Thursday, June 30, 2011

bethesda magazine proves, once again, they don't ever leave bethesda

We've long assumed that people in Bethesda don't come to Silver Spring, whether out of fear or merely ignorance. Now, there's proof in the July/August issue of Bethesda Magazine, which investigates the vagaries of parking in downtown Bethesda:

“A sign out front would solve the frustration of circling aimlessly in a full garage,” Seely says, “even if it wouldn’t solve the problem of there being no spots . . .”

Installing a car-counting system would enable the county to track the number of spots available at any given moment. But that’s not a simple proposition.

Of course, the parking garages on Ellsworth Drive and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring (which are rarely, if ever, full) have had a car-counting system since they opened in 2004, as do the parking garages in Rockville Town Square, which opened in 2007 (and can get pretty full). We can excuse the people interviewed for this article, who likely never leave the confines of Bethesda, Chevy Chase or Potomac, save for the occasional trip to Tenleytown to go slumming. But writer Amy Reinink, who allegedly "lives in Silver Spring," should know better.

Hiding Out
Look at all those empty parking spaces in garage on Ellsworth in downtown Silver Spring.

Think of the possibilities, Amy! Bethesda Magazine has already claimed much of downtown Silver Spring as some of their "67 Things We Love About Bethesda," and they could've added "stress-free parking" to the list! How many people in Bethesda only know about Silver Spring because the Purple Line is supposed to go there? How many fine individuals think of Silver Spring primarily as an exporter of black kids? How many Bethesda youth are unaware of the glorious Friday nights to be had in Silver Spring? Turncoat! You could've changed all of that.

Alas, Bethesda Magazine must feel some kind of inferiority complex about their town's parking garages, where each weekend so many midlife-crisis Mercedes coupés and tricked-out swagger wagons are trapped that the streets ring with the screams of Montgomery County's frustrated suburban élite. If only they knew that the parking was easier in Silver Spring! Not only would they find better food, but they'd save time and money as well. What a shame.

Sometimes, I wonder why their staff of Bethesda Magazine doesn't just pour all of their money and effort into something constructive, like battling illiteracy in DC, rather than giving a two-hundred-page-long pat on the back to people with the money and taste to live west of Rock Creek Park. Though I guess Ending Adult Illiteracy in DC Magazine probably wouldn't find a place in the periodicals rack at the Bethesda Barnes & Noble next to all of those trendy art magazines I don't understand (and are not available at the Silver Spring Borders).


Robert said...

Concerning: "Of course, the parking garages on Ellsworth Drive and Wayne Avenue in downtown Silver Spring (which are rarely, if ever, full) have had a car-counting system since they opened in 2004,..."

I don't know about the Wayne Avenue garage, but it has been months since I've seen the car counting system working in the Ellsworth Drive garage. Am I just there at the wrong times, or has the county simply failed to keep the system operational?

David Rotenstein said...


The car counting system you mentioned never worked. For the first couple of years after the garages opened, they flashed wildly inaccurate numbers on the screens before the county shut them off. If you look closely, there aren't any sensors installed to actually monitor which spaces are filled or not.

Dan Reed said...

I never said Silver Spring had a car-counting system that worked. I said that Bethesda Magazine's writer who "lives in Silver Spring" is unaware of the existence of such a car-counting system, regardless of its functionality. I have driven into the Town Square Garage before and seen a sign boasting of "9999" parking spaces, which is certainly inaccurate.

The car-counting system in Rockville appears to work. There are even sensors above each space that turn green or red if there's a car in it. I'm not clear, however, if the writers of Bethesda Magazine have ever been to Rockville, either.

David Rotenstein said...

Dan, It's gonna take those Bethesda peoples some more years to work up the courage to visit MoCo's outlying provinces (e.g., Silver Spring and Rockville). First they need to learn the language. It's a lot like anthropological fieldwork ....

Dan Reed said...

"Next week on Bethesda Geographic: We go deep into the wilds east of Rock Creek to discover the mysteries of the Silver Spring tribe, whose strange, multicultural people attend public schools and drive cars not made in Germany."

David Rotenstein said...

Can you render that in Legos?

MattF said...

Now, now. Why, just the other day I saw someone driving a Honda on Woodmont.

Terry in Silver Spring said...

Not only do we have more parking in DTSS, it's FREE on the weekends and after 9pm on weeknights.

To echo everyone else, that car counting system didn't work from day one.

One thing that does amuse me about the garages is the sign that announces a camera system is in place but that it's not currently monitored. "Yes, we have a security system, but we're not using it at the moment, so carry on." I think that at random intervals, they should cover the line about not being monitored for a day or two just for my amusement and to see if anyone notices.

Robert said...

I think that, at least I hope that, "the not currently monitored" camera system signs mean no one is watching but they are recording so if something is reported, they can go back and look at the recording.

Dan Reed said...


Oh, that Honda was mine. I was going to get some pollo a la brasa at Chicken on the Run (which is surprisingly good, despite being in a place not known for such foods).

Anonymous said...

Last Saturday evening my son and I drove to downtown Silver Spring to have dinner. We couldn't even get close to the parking garages. Evidently they were full (I've seen them full before BTW). It took over 20 minutes to get through town. Anyway we finally ended up at a place on Rockville Pike where we found less traffic and plenty of parking. SS is just getting too popular these days! It really needs to expand.

Which leads me to my second comment. Please, please let the Bethesdians be. We should encourage them to stay in Bethesda. That way we're both happy. Let's just keep DTSS our secret.

retgroclk said...

Why would someone from Silver Spring go to Bethesda and vice versa.
Restaurants movies,, bookstores, they both have them.
Crowds they both have them.
AS for me- Wheaton has everything I need.

Bob Fustero

Ken said...

Having an elitist about living in Bethesda or Silver Spring is pretty ridiculous, especially over something as stupid as parking garages. I live in Bethesda and have been to Silver Spring plenty, but I know there are plenty other places in the area that kill them both.

Dan Reed said...


Certainly there are places whose parking situations "kills" those of Silver Spring and Bethesda. Parking is relatively easy to find in Germantown Town Center, for instance, and there is a lovely multiplex there. But this conversation isn't about Germantown, or any other place, outside of Silver Spring and Bethesda. We can talk about those other places another day.

In the meantime, please let your friends and neighbors in Bethesda know Silver Spring welcomes them with open arms and is not scary any more (promise!)