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The Westbard Vision

ConceptImage

Concept Rendering of the New Westbard Ave in Bethesda from Equity One

Equity One, a publicly-traded real estate investment trust specializing in neighborhood retail shopping centers, acquired Westbard Shopping Center, Westwood Center II, Westwood Towers, Springhouse by Manor Care, Bowlmor Lanes and two Citgo gas stations on Westbard Avenue in Bethesda.  The properties stretch over 22 acres.

The company states that their mission is to create a “modern, comfortable gathering space offering convenient shopping and dining integrated with community spaces, green places and a walkable streetscape.”  While their “vision” for Westbard/Westwood is still a conceptual one, plans are moving forward rapidly towards approval of a Final Master Plan from Montgomery County slated for the Spring 2016.

The vision includes a complete renovation of the area including redesigning traffic flow from adjacent River Road and Massachusetts Avenue, including pedestrian walk-ways, street redesigns and more.  There is a plan to add about 600 residential units which has created elevated concern from area residents about the already overcrowded schools and local streets.

Through a series of community meetings in the Summer and Fall 2014, Equity One gathered comments and feedback from area residents.  In addition, on March 4th, 2015, they completed a traffic analysis using Wells + Associates, their traffic engineer.

Their analysis determined that “even with all of these changes, the identified intersections will still allow traffic to flow at a satisfactory level measured against the nationally recognized standards employed by the county.”  Montgomery County will also conduct a traffic analysis in the near future.  Incidentally, residents may like to hear that the plan includes a shuttle to the Metro Red Line.

In February of 2015, Equity One shared its initial concept plans for the redevelopment of the area and provided a power point presentation on their website including renderings of the proposed changes.  Click here to view the presentation.

Upcoming important dates include a public hearing of the draft plan currently scheduled for May 14, 2015.  In the Fall of 2015, the County Council will hold a Public Hearing.  The Final Master Plan is slated for approval in the Spring 2016.

For a full list of dates and activities see the Montgomery County website at: www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/westbard.

Facebook.com/PlanWestbard

Information hotline at 301-495-4567

To track Equity One progress including their presentations, proposed plans, blog posts and Frequently Asked Questions page, visit: WestbardVision.com

As for us, we will be closely tracking the progress of these activities.  Feel free to Contact Us to discuss opinions and thoughts on the big changes ahead for our community, including impacts to residential home values.

Capital BikeShare Rolls into Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

Capital Bikeshare Bethesda

It’s a new year and like many, you may have resolved to “get fit.”  Thankfully, in Bethesda it has now become just a litter easier to meet that goal with Capital Bikeshare.  Recently the company installed stations in many convenient locations around town.  Also, there are bike stations situated all over DC, Montgomery County and Virginia.  If you’re so inclined, you can virtually get around “car-free” almost anywhere in the greater DMV region.  Here is the station map of current Capital Bikeshare locations where you can grab a bike and go.

The price is pretty good too.  You have four payment options: rent for one day (or by the hour), for a 3-day period, for a month or even for a year.  The first thirty minutes of any rental is free.  As of  January, 2014, the 24-hour daily rate is $7, the 3-day rate is $15, monthly is $25 and the annual rental rate is $75 (or you can pay $7 per month with an annual agreement).  Here are the current Pricing Options.

For safety, I guess a little planning ahead is advisable though because they do not rent helmets.  However, there are many convenient shops around Bethesda where you can pick one up including Griffin Cycle Bethesda (4949 Bethesda Ave), Big Wheel Bikes (6917 Arlington Rd), Freshbikes Cycling (7626 Old Georgetown Rd), City Sports (7121 Arlington Rd), Modell’s Sporting Goods (7201 Wisconsin Ave) and RnJ Sports (4945 Elm St).  Also advisable, while planning ahead, consider skinny jeans vs. bell-bottoms – always a better bet while biking!  Happy Cycling Bethesda!

Bikeshare kiosk

Bikeshare kiosk

Top 5 Things to do in Bethesda in October

Capital Crescent Trail

Capital Crescent Trail

October is, in my opinion, the most wonderful time of the year.  It started at a young age for me…my birthday is in October.  At my current age however, that is no longer a good thing.  Yet the month remains my favorite of the year!  Football season is in full swing, the weather is wonderful, the leaves are changing color, Oktoberfests abound, pumpkin spice lattes, pumpkin pie and all things pumpkin are aplenty.  What’s not to love?!

Bethesda has some great October fun to offer as well.  Here is our TOP 5 things to do in Bethesda in October:

1.  Taste of Bethesda is usually the first Saturday of the month; this year it’s Saturday, October 5th from 11 AM – 4 PM.  Ticket sales end at 3:30 PM.  Over 60 restaurants will offer samples of some of their best treats while music lovers can enjoy live performances on five stages.  Kids have face painting and art & crafts to look forward to as well.  The event is held across several streets at the Woodmont Triangle area.

2. The Bethesda Row Arts Festival is being held this year from October 19-20th, 2013.  With over 190 artists from around the world featuring works ranging from the sublime to the surprising, you can’t beat a stroll through the streets of Bethesda for this amazing show.  Of course, no event in Bethesda is complete without food, music and fun, and this Festival is no exception!  Admission is free; however, bring your checkbook or credit card.  It’s awfully tough to leave empty handed when you can find some fantastic art to fill your hallowed halls.

3.  A walk on the Capital Crescent Trail in the month of October is different every week as the leaves change color and alight upon your path.  Walk, run, bike or stroll and enjoy the fresh, fall air as you appreciate one of the great features our town has to offer!  One of our personal favorite spots ranges from Little Falls Parkway (mile marker 4.0) down through the Dalecarlia Tunnel at Mile marker 6.5 just before the DC line.

4.  Bethesda abounds with cuisines from around the world!  One of our favorite activities in October is eating lunch or dinner outdoors at one of the 180+ restaurants in downtown Bethesda.  Bethesda Row offers an array of outdoor eating establishments including Mon Ami Gabi, The Mussel Bar, Assagi, Redwood, American Tap Room, Raku and many others!  And if you don’t want to eat outdoors, you can always just enjoy a nice drink at happy hour!

5. Halloween in Bethesda is an event!  From school festivals to neighborhood parties to late-night parties for the big kids, there is something spooky around every corner!  If you want to dress up and let off some steam, try a bar crawl to Union Jack’s, The Barking Dog, Tommy Joe’s or any of the other dozens of sports bars and pubs who are sure to be offering some freaky fun. Hitch a FREE ride around town on the Bethesda Circulator!

October in Bethesda is definitely the most wonderful time of the year!  What do you enjoy most?

~Amy

 

Day 358: Christmas Eve in Bethesda

It’s December 24th and many families will be heading out for Christmas Eve services at local churches.  Thanks to Bethesda Patch, you can conveniently find the one that’s right for you.  Check it out here.  Services begin as early as 4 PM and the last one begins at 11 PM to carry you over into the wee hours of Christmas Day when the midnight bell tolls indicating that it’s time for you to don your kerchiefs and caps and settle in for your long winter’s nap.

White Flint Mall Train

If you’re looking for something fun to do with the little kids this evening to keep them distracted from obsessing over the gifts that lay under the tree, try visiting the White Flint Mall in “North Bethesda” (if you can stand the crowds of last-minute shoppers).

For $1.50 per rider, you and your little cherubs can take a festive ride around the mall on their really cool train.  The conductor is charismatic and the train whistle is quaint.  I’m not sure whether the young or the young at heart enjoy it most!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

~Amy

Day 318: The Sights and Sounds of the Capital Crescent Trail

The approach to the Tunnel

The approach to the Tunnel

“Ting!” goes the bell as the biker passes by and announces, “On your left.”  Thump, thump, thump, thump as the runner jogs past on the other side of the trail.  Shhhhhh…the wind whispers through the trees as the dry fall leaves rustle and float down to alight upon the path.  Crunch! as I step on a dry brown leaf that crumbles underfoot.

As I round the soft bend approaching Mile Marker 6.0, the Dalecarlia Tunnel comes into view in the distance.  A woman is walking her dog toward the tunnel.  It looks like a golden retriever perhaps as its tail swishes from side-to-side.

The Ghost of the Last Train

As they enter the tunnel with its yellowish light bulbs all in a row lining the ceiling like bread crumbs to lead the way out, an airplane rumbles overhead as it zips toward Reagan Airport in Washington, D.C.  As I soon enter the tunnel behind her, I can almost hear the echo of the last train to run through it in 1985.  “Whoo! Whoo!” goes the whistle and I hear the distant clack, clack, clack of the wheels that once rolled over the track where now only the ghost of it remains.

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The Light at the end of the Tunnel

The last vestiges of fall color the landscape as I emerge from the Tunnel and take in this perfect autumn 73 degree day – a rare and wonderful treat!  It may perhaps be the last warm day of the year and I am so glad to be able to carve out some time to walk the Capital Crescent Trail – one of my favorite treasures of Bethesda.

For those who are not familiar with the trail, it was formerly known as the Georgetown Branch of the B&O Railroad, created in 1910 and then converted to a trail 78 years later thanks to the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C.

The Capital Crescent Trail spans a 10-mile distance from Silver Spring, MD to Georgetown in Washington, D.C.  It’s a favorite of 2-wheeled commuters, athletes and people who just stay fit while enjoying the outdoors.  One of the spots I appreciate most on the trail is the Dalecarlia Tunnel which was constructed in 1910.  If you look closely when walking through it, you will notice 4 “duck ins” – carved areas that were made for people who were stuck in the tunnel when a train would come; the train was probably shipping coal from Cumberland, MD to Georgetown in D.C.  The Roman arch brick tunnel is 18′ wide and 341′ long.  You can find the Tunnel between mile marker and 6.0 and 6.5.  It sits almost right at the Bethesda-D.C. line.

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

Mile Marker 4.5 near River Rd

There are many places to access the Capital Crescent Trail.  A popular spot is on Bethesda Ave., across the street from Barnes and Noble.  Take some time to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Trail.  At any time of year you will enjoy a beautiful and relaxing experience.  You may come across deer, a fox or even one of your neighbors also taking in this special place.  ~Amy

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Capital Crescent Trail Map, Bethesda

Day 187: Enjoy the Arts this Weekend in Bethesda

Summers in Bethesda are a wonderful time to enjoy eating at our many fine restaurants, walking around the town, visiting with friends and catching some local entertainment.  One of the great things Bethesda offers is plenty of opportunity to enjoy the arts and this weekend is no exception.

ArtWalk 2011 logo from Bethesda Urban Partnership

July 8 – Bethesda Art Walk

As we posted on Day 42 of Bethesda365, the galleries and studios of Bethesda offer Art Walk every second Friday of the month from 6 – 9 PM.  You can ride the circulator for free to visit the galleries which stay open late for this event.  Check out the route for the Circulator here.  Call 301-215-6660 with questions.

 July 9 – Bethesda Artist Market

Enjoy fine art & crafts from 25 local and regional artists including jewelry, blown glass, painting, photography, pottery and more.  Plus enjoy some live entertainment while you stroll around.   This FREE event is located at Norfolk Ave between Fairmont & St. Elmo from 10 AM -5 PM.

July 10 – Open Door Reading

From 2 PM – 4 PM, author Joan Gussow and poet W. Perry Epes will offer readings at The Writer’s Center which is located at 4508 Walsh St.  This FREE event is geared toward attendees aged 18 and older. Call 301-654-8664 with any questions.

Enjoy the opportunity to appreciate the arts this weekend in Bethesda.     ~Amy

Day 182: Crawford Tire

Crawford Tire

Someone once said, “The only thing you can count on is death and taxes.”  I’d like to add to that “car maintenance and repairs.”  I had a good friend who used to work for a luxury automobile dealer in Bethesda and he let me in on a number of disturbing “secrets” of the business.  Ever since he opened my eyes to what was really going on behind the scenes I’ve been suspicious and leery of dealerships and auto repair facilities and the games they play.  I’m going out on a limb here and recommending Crawford Tire located at 7015 Arlington Road next to the Post Office.  They’ve been servicing cars in our area for the past 20 years and are open from 7:00 a.m to 7:00 p.m. M-F and 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday (they get to sleep in until 7:30 a.m. on Saturday).

Full Service Shop

Here’s why I like this family owned and operated company.  #1. Great Tires. They really know their tires.  They are a Goodyear Tire and Service center affiliated with Goodyear, the world’s largest tire company.  Did you know that the first Goodyear balloon airship was built in 1912?  #2. Knowledgeable. Our service advisor Rick is just one of the many very knowledgeable people on staff.  He not only knows tires, but all the major systems of a car, so Crawford can assist you in maintaining your car at far less expense than paying the typical dealer to do the exact same service.  There ASE certified technicians handle tires, alignment and rotation, brakes and shocks, heating, air-conditioning, batteries, belts and hoses, exhaust systems and even transmissions and major engine repairs.  Basically Crawford’s got you covered from bumper to bumper.  They are also a Maryland State Authorized Inspection Station.  #3. Great Value.  Amy and I both needed tires recently and they did an excellent job.  Not only was Crawford Tire significantly less expensive than our respective local car dealers, they also beat many “larger” competitors that advertise on the internet and not nearly as convenient to our area to get the service.  #4. Honest.  I really feel we can trust Rick to look out for our cars and not sell us service our cars don’t really need.   As real estate professionals we depend on our cars for our livelihood and need them available nearly everyday to service our clients.  Here’s a tip.  Their website has some great coupons so before you head over for service checkout this Coupon link for the latest deals. In summary, Crawford Tire keeps us on the road, our passengers safe, and a little more cash in our wallets. ~Brian

Day 143: Save the Trail 5K Run May 28th

Photo from Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail website

The second annual Save the Trail 5K and Family Fun event is scheduled for May 28th.  There will be prizes, t-shirts, tote bags and children’s activities at Elm Street Park located at 4601 Willow Lane at 9am. The cost of the 5K run is $25 and registration is available on-line.  Proceeds will benefit the non-profit organization, Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail.  Registration is also available at packet pickup on Friday, May 27 from noon to 7 pm at Chevy Chase Running Company located at 4461 Willard Avenue in Friendship Heights or on race day at Elm Street Park, but sadly those who don’t register on-line won’t get a tee-shirt.

So, what’s this race all about?  It’s about saving a large portion of the Capital Crescent Trail from destruction due to the proposed Purple Line which would wipe out 20-acres of mature trees and habitat.  The highly controversial plan to add a new rail line has long been a source of debate for all and angst for some.  Friends of the Capital Crescent Trail has posted a link to many news articles, resources and information about why this plan may not be as much of a benefit as it is a detriment to our community.  In addition, the non-profit organization, Purple Line Now!, has a website dedicated to their arguments in favor of the construction of the new rail line.

Study the facts and comment with your opinion here on Bethesda365.   As a fan of the Capital Crescent Trail and a self-confessed tree hugger, I personally would hate to see the destruction of a such a pristine and wonderful natural resource in our community that, once changed, cannot be un-done.  While traffic snarls are apparent all over the greater DC area and there is a real need for better public transportation, it seems there should be a better option.  What do you think?      ~Amy

Day 76: Your Party Itinerary for St. Patrick's Day in Bethesda

Happy St. Patrick's Day

An Irish blessing for our readers (kind of): May the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind always be at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains falls soft upon your fields, and if you drink lots o’ beer on St. Patrick’s Day, may you be wise enough to call a cab!

Here’s the number: 240-767-4488.

Better yet, make a reservation on-line ahead of time for a pick up from your favorite local pub.  Here’s the link:  Bethesda TaxiCab – open 24/7.  They accept credit cards and can be your friendly neighborhood D.D.  So may I suggest picking up your cell phone now.  Then program that number into your phone as “Designated Driver.”  Good! 

Now…onto the St. Patty’s Day festivities!

Bethesda area restaurants and pubs have no shortage of fun planned for this St. Patrick’s Day celebration.  Here’s our suggestion for a fun-filled itinerary for the day (we assume you are honoring the Irish by taking the day off work!):

6:30 AM – Visit RíRá’s 1st Annual Penguin Plunge for the NIH Charities.  Stop by the Shoppes of Bethesda parking lot on Hampden Lane to watch the early birds plunge into the ice filled pool starting at 6:30 AM to raise money for charity.  It will be their most sober moment of the entire day!  Come and cheer them on as they freeze their shamrocks off! 

RíRá Irish Pub

8 AM – 10 AM head over to Union Jacks’s for an absolutely FREE breakfast, no strings attached – hot and cold foods, all good stuff (yes, we know it’s an English pub but why not?  It’s FREE!)…or….from 9 Am – Noon check out Tommy Joe’s who is also offering a free breakfast as a buffet.  If you’re really hungry, you have time to get to both of them!

11 AM – 2 PM – NAP and prepare for the wild evening ahead!  Gather your green garb and maybe even your leprechaun outfits for the crazy night ahead!

3 PM – 5 PM: Stop by The Barking Dog at 4723 Elm Street for a full day of celebrations including live music from Jimmy Nalls Band, giveaways, and all kinds of food and Guinness specials!  There is no cover for their St. Patty’s Day Party that lasts until 12:30 AM.  They will have $5 Irish coffee and $6 green bombs (I have no idea what that is but good luck with that!).

Irish Inn at Glen Echo

5:30 PM  (Call taxi if needed) Head out to Irish Inn at Glen Echo for a special performance by one of our favorite groups, The 19th Street Band.  Bring your smiles and enjoy the fun while partying at the pub with some great music.  They always have great drink specials but  my favorite is Kilkenny on draft.  The Irish Inn is offering a special 2-course lunch or dinner ($25/$35 per person respectively).  Reservations are recommended…or just hit the bar for some darn good music from 3 PM – close.

DINNER:  We recommend the Irish Inn at Glen Echo, Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle or RíRá – all Bethesda Irish pubs who should be doing it right on St. Pat’s Big Day.  Call ahead for your reservations!

9:00 PM – Stop by RíRá for some Celtic Rock by the live band, Kilmaine Saints.  Their pub has a great atmosphere  and lots of room for a rockin’ good time.  Good beer on tap and I’m sure lots of terrific St. Patrick’s Day food and drink specials.  Try a black & tan – a combo beer with Guinness draught and some kind of stout – like Bass or Harp lager.  It’s mmmm, mmmm good.

11 PM – Last, if you want to continue on with the pub crawl and really go crazy, dress in your sexiest leprechaun outfit and stagger over to Union Jack’s for a chance to win a trip to the Caribbean while dancing to their live DJ!  You must wear green or you may get pinched (on second thought, if you’re wearing a sexy leprechaun outfit, you may get pinched anyway).  21 and older of course.  They will be offering $3 Killians and Guinness pints.

LAST: Call Bethesda Taxi, your lucky leprechaun, for a ride home: 240-767-4488.  Be safe everyone and may the luck o’ the Irish be with you this night and always!       

~Amy, the red-headed, somewhat Irish REALTOR & blogger

Day 56: Vamoose!

The View from Central Park

Broadway

Looking for something exciting to do this weekend?  Why not pop in on the New York City scene and catch a show or grab dinner and visit an art museum?  The list is endless.  Now why would a blog about Bethesda suggest a visit to New York?  Well because one of the greatest things about Bethesda is its proximity to big cities like Washington, D.C. and New York.  But you might think – I don’t have a flight reservation and I don’t want to drive.  Well, Vamoose Bus is your answer.  Seriously, this blows my mind!  For $30 each way you can take a coach DIRECT from Bethesda METRO to Penn Station in New York. 

Vamoose Bus runs several times a day, in fact there are 3 departures still on the schedule today and 4 with open seats available tomorrow.  The trip is roughly 4 hours wherein you can read, relax, sleep or surf the Net while whisking away to an exciting evening or weekend in the Big Apple.  If you join their rewards program, you get a free trip after your 4th ride.

Vamoose Bus also offers a luxury GOLD bus service for just $50 each way which offers great perks such as 50% more leg room, 25% wider seats – which are reclining leather seats by the way.  Plus you get a power connection at every seat and wireless Internet service, among other things.  Check out their video of the bus: VAMOOSE GOLD!

Now I did not know about this super deal the last time I went to New York and I instead wasted a ton of money flying and dealing with the airport hassles of security, possible delays and taxis to/from each airport – not to mention that I spent 10 times as much money! 

The benefits of living in this ideally located city of Bethesda never cease to amaze me.  I’m off to Ticketmaster now to see what show I can catch!  Vamoose baby!   ~Amy

Day 36: Excellent Gas!

Eastham's Exxon

Today’s blog is about a gas station, but not just any gas station.  Eastham’s Exxon, located at the corner of Woodmont and Wisconsin Avenues, was founded in 1929 and is arguably the oldest business in Bethesda.  How does a business survive and thrive over 80 years?  When I was a freshman in college the seminal classic and one of the best-selling business books of all time, In Search of Excellence was published by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman.  In the book Peters and Waterman identified two characteristics that “Excellent” companies posses and that certainly apply to Eastham’s Exxon.  The first characteristic is the company has “stuck to the knitting” as Peters and Waterman like to say. That is to say they have not strayed far from their core business of delivering gasoline.  In fact the company sells nearly three times the typical volume of gasoline than comparable gas stations in the area.  Why?  Because they just do it better.  The station is immaculately clean, winning the establishment numerous Exxon awards over the years.  The windshield washer tubs are actually full of soapy water and there are always paper towels in the dispensers as well.  In an age where gas stations have turned into miniature 7-11’s, with an emphasis on candy bars and convenience food, Eastham’s Exxon has kept its focus on the automobile –gasoline and great service.

The second characteristic of an excellent company according to the authors of In Search of Excellence is a company that remains focused on the needs of its customers.  This may seem obvious but many a great company has met its doom when they thought they knew more about what the consumer wanted than the consumer.  Bob Eastham’s father started the station during the roaring 20’s and his son has carried on with this core customer service principle –know your customers by name.  Bob Eastham, the first Chairman of Bethesda Urban Partnership (see blog of January 7) and known around town as “Mr. Bethesda”, passed away last summer.  The station’s lease is scheduled to expire in 2012 and the future uncertain.  This landmark may not be with us forever.  If you’ve never experienced excellence at the pump head on into Eastham’s Exxon, Bethesda’s oldest and finest.  ~Brian

Day 13: No More Nasty-grams from the Meter Maid!

Coin, CashKey or now Pay-by-Cell

You’re late for an appointment in Bethesda.  You are driving into town…praying for a parking spot that is not higher than the 2nd floor up so you’re not snarled in slow-moving traffic.  You enter the garage and join the procession. 

You prey upon pedestrians like a cat on a mouse as they begin to approach a parked car.  Ah ha!  You got one.  You thump on your steering wheel impatiently as they slowly load up, turn on their car (check their cell phone or whatever! UGH!) and finally back out.  At last the spot clears.  You dash in, collect your things and bound out of your car.  Oh wait – the meter!  You dig in your pockets, in your bag…no quarters!  Shoot.  Back in the car you proceed with the frenetic search for change – the cup holder, the glove box, the floor.  At last, you find a couple of coins and make your deposit.   You RUN off to your appointment – late.

An hour later, as you saunter back to you car, the shocking realization hits you – YOUR METER EXPIRED!  Maybe if you run, you will beat the meter maid and not get a ticket.  You bolt into the garage and to your car only to have the sinking realization that there is a little yellow envelope nestled under your windshield wiper.  As you open it, you can almost hear the ridicule, “nananananana, we got you!”  Do not pass go…go directly to the Montgomery County web site and PAY!  So much for the quarters you frantically hunted down.

It is my hope that today, with this blog, you will never again receive a little yellow nasty-gram on your car in Bethesda.  Parking garages all over Bethesda have now been outfitted with a Pay-by-Cell service.  I am reluctant to try anything new but I have to admit, this new system appears to be pretty fool-proof and worth using! 

It’s simple.  Once you register on-line, you simply call from your parking spot, enter the meter number and the time you arrive.  You will then receive a text confirmation.  The best part is that you will also receive a warning text when your meter is about to expire and you can re-load additional time remotely using your phone!  No more interrupting a meeting or a meal to go feed the meter.  Another perk: when you return to your car if you call it to let the system know you are leaving, you will be CREDITED for any remaining balance!  Wow.  You don’t get credits with coins or Cashkeys.

A friend of mine encouraged me to consider the Pay-by-Cell system, even though she once received a ticket that was unwarranted when using the system.  She called customer service and they handled everything in a jiffy.  No need to contact the County at all.

Some tips to know before you begin:

1. Click here to register on-line at GoParkNow.com to set up your payment so you are ready to go when you get to a garage.  The minimum pre-load for a credit card is $25.00.

2.  There is a $0.35 convenience fee every time you park and use the system.  No one works for free; however, it’s a far cry from the cost of an expired meter and little yellow nasty-gram.  Plus you can get credits for time you didn’t use.

3.  Program the phone number into your cell phone (301-830-7074) to make it even quicker and easier to dial from the meter.

4. You still might want to carry coins or a CashKey for those garages that are not yet outfitted with the system.

Hopefully, parking in Bethesda will be a little less stressful with Pay-by-Cell and take that feeling of racing against the meter out of your meeting or meal experience!

~Amy

Day 9: You got me going in circles . .

Look for these signs to ride

One spring day when my daughters Nicole and Caroline were very little I decided they needed some adventure.  I told them we were going to take a trolley ride through the city.  They were very excited, swinging their stocking covered legs back and forth on the sidewalk bench, as they waited impatiently for the Trolley to come.  All of the sudden we could hear the unmistakable rumble of the trolley as it made its way down Bethesda Avenue to the bus stop.  We climbed aboard the Bethesda 8 Trolley and quickly headed to a seat in the back. The seats were made of wrought iron and wood and we had a great view out the open back windows of the bus.  Spring air filled the bus as the driver pulled back onto the road as the wind began to blow the girls hair.  “Weeeeeeeeeee”, they squealed as we headed off on our adventure.  I think we completed the figure 8 bus loop through downtown Bethesda four times that day.  We waived at every pedestrian we saw and tried to get passing car and truck drivers to blare their horns by giving them the bicep pump signal.  You know the one where you close your fist and pump your arm up and down hoping like mad the driver will honk their horn.  People were waiving, horns were blaring and I was smiling at all the fun we were having…..and for free!

The signature red Trolley arrives

As the city of Bethesda has grown, so too has the need to get from one end of town to the other.  Enter the Circulator, Bethesda’s free and cool way to traverse downtown.  Formerly known as the Bethesda 8 Trolley, for it’s figure 8 shaped route through the town and the bus’ Trolley car design, the Circulator ferries passengers from the Woodmont Triangle area down Woodmont Avenue to Bethesda Avenue where it turns onto Arlington Road and heads back up to Old Georgetown Road returning to the Woodmont Triangle (see Circulator map). Unfortunately the Trolley buses may not be with us much longer due to high maintenance costs and reliability problems.  The current route, which services 20,000+ riders a month, will be served by sleek new buses instead.  So get the kids and get out and enjoy a nostalgic ride around town….. while it lasts.  ~Brian

The Circulator is managed by Bethesda Urban Partnership and the operation is as follows:

The Circulator Route

Hours of Operation
Monday – Thursday: 7:00 am – 12:00 am
Friday: 7:00 am – 2:00 am
Saturday: 6:00 pm – 2:00 am
Sunday: no service

Stops (approximately every 10 min.)

  • Woodmont Ave. & Bethesda Ave.
  • Arlington Rd. between Elm St. & Hampden Ln. (Giant & Library)
  • Arlington Rd. & Montgomery Ln.
  • Edgemoor Ln. near Woodmont Ave.
  • Bethesda Metro Station
  • Old Georgetown Rd. near Commerce Ln. (Safeway)
  • Old Georgetown Rd. between Fairmont Ave. & St. Elmo Ave.
  • Old Georgetown Rd. between Cordell Ave. &Del Ray Ave.
  • Auburn Ave. & Old Georgetown Rd.
  • Auburn Ave. & Norfolk Ave.
  • Rugby Ave.
  • Rugby Ave. & Del Ray Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. between Cordell Ave. & St. Elmo Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. & Norfolk Ave.
  • Woodmont Ave. at Garage 11
  • Woodmont Ave. & Moorland Ln.
  • Woodmont Ave. between Edgemoor Ln. & Montgomery Ln.
  • Woodmont Ave. & Elm St.