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

Support the Education of Low-Income and Marginalized Kids in MCPS

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately hurting low-income and Black and brown families, whose adults are overrepresented among essential workers. Their children, especially the younger ones, are falling further behind academically.The new Educational Equity and Enrichment Hubs provide a safe opportunity for in-person support for MCPS K-5 students, based on financial need. Learn more here:

To make a donation, visit here: Any amount helps; in the Comments box add “For the Equity Hubs.”

* One student = $20
* Cohort of 13 students = $250
* Hub of 52 students = $1,000

— Isabel M. Estrada Portales

On [Not] Making That Call

By Karin Chenoweth

Quite a few years ago North Woodside had a rash of burglaries, and the citizens association held a meeting with the police department at Woodlin Elementary School.

A detective suggested we call the police if we saw someone we didn’t recognize walking down the street. I felt pride when my neighbors objected to the suggestion on account of the many people who cut through Glen Ross and Luzerne to their jobs on Brookville Road.

We often see people we don’t recognize, and even then we knew that calling the police would make our neighborhood hostile and dangerous for many who are just trying to get to work and school. His advice would mean that mostly white neighbors would make miserable the lives of mostly Hispanic and African American men.

Afterwards, I felt confident that we were not a neighborhood where the police are called with little cause. It’s been many years since that meeting, and we may need to rethink this issue.

With the pandemic shutdown, I’ve noticed a big uptick in people taking walks. Many of them I do not recognize, but of course most working people were not taking walks midday before. I suspect that, just as I’ve been doing, more people are walking farther afield and venturing into new neighborhoods.

As a middle-to-older-age white woman, I’m pretty much invisible (I can prove it!). There are downsides to that, but one upside is that no one calls the police or posts on Nextdoor “old lady in sweat pants walking around, keep an eye out.”

I’d like to think that everyone gets the same courtesy.

People may not like to hear it, but we are an urban suburb. We have enormous infrastructure supporting us — sewers, trash pickup, two Metro stops within a mile, and a major state road and federal highway within a few blocks. Walk to the end of Grace Church Road and look east — you almost think you could throw a ball at the Silver Spring high-rise buildings.

The flip side is traffic (remember that?). But a huge advantage is what we may love about our quiet tree-lined neighborhood: we know and like many of our neighbors; we can walk to grocery stores, restaurants, movies; and transit takes us to museums, more restaurants, and the political heart of our country.

So we may like to feel secluded from the bustle of the world, but we are right next to it. Many people walk through our neighborhood, and that will vastly increase if the Purple Line is finished. I think that’s great.

I want to live in a neighborhood others choose to walk through because they like the flowering trees and beautiful gardens, the dogs in the yards, birds building nests, and interesting architecture.

I don’t want to live in a neighborhood hostile to people of color, where the police get called on them just for walking down the street, or where emails fly around warning of a “man in a hoodie.”

Our nation has been forced to face the role police play in keeping African American men, women, and children from enjoying their rights as full citizens in a country largely built on the labor of their forebears. And we have seen far too many videos of white people using the police as weapons against African Americans (think Amy Cooper in Central Park).

I hope we think more than twice about why someone arouses our suspicions. Until police procedures are reformed, we must understand that calling the police could result in death or serious injury. We might want to think that couldn’t happen in Montgomery County. But it has. And it probably will again. Let’s try not to be the ones making an unjustifiable call with unforeseeable consequences.

Supplement: Before Calling the Police, Ask Yourself

Before Calling the Police, Ask Yourself…

Hundreds of residents of Rosemary Hills, Lyttonsville, and North Woodside gathered in June for a candlelight vigil in memory of George Floyd, a Black man murdered by Minneapolis police. Participants were silent for 8 minutes 46 seconds, the length of time an officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck. His last words: I can’t breathe.

Before Calling the Police, Ask Yourself:

1. Is this merely an inconvenience to me? → Can I put up with this and be okay?

2. No, I need to respond. → Can I handle this on my own? Is this something I could try to talk out with the person?

3. No, I need backup. → Is there a friend, neighbor, or someone whom I could call to help me?

4. No, I need a professional. → Can we use mediation to talk through what’s happening, or is there an emergency response hotline I could call?

5. No. → If I call the police, do I understand how involving the police could impact me and the other person? If police are present do I know what to do? See below for some alternatives

Alternatives to Calling Police

And Ways to Help in Montgomery County

Mediation: Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County
301-652-0717, Mon.–Fri. 9:30 am–4:30 pm, or submit an online request. Mediation is a free, confidential, nonjudgmental, and voluntary process to develop solutions to conflict.

Mental Health: Montgomery County 24 Hour Crisis Center
Provides services 24 hours/day year-round. Mobile Crisis Outreach will respond anywhere within Montgomery County to provide emergency psychiatric evaluations. Full crisis assessments and treatment referrals are provided for psychiatric and situational crises.

Victim Support and Sexual Assault: Montgomery County Victim and Sexual Assault Program (VASAP)
240-777-4357, 24-hours/day
Information and referral, advocacy, crisis and ongoing counseling, support and compensation services for victims of crimes committed in Montgomery County or crime victims who live in Montgomery County, as well as to the victims’ families and significant others.

Severe Heat or Cold: Montgomery County 24 Hour Crisis Center
If someone needs shelter.

Source: SURJ Montgomery County

Black Lives Matter in North Woodside

A neighbor participates in the weekly Black Lives Matter Vigil

As tragic story after tragic story attests, racism and racial bias remain a huge and deeply rooted problem in our country. Indeed there is much work to do. A good place to start would be right here where we live. In the Fall 2020 issue of the Beacon, two members of North Woodside’s antiracism group invited neighbors to reflect on the Black Lives Matter movement as it pertains to our community, and to take action.

On [Not] Making That Call
by Karin Chenoweth

Supplement: Before Calling the Police, Ask Yourself

Kids Ask Again, Are We There Yet?
by Isabel M. Estrada Portales