Key Vote Advances I-270 Widening Plan; MCPS Considers Resuming Final Exams; Debating Building Moratorium Policies

Key Vote Advances I-270 Widening Plan; MCPS Considers Resuming Final Exams; Debating Building Moratorium Policies

A sampling of reader feedback on Bethesda Beat stories

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A weekly sampling of reader comments culled from trending Bethesda Beat stories.


State Board Advances I-270 Widening, Delays Beltway Plans

The Maryland Board of Public Works voted 2-1 Wednesday to move forward with Gov. Larry Hogan’s  proposed addition of toll lanes to Interstate 270 in Montgomery and Frederick counties by formally designating the project as a public-private partnership. The board decided to delay the governor’s proposed toll-lane additions to the Beltway in Montgomery County for more study and evaluation.


  • Adding more lanes never solves traffic problems, the developers will only build more homes. A serious transit system is needed, and not some silly trolley line.
  • Few of our county office-holders who object to the Governor’s proposals actually drive those congested areas. They’re always from Takoma Park, which several years ago passed an ordinance saying in effect that anyone who dropped a nuclear weapon on their fair city would be fined $50. Don’t laugh; it worked!
  • How about just adding two reversible non-toll lanes south of Clarksburg, and adding one regular lane in each direction north of Clarksburg, using state and federal funds? Maybe the ‘huge’ infrastructure bill that Trump has been talking about for the last three years will cover some of the expense. Also, it would be incredibly ironic if the state opens this project up for private bids and no companies actually submit bids to do the work.
  • The [American Legion] Bridge is the most significant bottleneck in the region. Expanding it should be priority #1.


Could Final Exams Make a Comeback in MCPS?

Some Montgomery County Board of Education members are eyeing a potential comeback of final exams for county students. In 2015, the school system announced it would scrap final exams – historically given to assess how much information a student has retained from a semester of instruction – in an effort to reduce the amount of time teachers take administering tests.


  • Thank goodness someone has heard the collective prayers if teachers. We have been advocating for the return of final exams since they disappeared. Thanks to the author of the article for quoting Patricia O’Neill’s lie. She will definitely be receiving a letter telling her how our school administrators have bound teachers hands and actively discouraged/threatened us from giving exams.
  • It seems that the BoEd is the biggest problem in MoCo’s education. The series of constant changes in every area (starting with cancelling and bringing back finals, ever-changing curriculum, carousel of standardized tests, playing with the school year calendar, toying with magnet program admissions, all the way to school boundary changes) is undesirable, to say the least. Board members seem to be totally inadequate.
  • These days, so many kids take AP exams, they are getting a final exam experience, despite MCPS “doing away” with final exams. The MCPS model of centrally designed testing/final exams is a problem. Yes, succeeding on such an exam verifies that you can meet some committee’s standard of excellence, but it may not match the particular teacher’s abilities or style. I don’t think kids’ high school GPAs should suffer because of teachers who cover material differently or because of bad test design. If final exams make a come back, let the individual teachers or department within a school design the testing.


Planning Board Candidates Differ on Effectiveness of Construction Moratoriums

Six candidates for vacancies on the Montgomery County Planning Board agree on issues ranging from the need for more affordable housing to the importance of building residences near Metro stations, but diverge on one of the most heated topics in the county: when to place a moratorium on building. At a public forum, the candidates met for the first time, days before the County Council is set to begin interviews. Four candidates agreed moratorium – a freeze on residential building when nearby schools are too crowded — is “a good idea in theory,” but the policy needs revision to better serve Montgomery County residents.None offered suggestions for changes.


  • The moratorium is triggered by the schools, but it isn’t only the schools that are overburdened. Water, sewer, roads, police, etc. are all overburdened by the increased density that development brings. I have little doubt that an argument for a building moratorium could be easily sustained by traffic data, census data, water use data, or others. The point isn’t to stop development. The point is to maintain the quality of life of residents, including access to schools and roads that are not over their capacities.
  • The developers — who as a group dominated election financing in MoCo before taxpayers started funding campaigns — should have worked harder to get people capable of delivering infrastructure into office. Instead, they elected lightweights who knew how to say yes but weren’t actually able to prepare the county for growth.
  • Or we could change school boundaries and avoid the moratorium all together.


Elrich Letter Raises Questions About Accessory Apartments

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich says the lengthy letter he sent to constituents last week, expressing skepticism about a plan to amend the county’s zoning code to allow more accessory dwelling units, was written because of a perceived lack of awareness about the change. The proposal, sponsored by Council member Hans Riemer, would allow ADUs in three additional residential zones of the county; proponents have noted that it will provide more affordable housing for needy populations such as millennials and seniors, while opponents cite concerns over increased traffic, a decrease in property values and the potential for school crowding. The units are sometimes referred to as in-law apartments.


  • Reimer’s ADU proposal is a betrayal of everyone who bought a home in a single family zoned neighborhood expecting the neighborhood to remain single family. The County Council has already made it easier to get ADUs approved in appropriate situations. Not only is this additional change not needed, it would be harmful to our single family neighborhoods. Keeping our single family neighborhoods desirable places to live is essential to the county’s future. This proposal would do long term harm.
  • We have to start thinking differently. The county is changing. We need more housing. Being progressive isn’t just about a higher minimum wage or racial equity, its about progress i.e. change (sounds obvious, I know), but so many people like to wrap themselves in a progressive flag when it suits, but the minute you mention higher taxes or god forbid a tiny house in their neighbor’s yard its all about their personal preference for the status quo. I like Elrich, but he goes from 0 to 60 so quick. Very knee jerk. His first reaction is to protect homeowners. I get it, that is his base. But this proposal will not be the end of single family neighborhoods. In fact I believe it can make them even stronger. It will give homeowners more options. Options to have rental income. Options to assist aging parents. There will always be a vocal NIMBY population, but our politicians have to resist the urge to let them set the agenda.
  • Elrich living up to his poor reputation. Anti-affordability, NIMBY, hypocritical fauxgressive. Fits right in with the Takoma Park/Chevy Chase stereotype.
  • Elrich has more common sense than everyone on the Council put together.


Full text and additional comments accompany the individual online stories and updates.


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