under duress, was a sentence that did not receive sufficient analysis.

Leggett, who correctly did not want to delay construction of the road at all initially, stated that the one-year delay of the highway would be used to make design changes related to bicycles and pedestrians. He did not specify what those were, or who would approve those changes, and under what public oversight.

What we do know is that developers have wanted to kill the road outright, because it only benefits residents and commuters. It does not help developers, because it is a relief valve, rather than a road that lets developers build more "stuff." Developers want the money from the Montrose Parkway East to go to projects across the County that will allow them to build more stuff, the taxpayers who forked over the highway money be damned.

What we also know, is that several developer tools on the Planning Board have long dreamed of canceling the elevated portion of the parkway over Parklawn, in order to allow developers to build up to the edges of what would be an ordinary urban street. I was able to stop this attempt singlehandedly in 2013, when my testimony changed the votes of several commissioners, who were poised to cancel the grade-separated design for Parklawn at the behest of now-chair Casey Anderson. They also want other sabotage design changes that would similarly increase traffic congestion and lengthen travel time for commuters using the parkway. Such changes would ensure drivers in Rockville, Aspen Hill and other points east of a much-longer trip to and from I-270. Day after day after day.
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"Design changes" are right out of the Council playbook, and were previously used by Councilmember Roger Berliner to yet again delay the M-83 Highway. M-83 on the master plan alignment was ready to start construction on an up-or-down vote by the Council, after being recommended by both upcounty residents and MCDOT. Berliner, at the behest of developers, threw the project into an unrequired new approval process that included yet another public hearing. M-83, like MPE, is an old road needed decades ago, and won't by itself allow any development that couldn't go forward today.

It's critical we elect a Council that will cancel any sabotage design changes to the Montrose Parkway East, and will begin construction on that project and M-83 immediately.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

New Enterprise rental car location under construction in Rockville (Photos)

Enterprise Rent-A-Car is coming to a new location on Rockville Pike across from Marlo Furniture. This is where part of the old Rockville Ford/Century Ford dealership was, next to what is today a FedEx Office store.

I thoroughly enjoy the fact that, despite the well-financed effort to influence the Rockville Pike Plan in favor of Ballston and Crystal City dystopian urbanity, key properties actually within walking distance of the Rockville Metro station ended up redeveloping in classic Rockville Pike fashion - - fast food joints, auto repairs, rental car offices and plenty of surface parking. Things families actually need, and which have made the Pike the most profitable street in the state of Maryland for decades - and a major generator of revenue for the state, as well.

Indeed, smart Planning Commission picks by Mayors Bridget Donnell Newton and Phyllis Marcuccio were able to preserve enough of Rockville's small town/suburban character to earn the city a recent "Best Place To Live in Maryland" award from Money magazine. Don't tell Greater Greater Washington, but Rockville beat out the new-urbanist towns Rockvillians were told they should be emulating. To quote The Donald, Jr., "If it's what you say, I love it."

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

City of Rockville closes as Hogan warns of "treacherous" conditions in springtime snowstorm

Special Report: The City of Rockville and all City facilities will be closed today, March 21, 2018, due to the snowstorm. Recycling and refuse collection are also canceled today in Rockville.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan issued an urgent bulletin from Reisterstown warning Marylanders of "treacherous" conditions on roadways during today's springtime snowstorm. The snow is capping off an unusually-chilly March.

“Snow, sleet, and freezing rain falling this evening and overnight could make road conditions treacherous throughout the state. I strongly urge all Marylanders to use common sense, take extreme caution, and avoid travel if possible,” Hogan said. “Keep a close eye on your local weather forecast, and check on family, friends, and neighbors and make sure they are safe throughout this late-season storm.”

Hogan recommended that those who must travel contact friends and family, and let them know where you are going, and when you expect to arrive there. He suggested being cautious when shoveling this heavy, wet snow, and to take frequent breaks to avoid overexertion. Hogan added that it is important to stay hydrated when shoveling outdoors.

The governor suggested stocking your vehicle with "car chargers," and kitty litter or sand, which he said would supply traction to spinning wheels. Hogan also advised residents to keep gadgets charged, and warned residents to never use generators indoors. He cautioned everyone to be prepared for power outages.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Gong Cha Daily Tea Place to open in Rockville March 31

Another bubble tea shop is on the way to Rockville. Despite being an international chain, Gong Cha Daily Tea Place has plenty of authentic credentials. It was founded in 2006 in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and its name means “tribute tea for the emperor.”

Gong Cha brews its tea and cooks its bubble pearls every four hours for freshness. Their tea is sourced from "the finest Taiwan tea estates." Gong Cha will open on March 31 in the former Pie 360 space in the Galvan apartments, located at 1800-C Rockville Pike.

Monday, March 19, 2018

bluemercury opens at Pike & Rose, Nando's Peri-Peri touts impending arrival (Photos)

Beauty boutique bluemercury has opened its newest location, at 11885 Grand Park Avenue, at the Pike & Rose development. The store is located in the ground floor of the new Canopy by Hilton hotel and 930 Rose condos.

Meanwhile, in a neighboring space, hot chicken purveyor Nando's Peri-Peri has posted "coming soon" signage.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Mismanaged Montgomery County finances end up in the red again with $200,000,000 budget shortfall

Regular readers of this website know that Montgomery County government is stuck in a structural budget deficit as far out as the projections go. So those folks won't be surprised at all to find out that their incompetent and spendthrift County Council managed to yet again spend more than they took in - way more. The budget shortfall heading into the FY-2019 budget process is a whopping $200,000,000.

County Executive Ike Leggett released his proposed budget yesterday, and it includes not a dime of tax relief for residents now paying the highest taxes in County history. No property tax cut, no energy tax cut - not even a rain tax cut! Property taxes will increase automatically; unless the County Council changes Leggett's proposed tax rate, you will be guaranteed to have a higher property tax bill.

Happy Tax Paying from Montgomery County!


Thursday, March 15, 2018

Rockville Chamber of Commerce CEO resigns

Rockville Chamber of Commerce CEO Michelle Day has announced her resignation, effective June 30, 2018. Day said she and her husband have made the decision to relocate to Atlanta, to be closer to family. She will remain on board to help find a successor, and to assist in the transition.

Under Day's leadership, the Chamber surpassed 300 members and took on greater visibility at meetings and events around town.

“Being President & CEO of the Rockville Chamber has been the greatest opportunity for me professionally, and I am leaving with very mixed emotions," Day said in a statement. "It has been an honor and privilege working with our membership, the community, elected officials and fantastic Board of Directors.”

Annemarie Agnew, board chair, praised Day's tenure as CEO. “Michelle has taken the chamber to the next level the past few years. Her energy and enthusiasm for Rockville have propelled the organization to unprecedented growth. We understand and support her decision, and are delighted that we have time to continue the good work with her!”

Are you CEO material, or do you know someone who is? Head to the webpage for the replacement search.