Last Thursday, June 13, the Planning Board approved transmittal of the White Flint Biennial Report to the Council and County Executive. This report is required as part of the monitoring requirements of the sector plan to evaluate which goals are being met and which are harder to achieve, as well as what improvements should be incorporated into the county’s Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget.
In addition to going through the report (the first one of its kind in Montgomery County), concerns were brought up during the Planning Board worksession regarding the recently revealed 35% road design for White Flint’s streets (the biennial report was drafted before the road design was announced last Monday). As we wrote last week, we feel that the road design as proposed by Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) doesn’t reflect the vision of the more multi-modal mobility system suggested in the sector plan – and we aren’t the only ones.
Federal Realty’s Evan Goldman wrote to the Planning Board and staff explaining his concerns regarding the proposed design, specifically the lack of bike lanes and shared use path placement in what would essentially be the sidewalk on Old Georgetown Road (the location of Federal Realty’s Pike + Rose). This led to a broader discussion of the proposed street network. Essentially, MCDOT wants to wait until there are more amenities and a better street grid in place before adding bike lanes and reducing lanes for cars. It became clear that some members of the Planning Board are also concerned that this idea is not in line with the sector plan. Planning Board Commissioner Casey Anderson questioned the idea of creating the roads twice, asking who would pay to redo the roads with bike lanes/a shared use path once the grid was in place. Dee Metz, the county’s White Flint Implementation Coordinator, was also present at the worksession and added that there are many different people and agencies that need to work together to create the street network – some of whom are not prepared to shift their thinking from the traditional auto-oriented mindset (MCDOT, State Highway Administration, and Maryland’s Department of Transportation were all mentioned to varying extents). Ultimately, it was decided that Planning Board chair Francoise Carrier and Metz will write a joint letter to the new Maryland DOT Secretary Jim Smith to bring this important issue to his attention.
Here at FoWF, we are working on our own response to these important issues. Check back soon for more information on what you can do to advocate for more complete streets in White Flint.
And, check out the biennial report here for more information, including an overview of sketch plans and illustrations of what’s coming to White Flint, as well as recommendations (starting on page 35) for moving forward.
*Note: the link to the Biennial Report is not the final draft, minor changes will be made as per the Planning Board’s request and an executive summary will be added. To view a video of the Planning Board’s worksession on the biennial report, click here.