Monday, October 20, 2014

Well intentioned bus shelter is an example of poor implementation

Montgomery County installed this new bus shelter at the intersection of University Boulevard (westbound) and Sutherland Road a few weeks ago.  It was placed adjacent to the parking lot for the Fresh Greek Grill and Red Maple restaurants, and it is located at a heavily used bus stop served by routes 9, 19, C2, and C4.  This bus stop is very popular, as it is the best way to transfer from the southbound Z bus routes to the westbound C routes.  There is little doubt that a shelter here is useful for transit riders.

The problem is that installation of the shelter was poorly implemented.    

The new bus shelter at University Boulevard and Sutherland Drive.  Photo by the author.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Four Corners Business Men's Association

While perusing the extensive photo archives of the Woodmoor.4 Corners Facebook page, I found the below picture from the 1950's.  It depicts the dedication of some new benches in front of the Woodmoor Shopping Center, on land which is now part of the expanded front parking lot.  Most intriguing to me, besides the obvious historic nature of the photograph, was the organization which sponsored the new benches: the Four Corners Business Men's Association.

New benches being installed in front of the shopping center.  The Esso station in the background was demolished in 2000.  Photo from Jenine Olson-Heron

Sunday, October 5, 2014

A quarter of University Boulevard users are transit riders

University Boulevard is a major east-west connection between Montgomery and Prince George's counties.  In Four Corners, University Boulevard (MD Route 193) carries less traffic than Route 29, meaning it is not talked about as much when it comes to transit issues like BRT.  In most articles I've read about transit issues affecting east county, University Boulevard receives only a passing mention, if it gets mentioned at all.  The conversation usually revolves around Route 29.

Here is an interesting fact to consider:  University Boulevard has the highest ratio of transit riders to overall road users in Montgomery County.  Over a quarter of road users on University Boulevard are bus riders.

In 2012, University Boulevard through Four Corners averaged around 36,000 vehicles a day, the vast majority of which were single-occupant vehicles.

That same year, Metrobus routes C2 and C4 had a combined ridership of nearly 12,000 riders a day, with nearly all riders travelling between Wheaton and Langley Park (the segment in which the C2 and C4 operate concurrently due to high ridership).

C2, C4 route map.  Image from WMATA.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

We're back... and thank you!

As regular readers may have noticed, this blog has been on a break for the past month.  Perhaps some of you thought that this blog had gone dead or dormant, like many other local blogs have.  As a blog reader myself, I'm always a little sad when I come across a great blog which has not been updated in a long time.  On the other hand, it's refreshing when I find a great blog which is regularly updated (at least once or twice a week).  If said blog is consistently updated with thought-provoking and well-researched posts, that's all the better.  So has Around the Corners joined the ranks of those dead blogs? 

No.  This is Around the Corners.  We don't go dormant for more than a couple weeks without a decent explanation.   

So why the break?  For one, your friendly community blogger is a 19 year old college student.  This blog is basically a one man operation.  Everything written on here so far, with the exception of one post, has been written by me: Sean Emerson.  At the end of August, I returned to Washington College for my junior year, which means my free time was somewhat diminished from what I had during the summer (although I did work two jobs over the summer).  However, blogging from college is not the main reason for the hiatus, since I did that all last spring with relative success. 

The primary reason was a technical one.  I had originally planned to take a two week break from posting when I returned to school to get back in the college routine, but just as I planned to start blogging again, the hard drive of my laptop crashed.  

This was a major problem, since most of the stuff I use to blog (my Four Corners photo archives and my customized version of Google Earth) were on the laptop.  Thankfully, everything is backed up on a portable storage device, because I had long planned for technical difficulties such as these.  However, this was still a major inconvenience since the only computers I had access to were my friend's or those here at the college library, meaning I had to use my limited computer time for getting schoolwork done.  I felt like it was circa 2002 when I was in second grade and my parents only allowed me one hour of "computer time" a night (I was an outdoor kid, so I really didn't mind limited computer time).

Anyway, my computer will be back in service soon, so you can expect me to be posting regularly again within the next week or so. 

The break gave me a chance to reflect on the blog and how much it has grown in the past 10 months.  I basically started this blog as a fun experiment, and I didn't expect it to get much traffic or attention.  To my surprise, this blog has developed a regular following, and it has connected me with all sorts of great people.  I am always humbled when people say "I love your blog!" or "Great job on that post!" since it reminds that people actually read this stuff and appreciate what I do.  Positive feedback like that motivates me to keep writing, even when I'm feeling really lazy and I don't want to take the time to research a post. 

It is because of those regular readers and Four Corners community members who have supported me throughout this process that I have written this post, since I figured you all were owed an explanation for this hiatus.  I would also like this opportunity to thank you, the readers, for your support.  Running this blog is not the easiest thing ever, and sometimes I wonder why I still do it.  But then I get an email or Facebook message from someone who says that the post I wrote brought back a great memory for them, or that it taught them something new about Four Corners, or that they are just happy to see someone blogging about this community. 

That makes it all worth it.       

New posts are just around the corner...