Thursday, July 29, 2010

But I get up again

A commenter on a previous story mentioned how impressive the tree roots of the fallen tree on Fernwood Road in Bethesda, MD were. Here's a closer-up picture of them. You can see the pulled up ground was significantly taller than the woman standing on the other side.

Yesterday, they trimmed that tree and put it back up-right. It made a song run through my head "I get knocked down, but I get up again". I can't imagine that it will survive, but hey, it is standing up. You can see the jagged outline on the ground where the dirt had pulled up.

After finally getting back to normal from Sunday's storm and extended power outage, this afternoon I heard the familiar rumble of thunder. I still like thunderstorms, but I was thinking to myself, "oh no, here we go again". The lights flickered a few times but fortunately, power stayed on. I know there are still some people in Montgomery County without power from the last storm, hopefully no more outages occur for a while.

Update August 7: The tree has been removed. It seemed unlikely that it would survive anyway and the risk of it falling again seemed high, so I am both unsurprised and glad.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Power coming back on

Today Pepco finally started to get a handle on the power problems in Montgomery County Maryland. Around noon I drove down Old Georgetown Road and almost all the lights were still out. At least today they had people directing traffic at Old Georgetown and Arlington Rd. By 3:30 I noticed the that light was working again. On the drive home I saw power crews working by the side of the road (see the exceptionally blurry photo).

I noticed a bit of damage I hadn't seen before, the top of this tree is hanging from a power line!

I'm actually writing this on my on computer and posting using my own internet connection. After over 50 hours the power came back on in my house. There was much celebrating and dancing. I waited 5 minutes or so to make sure it was going to stay on before I turned the generator off and began rolling up the extension cords. I know there are still a lot of people out there without power and pepco estimates several more days before everyone has power.

This was not a fun experience, Pepco totally failed to realize the magnitude of the problem and waited too long before calling in out of state crews. The problem was compounded by the lack of police directing traffic at busy intersections along Old Georgetown Road, Wisconsin Avenue, and Conneticut Avenue on Monday. Power delivery is still a monopoly around here, they get there cost + profit and it doesn't encourage them to be effective. There should be penalties for them whenever large number of people lose power. That would really encourage them to get power lines underground, especially those that serve a lot of houses.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Now that's a storm

Yesterday's storm was super impressive. I was up in Gaithersburg and watched it out a store window. There were times I couldn't see the cars in the parking lot it was raining so hard. I heard last night that wind gusts were above 60 mph. Lots of trees were knocked down across area roads and this morning Pepco was still reporting 180,000 people without power. Power was out at the Potomac water pumping station forcing mandatory water restrictions this morning.

This morning, most of the lights on Old Georgetown Road were dark. Traffic was lighter than normal so things were still moving, just slowly. The core of Downtown Bethesda, MD does have power, traffic lights working, buildings open, etc. Going to work might be a good way to cool off during the heat of the day. One of my co-workers reports that some of the houses on the east side of MD-355 don't have power so if you work in that area you might want to check before coming in.

The first two pictures are from Fernwood Road near Democracy Blvd. A large tree by the side of the road uprooted, taking the grass with it. It fell away from the road and broke another large tree.

Two trees at Davis Library fell down. It doesn't look like they were in great shape to begin with.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Trees mean it is almost done

I was walking on Woodmont Avenue in Bethesda, MD where the new Equinox Fitness building is being built. Progress has been pretty steady and for a while they have been working on the inside. Yesterday I noticed that they had planted new trees and bushes along Woodmont Ave there. You know it is almost done when they start putting in the landscaping.

You can see the full coverage about this construction project.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I never thought there would be an earthquake strong enough for me to feel in Bethesda, MD, but this morning there was. at 5:05 I woke up to the rumbling sound of the quake, a little rattling and some mild shaking, it lasted 5 or 10 seconds. No damage here the power didn't even go out. USGS gives a preliminary estimate of it's magnitude of 3.7, centered near Gaithersburg, MD.

This is the third earthquake I have ever felt, the other two were in California. Earthquakes do happen around here but the are usually too small to feel. This is so rare I'm not even sure what keywords to put with this post.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Old Georgetown Road resurfacing

It looks like they are finished the resurfacing project on Old Georgetown Rd in Bethesda, MD. There may still be barrels and signs, but the work itself is done. They didn't just resurface the road, they did work on the storm drains, bus stops, and corners too. Oddly, the resurfacing project ended just short of downtown so there is still a stretch of road in poor shape. The part they didn't do was probably the part that was in the worst shape.

Many of the bus stops got concrete pads for the bus to stop on. Concrete is stronger than asphalt and buses are heavy, this will hopefully make the road last longer.

The storm drains got concrete around them. I'm not positive the reason but I think it is because the drain/asphalt junction doesn't hold up well and the asphalt tends to crack in that area making it tough on bicyclists.

There are two different types of storm drains, the top one has a grate but no curb opening, the bottom one has both a grate and a curb opening. I didn't notice anything about the surroundings that would have them prefer one over the other.

Here's a storm drain that didn't get fixed, you can see patches, chunks of asphalt missing, cracked asphalt and grass growing in the cracks. Not too pretty and a bit dangerous for bikes.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Caroline Freeland Park Playground Closed

Caroline Freeland Park is on Arlington Road between Bethesda Library and the Giant Foods. There are lots of tables and benches there and it is a good place to eat lunch. Up until very recently there was a kids playground too. They have torn it up and I bet they are going to re-do it and put new equipment in.

Friday, July 2, 2010

In search of the elusive 20 cent coin

I was using the self-checkout at the Giant Food store on Arlington Road and noticed the example coins were the 5 cent, 10 cent, and 20 cent. I wonder who came up with that graphic. I know these machines also take dollar coins (and quarters) and won't accept half-dollars.

Fourth of July fireworks in Montgomery County

The National Mall in DC is a great place to go see the fireworks, but if you don't want to deal with the crowds and waiting forever to catch a metro back, there are some closer fireworks you should consider. Here are some fireworks shows going on in Montgomery County on July Fourth.

Annual Independence Day. Montgomery College-Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee St., Rockville, MD. A concert at 7pm, fireworks start at 9:30.

Mid-County Sparkles Fireworks Show. Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Road, Kensington, MD. A concert at 7:30, fireworks start at 9:15.

Gaithersburg Independence Day Celebration. Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut Street, Gaithersburg, MD. Fairgrounds open at 5pm, a concert at 7pm and fireworks at 9:25.

Germantown Glory Fireworks Show and Washington Freedom Soccer Game. SoccerPlex at South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds. A soccer game at 5pm, a concert at 7pm and fireworks at 9:30. You need to buy tickets for the Washington Freedom vs. Chicago Red Stars soccer game.

I haven't decided which one I will be going to, but it will the Montgomery College and Einstein ones are closest to Bethesda.