Archives January 2009

Revealed! Dan Hardy’s Appendix!

Dan Hardy is the chief transportation planner for the White Flint Sector Plan. Today he revealed his addition to the Sector Plan: an appendix on transportation. Transportation is one of the most important parts of the new plan, and has been the focus of both recent meetings of the White Flint Steering Committee.

Dan’s Appendix can be found at:

Barnaby Zall

Royce Hanson on Future of Development

Royce Hanson is the Chairman of the Planning Board (and of the MNCPPC), and has guided development thought in Montgomery County for many years. He has recently spoken out on the changing nature of development in Montgomery County and has embraced a form of the “new urbanism” effort which is popular in urban planning circles. In Wednesday’s Gazette, Hanson explained his views:

Barnaby Zall

Just Announced! Next meeting of the Steering Committee

Nkosi Yearwood of the Planning Board staff has just announced that the next meeting of the White Flint Steering Committee will be held at the MNCPPC offices in Silver Spring on February 4, 2009, at 7PM. The topic? A hot one: transportation.

Dan Hardy, the brilliant transportation analyst who doubles as head of the Research Department, will present his appendix. No, not that one. The one that describes the transportation issues and proposals. The appendix will be posted on-line at, this Friday, January 30.

Barnaby Zall

More on Traffic Mitigation

At its meeting on Tuesday, the White Flint Steering Committee had a brief “executive summary” of successful traffic mitigation efforts near the “trip capture area” of the Metro station (focussing on the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s 50% reduction in commuter automobile use). In 2003, the Planning Board conducted a preliminary study of vehicular trip reduction in the area; the study was not definitive, and only indicated that further refinement of the data was warranted.

Here is a small part of the Planning Board’s material, from the LCOR No Bethesda Town Center Plan on 10/15/03 [courtesy of the Planning Dept, MNCPPC]:

Trip Reduction Due to the Site’s Unique Land Use Mix, Size, and Location 

            The total number of trips generated was determined based on trip-generation formulas that assumed each land use was located on a separate site and not located near a Metrorail station. These assumptions are not representative of the subject development on this site with a unique mix of residential and non-residential land uses on a large scale located within walking distance to Metrorail stations. Therefore, some of the total weekday peak-hour trips could be reduced as follows:  

1.            Internal Trips between Different On-Site Land Uses: As a large mixed-use development, from 10% to 25% of the trips could be between the internal different land uses: 

Between Land Uses Weekday Peak-Hour
Residential and Office Uses 15%
Office and Retail Uses 10% 10%
Retail and Residential Uses 25% 25%
Residential Use and the Movies   0% 25%

The percent of internal trips was determined based on studies of multi-use developments by the Urban Land Institute and the Institute of Transportation Engineers and Wells and Associates’ travel surveys conducted at Reston Town Center and Villages of Shirlington. The percent of internal trips is also consistent with those used for retail uses in the approved Traville development in North Potomac. 

The net trip reduction could be approximately: 

During the weekday morning peak hour: 13% or 472 person trips

During the weekday evening peak hour: 19% or 1,281 person trips  

2.            Non-Vehicular Trips: The site located within a walkable 1,000 feet of a Metrorail station (with a bus transfer facility) in a pedestrian friendly environment. Given the convenience availability of alternative transportation modes, between 5% and 50% of vehicular trips could be made by not driving single-occupancy vehicles. To encourage transit use, other TDM measures should include market-rates to park single-occupancy vehicles and transit fare subsidies.

These percents of vehicular trip reduction are shown below and were based on WMATA’s “Development-Related Ridership Survey II” and M-NCPPC’s Montgomery County Trip Generation Rate Study, dated August 1989, for offices located near Metrorail stations. 

Land Uses Weekday Peak-Hour
Apartments 40%
General Office Use 50% 28%
General Retail Use 25% 25%
Movie Theater   0%  5%

The net trip reduction could be approximately: 

During the weekday morning peak hour: 44% or 1,526 person trips

During the weekday evening peak hour: 25% or 1,626 person trips  

The net trip reduction by both could be approximately: 

During the weekday morning peak hour: 57% or 1,998 person trips

During the weekday evening peak hour: 44% or 2,907 person trips  

Barnaby Zall 

Next Meeting of the White Flint Steering Committee

The next meeting of the White Flint Steering Committee will be held on Wednesday, January 28, 2009, at 4:30 PM. The meeting will be held in the same place as the prior meeting: Federal Realty Investment Trust, 1626 East Jefferson Street, Rockville (behind Congressional Plaza).

A special guest will be County Council Member Marc Elrich, who will be presenting his proposal for Bus Rapid Transit in Montgomery County. BRT, which involves a special kind of bus service using dedicated lanes, is a topic of discussion in urban planning areas around the country, and the White Flint Advisory Group report made a recommendation that the Planning Board discuss BRT.

Other topics include further discussions of topics projected to be discussed in Planning Board work sessions, including sustainability, economics, land use and zoning.

The public is welcome. For more information, contact Evan Goldman, co-chair of Friends of White Flint.

Barnaby Zall

Notes from January 13, 2009 Meeting of Steering Committee

Here are my edited notes from Tuesday night’s White Flint Steering Committee meeting. For more information on the meeting, see earlier post on this meeting.

I wrote these notes, so any mistakes are mine. They were circulated for comment before posting and Committee members did suggest several changes.

Notes from January 13, 2009, meeting of White Flint Steering Committee  [.pdf version]

Barnaby Zall

Last Night’s Steering Committee Meeting

Last night (Tuesday, January 13, 2009), the White Flint Steering Committee met to discuss issues in the White Flint Public Hearing Draft Plan. Fifteen of the seventeen Committee members attended. The meeting was a spirited two-hour discussion, focussing mainly on transportation issues.

The Steering Committee meeting was called to determine if it was possible to identify issues on which a consensus could be forged, and others which should be brought to the Planning Board’s attention as “conflicts.” The Committee did find a strong consensus on a number of points, and conflicts on several others.

For example, there was a strong consensus that the Steering Committee supports the concept of a dedicated funding source for infrastructure to support development in White Flint, as a self-funding instrument on the scale of the investments we are discussing. This was in response to the County Executive’s presentation at the Monday public hearing before the Planning Board.

On the other hand, there was a big discussion about walkability and how to define it. The concept of walkability is crucial both to the creation of a green White Flint, and to the determination of density for development at any given place in White Flint. The Plan is premised on the idea that developments closer to the Metro Station should have higher density, as residents and users would be more likely to use public transit within a closer walkable area. The basic conflict is over how to define the area which is walkable.

The Notes from the meeting are being circulated for review of accuracy and completeness, and I hope to have them available for posting on the FLOG in a couple of days.

The Steering Committee did not finish all of the items to be covered during last night’s meeting, one of which was sustainability. The Committee agreed to meet again on Wednesday, January 28, at 4:30PM, again at Federal Realty’s Rockville offices.

Barnaby Zall