Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pedestrians and Cyclists will be Safer in MoCo, how about Rockville?

The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed an ordinance that amends the county’s urban road code to make sure new or reconstructed streets in urban areas are safe and attractive for all users.  Co-sponsored by Councilmembers Riemer and Berliner, it requires:

  • Narrower lane widths of 10’ to slow traffic and reduce accidents (it may sound contradictory, but wider lanes for cars result in more frequent and more serious collisions with pedestrians and cyclists–it’s all about the speed of a 2,000 pound car).
  • A 25 mph maximum speed for urban areas
  • Pedestrian bumpouts and smaller intersections, which will mean safer turns by drivers and a shorter distance for walkers to cross.
  • Stronger requirements to build sidewalks during road construction.

Perhaps something like this needs to be adopted in Rockville.  We often promote cycling and walking, and yet overlook the needs of pedestrians and cyclists in the strangest ways.  For example, at the Twinbrook Recreation Center, it was years before a sidewalk was laid for pedestrians connecting it to the street.  During construction around Twinbook Metro, sidewalks are often blocked and people have to walk in the street.

Want to learn more about what makes safe, complete urban streets? Check out this great infographic from our friends at the Active Transportation Alliance.

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 8,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 14 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Rockville’s Last Farmers’ Market today


It’s a frosty morning but the farmers’ market in downtown Rockville is busy.  Available are apples, sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, kales, radishes, apple cider, peppers, green beans, potatoes, tomatoes (yup!), broccoli, fennel, leeks, cauliflower, dill, escarole, turnips, and onions.  Breads and pastries, cheese, sausages, chicken, beef as well and a long line at Otterbein Acres. 

What’s In a Name? A Lot for Rockville’s Lutheran Church

Today Rockville’s first Lutheran congregation will officially unveil to the community its new name— “Living Faith Lutheran Church” during a Renaming Celebration. The event will also mark the retirement with dignity of “Crusader Lutheran Church,” the congregation’s name since its foundation in 1952. The celebration begins with a 10:30 a.m. worship service, followed by a noon luncheon reception.

In addition to church members, dozens of guests are expected to join in this joyous event, including representatives of Community Ministries of Rockville; members of the Rockville City Council; and other public officials, faith-community representatives & ministry partners.

The Rev. Philip C. Hirsch will preach a special sermon placing this milestone in both a scriptural and historical context, with an emphasis on the road ahead for Living Faith. Pastor Hirsch serves as Assistant to the Bishop and Director for Evangelical Mission for the Washington, D.C. Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).

“We are looking forward to this joyous opportunity to celebrate our new name, honor our 59 years of history as Crusader Lutheran and humbly dedicate ourselves to the mission God has in store for us as Living Faith Lutheran,” said the Rev. Sandra Cox Shaw, the church‟s pastor since 2005.

“We believe “Living Faith” better captures who we are today — a congregation committed to putting our faith into action by serving our community, our nation and our world,” Pastor Shaw added. “And we believe that this is the name God has guided us to choose, through a process of prayer, discernment and faithful deliberation.”

Immediately after worship on June 26, Pastors Hirsch and Shaw will Continue reading →

What Are You Doing Out Here?

Twinbrook Parkway near Meadow Hall Road, Rockville

There’s five inches of heavy snow on the ground, the power has gone out, the roads haven’t been plowed, trees branches are falling, so why are people out driving?  Here’s a pic from tonight on Twinbrook Parkway near Meadow Hall Road.  It’s actually much brighter outside, despite the power outage, due to the reflection on the snow (but still, everyone get off the road and into someplace safe–your home, a restaurant, whatever).

Just Crazy About My New Concrete Walkway

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I may sound crazy, but I’m sooooooo happy about my new concrete walkway at my house.  For years we’ve been dragging our trashcans from the back door to the curb over an increasingly worn gravel walkway, which became a struggle in rain and snow with the new big city trashcans.  It took several years for me to decide what I wanted because of existing fences and trees as well as other more pressing projects around the house, but now that it’s done, it’s a beauty.  The slideshow includes lots of shots before, during, and after so you can see the work in progress as well as the quality of the work.  Look at those control joints!  They’re clean, neat, and straight from end to end, especially where they meet another joint (for comparison, look at the ones in a typical sidewalk and you’ll see right away how much more masterful these are).

From excavation to forming to finishing to clean up (yes, clean up!), the work was entirely performed by Jose Guzman of Strictly Concrete who is right in my neighborhood of Twinbrook.  The business end of things was handled professionally as well, with a clearly written contract in advance, payment receipts, and maintenance and care instructions.  I’m so happy to give work to someone in my town, but when it’s such outstanding quality, it’s a home run.

Truck crashes into bridge at Rockville Metro


A freight truck hit the underside of the pedestrian bridge that connects Rockville Metro station with downtown. Bridge currently closed and police and fire are on the scene. Injuries unknown.

Max van Balgooy joins Rockville Living

Rockville Living, the online magazine that celebrates the good life in Rockville, has asked me to join them as an editor.  I happily agreed because it’s a great team with a worthy mission.  You’ll find me regularly posting stories about things to see and do, and of course I love food, so dining as well.  I won’t be talking about style and fashion, technology, fitness and health, or house and garden–those will be covered by other editors, some of whom you may recognize.

My first story comes out this month and features St. Michel Bakery, an authentic French bakery hidden in the fringes of Rockville.  I’ll show you where it is and explain why the quality is so high.

Don’t worry, you’ll still find my personal perspective and examinations of other issues surrounding Rockville here in this blog.

History of Rockville Traces 150 Years

Tonight the City of Rockville continued its celebration of its 150th anniversary with an illustrated lecture by Eileen McGuckian at the Fitzgerald Theater.  Following an introduction by Mayor Marcuccio, Eileen took the one hundred people in attendance not only back to the 1860, but nearly a century earlier to trace the remarkable history of Rockville through historic photos, maps, and documents.  Today there are more than 60,000 residents in Rockville; in 1860, less than 600.  What was even more amazing is that nearly a dozen people in the audience lived in Rockville when it celebrated its centennial in 1960.  Her talked was followed by a dozen questions from the audience ranging from the Civil War to Congressional Airport to the location of the drive-in movie theater.  Afterwards a reception in the foyer included a book signing of Eileen’s latest history, an exhibit of historic artifacts and documents, and refreshments (but no cake!).   Her lecture will be broadcast on Rockville’s Channel 11 but in the meantime, here are some pix in case you didn’t make it:

There’s no business like snow business

Twinbrook and Meadow Hall roads covered in snow.

It looks like this weekend’s snowfalls sets a record with about 24″ falling in Rockville.  Wonderfully quiet today but that’s because most people could only step a few feet outside before encountering snow up to their knees.  I cut a path to the street so I could check out the neighborhood, but boy, am I sore.  In the evening, some local guys offered to shovel my driveway and sidewalk, which I gladly accepted (for a fee, naturally).  It was actually nice to encounter people who found an opportunity to earn some extra cash–true entrepreneurs.

I am still surprised, however, how many people park their cars on Twinbrook Parkway even though its clearly marked as a snow emergency route.  They can easily park their cars around the corner on a side street to allow the plows to fully clear the main streets so they’re safe for everyone–neighbors, police cars, ambulances, and fire trucks.  I really wish the city would issue citations, even warnings, to remind people.  I did spot one house who very thoughtfully cleared a space around the fire hydrant so it could be easily spotted in case of fire.  Two gold stars for you!

When the sky cleared briefly as the sun was setting, I did get out to take panaromic photos of Twinbrook Parkway and Viers Mill Road.  You won’t see it look like this for a long time!


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