GRANOLAPARK: They return!

GRANOLAPARK • BY GILBERT

Dear Readers,

Takoma Park has the right people in office.

Where we can keep an eye on them.

The city council and mayor were actually eager and excited to be back in the City Council Chamber of Boredom following their August break. They couldn’t wait to sit through a presentation about how many lanes wide New  Hampshire Avenue would be and, hold onto your toupee, what sort of storm drains to install there! Yippee.

When our reporter asked if any of them had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the first fall meeting by authorities, they didn’t comprehend the question.

These poor misguided people need to be institutionalized, and the city council is just the institution. Isn’t it nice how neatly things work out, sometimes?

Unfortunately, Your Gilbert, who is normal and well-adjusted, ALSO had to sit though the stormwater discussions and street cross-section ponderings. There’s not enough rum in the world, Dear Readers.

Lanes

Storm drains and street lanes came up in a “feasibility study” presentation.  Just how feasible, the city wanted to know, would it be to make New Hampshire Avenue into a “multiway boulevard.” That means, basically, “service roads with tree-lined median strips.”

New Hampshire Ave.

New Hampshire Ave. is now 6 lanes wide where it passes through Takoma Park. It gets a lot of rush hour traffic, and it looks gritty. There are long sections with no trees lining the road, only old strip malls.

The strip malls are stuffed with hole-in-the-wall businesses. The presentation gave a brief mention of the “diversity” these businesses represent – and then proceeded to outline a plan that would get rid of it, gentrifying and homogenizing the area with “re-development.”

At least this won’t happen until 2020 or later. They mentioned traffic projections out to 2030.

New Hampshire Ave

Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 3.33.38 PM

The recommended bike line configuration is a “cycletrack” with two-way bike lanes.

Speedy bus collision

We won’t numb you by explaining the complicated origins of this report. The brief version is: a contractor did it for the city.

We only mention this because there’s a potential conflict with county planners. They want New Hampshire Avenue’s two middle lanes for speedy buses.

The speedy buses are called Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). They run in dedicated lanes and have stations – much like a light rail train, but on rubber wheels.

Between the speedy bus, the bike lanes, and the tree-lined median strips there aren’t many lanes left for rush hour automobile traffic. In fact, the plans conflict, said the presenter.

“We still have to fight that battle” said Mayor Bruce Williams.

Stay tuned for the Battle of Middle-Lanes.

How much?

Some councilmembers were concerned with the cost. Councilmember Kay Daniels-Cohen was also worried the changes would create backups during rush hour.

The contractor said that part of the process would be finding grants and other revenue sources – which are often available from the state or federal government.

Fire victims

So happy to be back, the council members make up for a month of silence. They had many announcements. Many.

The most urgent was about the recent fire at Lane Manor Park apartments just across the city border on Piney Branch Road. Twenty families were displaced and in are need of clothing, furniture, and other help. Councilmember Terry Seamens announced that local agency Adventist Community Services at 501 Sligo Ave. Silver Spring, 20910, is assisting the families.

Drop by the folk festival

The Voice will have a table at the Takoma Park Folk Festival Sunday, Sept. 8. Drop by and meet some of the staff and get a t-shirt, mug, child or whatever else we have to sell so we can keep this VALUABLE COMMUNITY SERVICE going.

Facade

This slide was part of the annual Facade Advisory Board presentation to the city council. This is what the widely anticipated Takoma Republic Restaurant submitted to the board for approval.  The Restaurant on Carroll Ave in the heart of Old Town is currently under construction. Kinda cool, huh? The advisory board and council thought so, too.

Republic

– Gilbert

 

 

 

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About the Author

Gilbert
Gilbert is the pseudonym of a hard-bitten, hard-drinking, long-time Takoma Park resident who maintains the granolapark blog. Gilbert and William L. Brown — Granola Park's mild-mannered chief of staff, researcher, and drink pourer — have never been seen in the same place at the same time.