Before diving into the new draft Final White Flint Plan, a few words about the scheduled Planning Board worksession on Thursday, June 18: the Planning Board will likely not take up the final draft until after it resolves a number of questions remaining from the June 4 worksession on implementation and staging. At the June 4 worksession, members of the Board seemed disjointed in their analysis of the staging schedule for White Flint improvements. The planning staff has been working day and night (literally, some nights) to try to resolve these questions while completing the final draft.
The cover memo for the Thursday session spends some time on this discussion — the first 12 of 17 pages discuss staging and implementation issues and proposed recommendations. The original three stages have now grown to four, with the second phase being split in two. Some items previously described as requiring completion in Stage One have been moved to completion in Stage 2b; this follows a resolution passed by the Board on June 4.
Staff is asking for more guidance on how to finance the various stages, including whether to follow a “two-track” plan where some infrastructure which will be paid for by mixed public and private funds will be treated separately from projects which are purely publicly-funded.
The first construction projects to be funded would be the alternate traffic routes to relieve pressure on Rockville Pike during any reconstruction of the Pike. One project expected to be in this package, for example, would be the reconnection and revision of Old Old Georgetown Rd (that portion of Old Georgetown Rd which runs behind Mid-Pike Plaza to Montrose Rd.). The staff stressed that the “end state” of all the scheduled improvements would be a reconstructed Rockville Pike.
The staff offered an “intended” schedule of priorities including, in this order, construction of:
- required capital project studies;
- the alternate routes for Pike reconstruction;
- “placemaking projects” including the new Civic Green park, the new “Market Street” (formerly “Main St.”) on both sides of Rockville Pike, and the Rockville Pike portion of the Promenade (note that once again the staff has divided the Promenade’s north-south component from its east-west portions).
- “mode share” (shifting movement within the Sector from automobiles to other forms of transportation) goals.
- sidewalk improvements.
- transit improvements, including the new MARC commuter rail station, the North Entrance to the Metrorail station, and improvements in bus service along the Pike.
- public facilities, including new fire and police stations, and a new express library.
The staff also recommends, among other things, a new TAMP – Transportation Approval and Monitoring Program – to review progress on the Plan and recommend any changes. The TAMP would include yet another public advisory group to discuss and comment on the progress.