New Neighborhood Street Trees

A new street tree on Lanier Dr

Casey Trees was in the neighborhood last month, planting our latest batch of street trees in cooperation with the county, courtesy of a Chesapeake Bay Foundation grant.

You’ll see new trees on 2nd, 3rd, Elkhart, Luzerne, Lanier, Louis, Glen Ross, Glenridge, Hanover, Rookwood, and Stratton. Some less-common species we are getting this year include a black willow on Hanover St and a bald cypress on Glen Ross near the 5-way intersection.

The Tree Committee is starting to collect names for the next round of plantings to go in this fall or next spring. If you want a new street tree or trees and think you have the space, contact the Tree Committee.

Special thanks to Casey Trees and county arborist Jack Pond. Jack inspects, chooses species, and coordinates with Casey Trees. Casey Trees applied for the grant and does the planting.

Historical Maps of North Woodside

North Woodside in 1929. Source of Map: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division.

Some links to a bunch of historical maps that show North Woodside in its younger days  (zoom in just above the northern tip of DC to where it says “Woodside”)

  • 1891 (year after our neighborhood was established)
  • 1893 (shows the neighborhood lies ~7.5 miles from White House)
  • 1917 (shows bridge that preceded the historic Talbot Avenue Bridge, built in 1918 and demolished in 2019) Note: if you live in one of the oldest houses in the neighborhood you should be able to find your house on this one.
  • 1918
  • 1924
  • 1929 (#1)
  • 1929 (#2) Note: many more neighbors should be able to find their houses on this one — particularly those living in bungalows and Sears Kit houses on Grace Church, Hanover, Glen Ross, Luzerne, and 2nd.

So interesting to imagine what this area looked like back then. Very little development and no Beltway yet!

Black Lives Matter Vigil

The Black Lives Matter Vigil continues every Friday, rain or shine. North Woodside and Woodside neighbors stood there on Christmas Day 2020 and New Year’s Day 2021 (during a cold downpour). And nearly 30 people, a vigil record, showed up on the Friday after the attack on the U.S. Capitol and racist vandalism marked cars in Woodside. The following week the most enthusiastic honker was a woman who works in the White House, just down the road.

For those who attend weekly, the event has provided a meaningful way to meet neighbors and match masked faces with names from the listserv. All are welcome!

Update (October 2021): The Black Lives Matter Vigil has concluded and may resume at a later date. For more information, contact the organizer.

Traffic and Safety Committee Updates

The new Talbot Avenue Bridge in September 2020, before construction halted.

Seminary Road Intersection

The bulk of the road construction work on this project will be completed in early November. Sometime within the next six months, trees and plants will be planted.

The portion of Seminary Road between Seminary Road and Seminary Place, which is now physically a continuation of 2nd Avenue, will be officially renamed 2nd Avenue.

The new traffic lights will be operational in early November and the county will then recalibrate the timing. Also, at that time the new streetlights will begin to work.

Talbot Avenue Bridge

As of Oct. 16, 2020, all construction stopped on the bridge. Due to the inconvenience and the eyesore of the partially built structure, Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills neighborhood associations sent a letter to Gov. Hogan and other public officials requesting that Talbot Avenue Bridge construction be prioritized in Purple Line activities. After consultation with the members of the Traffic and Safety Committee, the NWCA Board sent a letter of support that also stated the following:

“As we foresee a greatly increased volume of traffic once the Talbot Bridge is opened, the North Woodside Association also wants to take this opportunity to remind Montgomery County, specifically the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, of its commitment, made to us last January and February in a public meeting and follow up emails, that once the Bridge is reopened the County will work with all three of our neighborhoods to mitigate any traffic disruptions.”

We believe that with the support of Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills, we will obtain the traffic mitigations we’ll request in the future.

The approval of almost all types of mitigation requests is based on traffic-volume studies. So it would be wise to wait for the bridge to be open a few months and for the pandemic to have passed before requesting such a study.

2nd Avenue

Residents on 2nd Avenue have concerns about traffic speed and volume, particularly regarding pedestrian safety. The Traffic and Safety Committee will follow up with the county to request a review of all options for better traffic control and pedestrian protection.

— by Merrie Blocker and Julie Lees, Co-chairs, Traffic and Safety Committee

North Woodside Traffic and Road Construction Update

Traffic. Nobody likes it, but a certain amount is to be expected in a community that is located near a thriving urban center. Unfortunately, there are a number of construction projects about to get underway that are likely to increase traffic in and around our neighborhood.

The North Woodside-Montgomery Hills Citizens Association will continue to work with officials from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, state transportation agencies, Purple Line and others to minimize the impact. But there is an inevitable it’s going to get worse before it gets better aspect to the next several years. Here is a short summary of the projects about to get started or that are in the planning stages.

Seminary Road Intersection

The Seminary Road Intersection Improvement Project is intended to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety at the so-called mixing bowl where Second Avenue meets Seminary Road, Seminary Place and Linden Lane. Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2018 and be completed roughly 12 months later. While traffic will be allowed to use the intersection throughout the project, backups and delays should be expected.

In May, the county’s Department of Transportation hosted a meeting at Woodlin Elementary where officials walked through the project’s schedule and heard testimony from residents of the surrounding neighborhoods. At that meeting, I provided input on the project on behalf of NWMHCA. One of the points I emphasized is that our neighborhood is greatly impacted by cut-through traffic on Second Avenue, which often backs up at the mixing bowl intersection. I pointed out that this problem could be reduced by allowing left turns at rush hour from Georgia Avenue onto Seminary Road, Seminary Place and Forest Glen Road.

Purple Line and Talbot Bridge

In late April, the Talbot Avenue Bridge was permanently closed to vehicle traffic following an inspection that found the bridge was no longer safe for cars. DOT says the bridge is still safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. No advance notice of the closure was given to the surrounding communities. NWMHCA worked with DOT to develop better detour signage than what was originally put in place.

Now that the lawsuit regarding the Purple Line has (mostly) been resolved, replacing the Talbot Bridge is high on the county’s priority list. The new bridge is slated to be about 41 feet wide (compared with 11 feet wide for the current bridge) in order to accommodate three lanes two for vehicle traffic and one for the Capital Crescent Trail.

NWMHCA petitioned county and Purple Line officials to reduce the size of the new bridge to be more consistent with the current bridge. We asked that the new bridge have one lane for alternating two-way vehicle traffic and one lane for the trail. However, we were informed that this proposal would violate federal safety standards, which requires new bridges to have two lanes for vehicle traffic. Therefore, the new bridge would be built as originally planned.

We are now actively working with the Lyttonsville and Rosemary Hills civic associations on ways to ensure that both vehicle and trail traffic can use the bridge safely. We want to promote traffic calming measures on the surrounding streets and look at ways to improve the aesthetics of the new bridge. We are also supporting efforts spearheaded by Lyttonsville to preserve portions of the current bridge in order to memorialize its unique history.

Lyttonsville Place Bridge

The Lyttonsville Place Bridge will also be replaced as part of the Purple Line project. The timing is unclear, but it looks like the Lyttonsville Bridge will be closed after the Talbot Bridge is replaced. It is likely that some traffic that would ordinarily go over the Lyttonsville Bridge would be rerouted over the Talbot Bridge. We are working with DOT on strategies to minimize the effect on North Woodside. These would includes establishing a detour route that will encourage traffic to travel on larger state roads like 16th Street and making sure trucks aren’t allowed over the new Talbot Bridge. The situation is going to be further complicated by construction on the Spring Street Bridge as part of the Purple Line.

Seminary Road Bridge

This winter, the state Department of Transportation will start work rehabilitating the Seminary Road Bridge over Interstate 495. The project will take about a year to complete. The state plans on keeping two lanes of traffic open through- out the project, but lane shifts will be required and traffic back-ups could occur.

Georgia Avenue Study

The Maryland Department of Transportation has spent several years looking at ways to improve Georgia Avenue from 16th Street to Forest Glen Road. The planning study was funded by the county, although no funds have been set aside to actually make any of the proposed changes.

Options being looked at by DOT include installing a median, adding a dedicated bike lane and providing left turns lanes from Georgia Avenue onto Seminary Road, Seminary Place and Forest Glen Road. In September, Maryland DOT announced it was still working on identifying the preferred alternative for the project and conducting additional engineering analysis. The preferred alternative is supposed to be announced this fall. At this point, it is unclear how the planning study will be affected by Gov. Hogan’s proposal to add four lanes to the Beltway.