Monday, October 18, 2021

Fully Electric Ride-On buses are coming


I saw them testing out a new fully electric ride on bus this past weekend, they look a lot better than the current diesel buses (which I am not fond of).  This one wasn't in service, it was just driving on Sangamore Road.

Given that I saw the bus twice, once going in each direction, I think it was following the Ride On route 23, to see what real-world range is.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Demolition of the Auburn Professional Building continues

 I took a walk by the Auburn Professional Building this morning to see how the demolition is going. 

They were hard at work today demolishing the Auburn Professional building.  As the giant claw tore at the building and piled the metal away from other debris, a construction worker kept up a spray of water to keep dust down.  The Huntington Learning Center building (formerly Maryland Radio) is completely gone, the only trace that something was there is the concrete ramp leading to where the loading dock was.

The back of the Auburn Professioanl building. Demolition has started on the far side of it.  The Huntington Learning center building is already demolished, it used to block the view of the red brick building you can see in the distance.

From this angle you can't really tell the building is partway demolished, it looks like it is just undergoing renovation.  However, the far side fo the building is where the demolition is currently occurring.

Friday, October 1, 2021

Demolition of the Auburn Professional Building has begun

 The demolition of the Auburn Professional Building and Huntington Learning center building has begun. They started at the rear of the Huntington Learning Center building, you can see the back quarter of the building has been knocked down.

The front of the building has a fence close up to the wall of the  building.

The fencing continues down the block and goes around the Huntington Learning Center building.  Demolition has started in the back of this building.

Sunday, September 12, 2021

The portables are gone at Walt Whitman High School


Notice anything different?  For the past few years there have been portable classrooms in this section of the parking lot, since the new wing is open they are no longer needed and have been removed.

Here's how this part of the parking lot looked earlier this year with the portables still in place.

You can tell exactly where the portables were because the blacktop has square patches where the classrooms were anchored down.

The new sign is now (mostly) done, proudly proclaiming the name of the school.  The black rectangle should get an LED variable message sign at some point in the future.

Here's the new classroom wing. The building is ready but there is still work that needs to be done on landscaping, water retention, and paving. Even though the parking lot has been striped, it has not been paved to be even to the curp bottom, another layer of blacktop is still to be added.

I understand that they might not want water going into the water retention areas yet since they are not complete, but it seems like an overkill and more permenant than needed to brick the drainage cuts up.

Friday, September 3, 2021

High water at Great Falls

 Wednesday the remnants of Hurricane Ida came through the Bethesda area and left a lot of water. I have been tracking the forecasts for the Potomac River and it was projected to peak this morning.  I went to Great Falls today to take a look, here are some comparisons for how it looks today and how it looks in slightly more normal times.

Great Falls on the Potomac River as seen from the Olmsted Island overlook.  This photo was taken in July of 2020, the water is a little bit higher than normal for mid summer.

Great Falls on the Potomac River as seen from the Olmsted Island overlook.  This photo was taken this morning. Compare it to the photo above that was taken last year,  All the rocks seen in that photo are submerged, only a few small trees on them poke above the water on the left side of the photo.

From Olmsted Island overlook looking across the Potomac River to the Virginia side.  This photo was taken in April of 2021, the water in the spring is usually higher than in the summer. On the far shore you can see the Virginia overlooks, and in the middle of the picture you can see a large tree trunk wedged between the rocks well above the waterline.

This is a photo taken this morning from almost the same spot as the prior photo. You can see the overlooks on the far shore, and, you can see the same tree trunk wedged between the rocks (and partially obscured by tree leaves. This time the river is within a few feet of it.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Little Falls branch after a storm


On Friday, a couple of hours after a storm, I went for a walk along Little Falls branch.  I was surprised how muddy the water was, lots of dirt gets washed into the stream.

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Building the road at Amalyn Bethesda (former WMAL site)


Construction continues on at the Amalyn Bethesda housing project (at the site of the former WMAL broadcast towers).  You can now clearly see the path of the road  that will connect Greyswood Road and Greentree Road. The road itself will be in the portion of dirt that is about 6 inches lower than the rest (on the left).  Greyswood Rd is just behind the construction equipment in the center of the photo.

One standing and one fallen concrete monoliths with construction equipment in the background.  As far as I can tell, they are not full of stars.  They are the footings for one of the radio transmitter towers that used to be located at this site, most of each of them was buried under the ground with only the top couple of feet exposed. 

 A number of pieces of construction equipment parked in the field near Greyswood Road. In the foreground is a large concrete monolith that was one of the footings for the now-removed radio transmitter towers.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Demolition of the former Ourisman car dealership

 The long-vacant Ourisman car dealersship on Motor City Drive up by the Home Depot and Montgomery Mall has finally been demolished.  The plan is to put apartments on this site.  The building is fully down and there are just a few bits of metal girders left

 Here is how it looked when I last took a picture of it in December of 2020.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Cicada learners permit

 Cicadas may have just emerged, but they spent seventeen years underground. That means they are old enough to drive!  I took this one to get it's learners permit last week even though I doubt it will live the nine months required to get it's provisional license.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Clearing trees for the road at Amalyn Bethesda

 One of the first things that is being done for the Amalyn Bethesda housing development is to connect Greentree Rd and Greyswood Rd. They have started clearing trees at the end of Greentree Rd to allow for this work to start.

 Here is how Greentree road looks now. All the trees and brush has been removed.  

 This is from the field, looking at the dead-end of Greentree Road. Prior to this, the trees and brush were dense enough that you couldn't see Greentree from here.


 For comparison, here is how the end of Greentree Road looked earllier this spring.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Young Love (cicada style)

 "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." (Alfred, Lord Tennyson)

Now that the cicada's have been out a little while, and the racket they make has grown increasingly loud, it should come as no surprise that the singing is starting to pay off, at least for this lucky fellow and equally lucky lass.  They are especially lucky that no one stepped on them while they lay in ecstasy on the sidewalk.

After spending today listening to the cicadas, I was a bit surprised tonight to not hear them.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Little Falls Trail almost back to normal


They have been working on replacing the bridges on Little Falls Trail in Bethesda, MD since last fall, but the end is in sight now.  The bridges themselves have been open for a while, although one of them still doesn't have a ramp up to it.  They are in the process (and have been for a couple of weeks) of removing the thick layer of mulch they put down over the trail to protect it.  The very end of the trail, near Albermarle Street still has a big pile of mulch and some heavy duty wood planks but the rest has been cleared.

The trail here used to have about a foot of wood mulch over it, all has been removed and the trail swept clean. There is still some construction equipment parked along the trail.

After the clean up, they relandscape the area. Relandscaping might be a strong word for what they are doing, but after carefully cleaning up all the mulch and clearing a couple of feet on each side of the trail, they are putting straw down over the bare dirt.  I suspect they put grass seed under the straw.

Not everything is complete, there are a couple of places where the trail has been torn up and needs to be replaced, primarily at Albermarle St, the ramp leading to one of the bridges, and the area where the rebuilt a drainage creek that goes under the trail.  After that, everything will be back to normal, but as of now, as long as you don't require handicap accessibility it is fully usable.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

A couple of Cicada videos

Here are a couple of videos I have taken of the cicada attack.

This first video is a time-lapse of a Brood X cicada molting on a blade of grass.  This time-lapse was taken over a period of about 2.5 hours one night. One picture every 15 seconds.  Where a cicada walks over the emerging one and where the emerging cicada flips so it is holding onto its shell I have duplicated each photo 4 times to slow it down and make it easier to see what is happening.


This next video isn't a time lapse, it is just a view of about 20 cicada nymphs crawling aimlessly through the grass.  I was taking a timelapse of a molting cicada at night so had a couple of lights turned on, it appears the nymphs are attracted to light.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Some Brood X Cicada Photos


The cicadas are out in force and for the past week or so I've been watching them and taking pictures.  Here are a few of my favorites.


These Brood X cicadas have been underground for 17 years, but now they are climbing out and onto trees and plants. Once out, they do a final molt to their winged form.  They will only live for about a month longer during which time they will mate and lay eggs.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Timelapse of cicadas molting


I took this timelapse video of a couple of cicada nymphs  molting and their wings expanding. One cicada starts molting then another climbs on top of it and also starts molting.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

A newly molted Cicada


I took this photo of a newly molted cicada a couple of nights ago.  Last week they were only coming out some evenings, but this week it has been every night, and each night there are more and more of them.  They have only been emerging in the warmer areas, ground that is in shade for much of the day still hasn't released it's hordes.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Erosion Control at Amalyn Bethesda site


Just over a week ago they started doing work on the silt fence that will go around the Amalyn Bethesda construction site.  Now, they have installed the fence.  Interesting to me is that even though they used a giant saw to cut a narrow slit trench (that was plenty wide for the fence), they went over it again with a small excavator and widened it to about a foot an a half.  Then, they put in the erosion controling sediment/silt fence, put the dirt back, and have now put straw on the ground outside the fence.  This fence is supposed to keep any dirt that the rain washes away contained within the construction site.

When the WMAL radio towers were here they were grounded with copper radiating out from each tower.  I believe these copper straps were what was used. They are buried several inches under the soil and go nearly to the edge of the property.  Many of them have been pulled out and in a couple of places parts of the straps are lying on the ground.

Monday, May 10, 2021

The cicadas have arrived in Bethesda!

 I was walking around Bethesda, MD this morning and noticed the first advance troops of cicadas on the trees.  They weren't everywhere, some trees would have a dozen or so, others just a couple, but most trees didn't have any yet.  That will change in the coming days.

When they start coming out en-masse scenes such as this will be common.  Here you have a few cicadas still emerging from their exoskeleton and a couple who have just finished emerging but whose wings are still wrinkled up.

As they rest, their wings expand to full size. Notice they are very pale, it takes them a few hours to darken and for their bodies to harden.

They don't limit themselves to just the tree trunks, they climb out onto the small branches and leaves.  They'll be everywhere.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Woodward High School / Tilden Middle School demolition: another update


The demolition of Woodward High School / Tilden Middle School in North Bethesda (or Rockville if you want to call it that) is complete.  The building is entirely gone and all the debris cleared away.  The only evidence of its existence is the concrete slab the school was set on.

A few trees that were in front of the school remain, looking a bit lonely behind the construction fence.  If I were them, I would be nervous.

The slab itself is in the process of being removed. In a few places it was above the ground on short concrete pillars.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Initial site work at Amalyn Bethesda (former WMAL radio tower location)

 Toll Brothers has started doing some site prep work for the Amalyn Bethesda housing development.  This development is located at the former WMAL radio broadcast tower location in Bethesda near the I-270 spur.  They are digging narrow  trenches around the perimeter of where it looks like work will be done.

At recent construction projects (such as the demolition of Woodward High School) I have noticed that the fence around the project is set in a trench and has fabric at the base, this keeps any storm water runoff from filling streams with silt.  It looks to me like that is what is happening here.  Often times the fence is only about 18 inches tall, I hope that is the height they use here (and not a 6 foot tall fence which could totally block access)

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

The fence harvest came early this year

 Due to the nice weather this week, we were able to harvest the fences a little early this year.  Here they are all stacked up and ready for market.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Crossing River Road near Whitman High School

 It seems like this crossing has been under construction for a long time without much progress being made recently.

This is the crosswalk that is being replaced, it is on the Westbound side of River Road (Maryland Route 190) in Bethesda. There is no intersection or signal at this location.

This crosswalk on the eastbound side of river road is not being replaced, however, you can see a traffic light is being added.

After crossing Eastbound River Road, but before crossing Westbound River Road, the sidewalk sweeps up towards the top of a hill.

The new crosswalk across Westbound River Road is near the top of the hill, giving pedestrians better visibility.  There will also be a streetlight and a traffic light here.

After crossing river road, you will be able to continue right towards Walt Whitman High School, or left towards the old crossing.