Monday, June 24, 2019

Fu Shing closing at Westlake Crossing

Fu Shing Cafe at 10315 Westlake Drive by Montgomery Mall will close on July 1, 2019. The Chinese restaurant has been in business for twenty years. In announcing the closure, the owners said what they will miss the most after closing are the restaurant's loyal customers. Fu Shing is located in the Westlake Crossing shopping center.

Friday, June 21, 2019

355 Bus Rapid Transit open houses June 26 & 27

What's a $10 billion boondoggle with branding that brings to mind a creepy man wearing a trenchcoat? Montgomery County's proposed $10 billion Bus Rapid Transit network, devised with consulting help from Communist Chinese officials, and branded as "Flash," despite moving only one mile every four minutes. The public will have an opportunity to learn more about the MD 355 BRT route proposed to run between Clarksburg and the Bethesda Metro station at two open houses next week.

Open House #1 will be held Wednesday, June 26, 2019 from 6:00-8:00 PM at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, located at 506 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. The second Open House will be held the next evening, Thursday, June 27 from 6:00-8:00 PM in the Wisconsin Multipurpose Room at the B-CC Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in downtown Bethesda.

You'll notice several key factoids are not emphasized to the public about this particular BRT proposal.

First, if dedicated lanes are utilized, the vehicle capacity of already-jammed MD 355 will be slashed by 33%. If you know that BRT advocates' most-optimistic number for the percent of people who will "get out of their cars" (as the globalists like to say) is only 16% in the best-case scenario, in a "flash" you can quickly calculate that the BRT will have the effect of severely-worsening rush hour traffic - and increasing exhaust emissions from additional idling in traffic jams.

Second, speaking of fumes, these buses run on diesel fuel. Unlike the futuristic subways on wheels depicted in glossy promotional materials you paid for, the buses look just like Metrobuses. That was exposed in one of the most cringeworthy PR disasters of the BRT push, when the actual bus was displayed at the County Fair, and it looked like a junky Metrobus.

Third, the 355 route - like Route 29 and Georgia Avenue BRT lines - will require demolition of thousands of residential and commercial properties between Clarksburg and Bethesda. Watch this very closely, and keep track if all of the same activists who are raging against 37 potential home demolitions for Beltway Express Lanes yell and scream about thousands of demolitions for BRT. I expect to see heartfelt columns from John Kelly denouncing the greedy developers and their puppets on the County Council and Planning Board, and extensive local news coverage of anti-highway folks jumping up and down and lighting their hair on fire to stop BRT! And like the anti-Express Lane and anti-M83-Highway campaigns, shadow-funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, of course.

In the fine print, you'll notice the County is "still studying" the "property impacts" of BRT. LOL.

Fourth, the only thing the Flash does fast is eat up taxpayer money. 355 "Flash" will take a turtle-like 87.2 minutes to travel the 21.8 miles from Clarksburg to the Bethesda Metro station. And then you're not even at work, because you still have to transfer to Metro to reach where the actual jobs are in the District or Northern Virginia. Better pack a Red Bull, my friend.

It's a simple fact that only transit projects that can beat automobile travel times will get ridership, meaning "Flash" is dead-on-arrival. This, of course, is why the War-On-Cars County Council is trying everything to increase auto commuting times, proposing nuclear options ranging from changing the speed limit to 25 MPH along 355, reducing the width of lanes to 10' and seizing one lane in each direction for the bus.

But that still won't create ridership, or "get people out of their cars." Why? Because increasing your auto commute by another 34 minutes still won't take as long as the average one-way transit commute of two hours. So you'll just end up with empty buses running past heavier traffic congestion and thicker clouds of exhaust from idling vehicles. Heckuva job, Brownie!

Why would County officials press ahead anyway, knowing all this? Because BRT isn't meant to improve travel or be a success. It's simply meant to allow urban-density development along all the routes it travels, by magically qualifying them for "transit-oriented development" by being on a "rapid transit line." The Council's developer sugar daddies couldn't be more pleased.

Finally, there's no demand for bus service on 355. I'm the only journalist to conduct spot checks on the $1 million Ride On Extra service between Shady Grove and Medical Center Metro stations. I've yet to find any significant ridership even during rush hour on this line. During peak evening rush hour, I counted one person riding the Ride On Extra in each direction on 355 at Edmonston Drive. During another peak evening rush hour, a Ride On Extra departed Shady Grove Metro station with no passengers on board.

This is a boondoggle of astronomical proportions. For a fraction of the cost of BRT, we could build the M-83 Highway, the long-delayed new Potomac River crossing, the Rockville Freeway between Montrose Road and the ICC, and the equally-long-delayed Georgia Avenue-Norbeck Road interchange. Each one of the aforementioned highways would carry more commuters each day than the entire $10 billion BRT network. And the Potomac River crossing, like I-270 and Beltway Express Lanes, could be built at virtually no cost to taxpayers by private firms that would earn back their investment through tolls on those new lanes and roadways.

In an economically-moribund county where the government's debt - if it were a government department - would be the third-largest department in the County government, highways make the most sense: moving the most people for the lowest cost of any mode of transportation.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Moge Tee opening today at Montgomery Mall

Moge Tee, the latest bubble tea spot to arrive in Montgomery County, will open today, June 20, 2019, at Westfield Montgomery Mall. Buy one drink and get another for 50% off today only at this location only, if you check in at Moge Tee or either Facebook or Yelp. Moge Tee is located at the edge of the Dining Terrace on Level 2, where Frozen Stuff on a Stick was previously.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Moge Tee bubble tea shop to open at Westfield Montgomery Mall

Moge Tee, a New York City-based bubble tea chain, is coming to Montgomery Mall. The latest of many bubble tea destinations in the county has at least one trendy new item on its menu. Cheese Tea at Moge Tee is made with fresh cheese imported from Australia. I guess we'll find out soon enough what the significance of that is. Moge Tee will be in the spot where Frozen Stuff on a Stick was previously.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

MOD Pizza sign installed at Montrose Crossing

The sign is up at MOD Pizza's newest Montgomery County location, opening soon at Montrose Crossing on Rockville Pike. Because of the placement of the restaurant in the parking lot, there's also a similar sign above the rear service entrance. There's still one prime space available for lease in this new building at the Federal Realty-owned shopping center.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Rockville construction update: Jersey Mike's (Photos)

Jersey Mike's, the sub restaurant for those-in-the-know, is coming soon to the Fallsgrove Village Center in Rockville. It will be located at 14933-L Shady Grove Road, next to Pet Valu (what happened to the "e?").

Friday, June 14, 2019

Free wine tasting tonight at Dawson's Market in Rockville

Start the weekend off right with a free wine tasting tonight at Dawson's Market in Rockville. The wine tasting will be held from 5:00-7:00 PM this evening, Friday, June 14, 2019. Dawson's Market is located at 225 N. Washington Street at Rockville Town Square.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

United Gun Shop burglarized, suspects at large after shootout with police

Suspects' vehicle crashed into
United Gun Shop; suspects fled
in a second vehicle
Burglars crashed a car into United Gun Shop in Rockville around 2:30 AM this morning, police say. An alarm triggered a police response to the store at 5465 Randolph Road. Officers engaged the suspects in a shootout, and the alleged burglars used a separate vehicle to ram a police cruiser and escape. That vehicle was later found abandoned, with a dead person left inside.
Police cruiser that was rammed
by fleeing suspects near United Gun Shop
Police began, and continue, a manhunt for the suspects. They say at least one officer was assaulted by the fleeing suspects. Evidence dropped by the suspects as they fled, including firearms, was recovered at the scene. Police advise residents to immediately call 911 if they notice any suspicious activity.
Evidence dropped by suspects as they
fled and engaged in shootout with police
at United Gun Shop
Photos via Montgomery County Police

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Rockville pedestrian advocacy committee to hold first meeting Thursday

The topic of pedestrian safety is front-and-center in the region these days. It seems that the more restrictions and obstacles that are put in the way of motorists, the higher the pedestrian death toll continues to rise. A Pedestrian Advocacy Committee formed by the Mayor & Council on May 20 will hold its first meeting tomorrow night, Thursday, June 13, 2019 at 7:00 PM in the Red Maple Room on the second floor of City Hall. All city residents are welcome to attend and are invited to "take part in the committee."

City Manager Rob DiSpirito has recommended the committee first develop a workplan on its own, and then report back to the Mayor & Council so they can coordinate strategies and expectations. To that end, Thursday night's agenda includes an overview of how the committee was created, a review of existing pedestrian safety initiatives in the city, and how residents can help advocate for pedestrian concerns and Vision Zero goals to be more fully considered in planning decisions.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Fogo de Chão releases details on Pike & Rose location ahead of June 24 opening

Fogo de Chão has provided some more specific details about their new Pike & Rose location, the Brazilian steakhouse chain's 41st U.S. location, opening on June 24, 2019. With seating for 300 inside, there will also be open-air patio dining. Indoors, you'll also find an open churrasco grill, and a white Carrera Market Table with seasonal offerings.
Carrera Market Table
The first thing diners will notice when entering the large dining room is a bas relief interpretation of Antonio Carigni's statue, O’Laçador, which personifies the culture of the Brazilian gaucho. That signifies the intent of the chain to represent that tradition in its restaurants. “With our authentic Southern Brazilian culture and cuisine, guests can expect to receive the same experience here in [Pike & Rose] that they would at any of our locations in Brazil,” Fogo de Chão CEO Barry McGowan said in a statement Monday.
24 oz. dry-aged New York Strip
With the Brazilian steakhouse experience having been available in the District and in Montgomery County's biggest arch-rival Tysons for some time, those who have heard about - but not tried - the restaurant often have the misconception that every meal at Fogo de Chão will start at over $50. In reality, there are a variety of dining options and price points.
32 oz. dry-aged Tomahawk Ribeye
There is, of course, that pricey "full churrasco experience" prix fixe menu includes all premium and classic cuts of meat, plus the fresh and seasonal Market Table & Feijoada Bar, and authentic Brazilian side dishes. You could also select a 32 oz. long bone Tomahawk Ribeye or a 24 oz. New York Strip for the whole table.  Each one is dry-aged for a minimum of 42 days.
Weekend Brazilian Brunch
For a relatively-affordable $30, you can choose one selection of fire-roasted meat, along with the Market Table & Feijoada Bar and Brazilian sides. Still too steep? For budget diners, try a Weekday Lunch starting at $15 (includes the seasonal Market Table & Feijoada Bar, plus family-style service of Brazilian side dishes. Guests may choose to add a single selection of fire-roasted meat, or have the Full Churrasco Experience), or the Weekend Brazilian Brunch. The most-affordable option will be Bar Fogo, with dedicated bar staff serving you smaller plates at the bar or on the patio, such as Braised Beef Rib Sliders, Churrasco meat boards, or the house-ground Picanha Burger.
Picanha Burger
Happy Hour customers will enjoy $4 Brazilian bites and beers, $6 South American wines and $8 Brazilian-inspired craft cocktails in the bar (and on the patio) Monday- Friday 4:30-6:30 PM.
Brazilian Seafood Menu
Rounding out the menu options are "Brazilian Cuts," a continuous service of the most popular fire-roasted cuts of Brazil and the Market Table & Feijoada Bar; and a seafood menu of shrimp, fish and even a Seafood Tower. For families, children 6 and under dine free, while children ages 7-12 will dine for half-price. Full pricing information and online reservations are available at the Pike & Rose location's website.

Photos courtesy Fogo de Chao

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cabin John Village construction update (Photos)

Here's a look at the ongoing construction and renovation at the Cabin John Shopping Center (a.k.a. Cabin John Village) at 11325 Seven Locks Road. The upgraded building facade will include a balcony on the corner diagonally across from California Tortilla. You can see the balcony is now in place in these photos below. Despite appearances, all businesses remain open during construction.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Rockville Planning Commission to review consolidation of 3 N. Stonestreet Ave. lots

Self-storage building
planned for combined site

Poverni Sheikh Group has applied to the City of Rockville to consolidate three plats on N. Stonestreet Avenue into one final plat for redevelopment purposes. The applicant proposes to construct a self-storage facility, with 2800 SF of ground-floor retail, on the combined lot at 204 N. Stonestreet Avenue. 204 N. Stonestreet is bordered to the west by the CSX railroad and Metro trackage.

City staff are recommending approval of the final plat, with conditions. The Planning Commission will take up the application at its Wednesday, June 12, 2019 meeting at 7:00 PM at Rockville City Hall.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Hogan capitulates on Beltway express lanes, I-270 express lanes will go to bid

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan folded up like a card table on the issue of widening the Capital Beltway with tolled Express Lanes yesterday, delaying that proposal, while he and the Maryland Board of Public Works voted to allow a similar plan for a portion of I-270 to move forward to a bidding process. A well-orchestrated anti-highway campaign, backed by big cash funneled from developers who need congestion to justify their urban projects and shadowy dark-money groups from outside Montgomery County, somehow buffaloed Hogan into agreeing to delay the Beltway lanes.

The lanes would be paid for by private contractors, who would recoup their expenses via the tolls on the new lanes. Taxpayers would pay virtually nothing. That arrangement allows the state to bypass the inept Montgomery County Council, which has only worsened congestion since the MoCo political cartel seized control of the Council in 2002.

Why Hogan would capitulate to the noisy 1%, who have received outsize coverage from the cartel-controlled local press, is mind-boggling. It's not the first time. When Hogan had the advantage to choose early voting sites favorable to his party in 2016, he buckled and agreed to a Democratic-favorable site plan. What's the point of being governor if you don't exercise the power you hold?

Treasurer Nancy Kopp sounded confused and unfit to serve on the board, claiming to be unfamiliar with the details of a plan Hogan announced two years ago. She sounded an awful lot like our Council, which spent the last four years outlawing Styrofoam, Raid and teenage tanning beds, when they weren't debating whether or not to ban circus animals. Good God. Once again, Beltway commuters have been hung out to dry by our elected officials at both the county and state levels.

Hogan deserves tremendous credit for coming up with a brilliant end-run around our corrupt, criminal and utterly-incompetent County Council that has failed to reduce traffic congestion AT ALL over decades. His plan could theoretically one day deliver the express lanes on the Beltway via yesterday's vote. The problem is, by capitulating to the delay on the Beltway part, Hogan will be long out of office by the time that phase would begin. Instead of locking it in now, Hogan has left it up to the political winds of 2022 and beyond. We know from painful experience, and the child-like ballot choices of low-information voters, how that's likely to end.

Montgomery County is currently at rock bottom in the region in economic development by every relevant measure, from job creation to new business starts to business growth. Meanwhile, Virginia has successfully built the same type of Express Lanes from D.C. to the Fredericksburg area, and is winning all of the jobs and corporate headquarters. Montgomery County, by contrast, hasn't attracted a single major corporate headquarters in over twenty years.

We cannot reclaim our old status as an economic player in the region until we build the long-delayed new Potomac River crossing to Dulles, the M-83 Highway upcounty, and Express Lanes on the Beltway and I-270. Our County Council is one of the few in America actively trying to prevent infrastructure from being built. It's insane.

Transit is not a viable alternative for the vast majority of those using both interstates. The people who propose it with a straight face know that better than anyone - which is why they have to resort to brute force. No one wants to spend two-to-three hours commuting each way daily via transit. The Council's goal is to maintain and worsen congestion to justify their $10 billion Bus Rapid Transit boondoggle, and deliver massive profits to their developer sugar daddies.

The Council must be replaced. We need elected officials who respond to the majority of their constituents who commute by car - not to tie-dye advocates of 1960s bus plans, greedy developers and the Rockefeller Foundation. What irony that Hogan, et al, delayed Maryland Beltway relief at the same time Virginia is starting on the final leg of their Express Lanes to Fredericksburg. Montgomery County is now the bedroom community for the booming job centers in Northern Virginia and the District.

The silent majority must rise up and oust these criminals in 2022.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Federal Realty's Rockville headquarters up for lease

Federal Realty Investment Trust's Rockville headquarters at 1626 E. Jefferson Street is now on the market for future lease. The real estate firm, which includes Rockville Town Square, Montrose Crossing, Congressional Plaza and Pike & Rose among its nationwide portfolio, will be moving to a new office building at Pike & Rose when it is completed.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Rockville construction update: Cooper's Hawk (Photos)

Work continues on the future Cooper's Hawk restaurant and winery at the Research Row shopping center in Rockville. More glass has been installed, and the flooring is now being put down inside. They are hiring for all positions - candidates can apply at a trailer outside the restaurant. Cooper's Hawk has a liquor license hearing scheduled for June 20 at 9:00 AM.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Shark Week bigger than ever after Montgomery County loses Discovery

Shark Week 2019 merchandise
arrives in Montgomery County

Discovery Communications is pulling out all the stops for Shark Week 2019, which is scheduled to begin on July 28. A special line of Shark Week merchandise has just arrived in CVS Pharmacy stores in Montgomery County. The annual shark celebration was once a point of pride for the County, when Discovery's corporate headquarters was located in Silver Spring. This year's event will be the first Shark Week since Discovery fled moribund, anti-business Montgomery County for business-friendly Knoxville, Tennessee, and it's a painful reminder of one of the Montgomery County cartel's most humiliating defeats.

Among the great items you will find at CVS are a realistic Shark Week Deep Sea Diver playset, with everything kids need to recreate their favorite Shark Week scenes. The Shark Week Isle of Jaws Collectible Shark Set includes 10 sharks.  There are big Shark Week stuffed sharks hiding in the coral reefs, er, shelves of the display, including a hammerhead.

Pack official Shark Week beach towels for Ocean City, and try to forget a great white surfaced off the shore of Maryland last week. Or play it safe, and watch Shark Week at home on the couch with official Shark Week throws and blankets, including a Shark Week Leopard Shark blanket with "glow in the dark eyes."

Speaking of glowing in the dark, the old Discovery headquarters has become a massive monument to Montgomery moribundity in downtown Silver Spring. The tower looms high above, with the missing Discovery corporate logo giving a ghoulish, haunted vibe. I've captured here some of the final traces of Discovery still left at the building before they are removed.

The Montgomery County Council and expensive economic development entity should have recognized Discovery needed attention when the famous Chompie Shark Week mascot no longer appeared on the facade of the building during Shark Week. Instead, Tennessee actively courted Discovery, ultimately providing the winning site with low taxes, and a campus with direct interstate and airport access in Knoxville. Horrifyingly, we later learned that over the same weeks that Tennessee was sealing the deal in negotiations with Discovery, the Montgomery County Council was taking up all of its time debating whether or not to ban circus animals.

Heckuva job, Brownie!