Archives March 2014

South Miami Suburb Revitalization

South Miami, needed a change and a facelift. It is a suburb of Miami that was once a desirable place full of stores and busy streets. Now, these stores are empty and the streets look like parking lots with wide lanes.  The suburb has lost its appeal.  So, the firm Dover, Kohl & Partners decided to give South Miami its much needed makeover, creating the “Hometown” 20-year plan. The plan gave the suburb an extreme “diet,” making it a very desirable location for residents of the area to frequent once again.

In a video provided by the firm, we learn about the strategies they used to revitalize this suburb, which sound very similar to strategies included in our White Flint Sector Plan. These strategies are:

1) Build walkable streets
2) Require street-oriented architecture
3) Embrace a mix of uses
4) Share parking with garages
5) Embrace transit

This is a great example for White Flint as we can see that the changes have certainly paid off.  Check out the video and look for the similarities to the redeveloping happening here in the White Flint district.

 

 

White Flint’s Recreation Center

The redevelopment of Wall Park is an exciting component of the Sector Plan – it’s where the Parks department hopes to replace the existing surface parking lot for Shriver Aquatic Center with an open, flexible green space. A parking garage is proposed for the north side of the building to accommodate cars.

Another piece of this property’s project is a planned regional-style Recreation Center. Similar to what we’ve seen in White Oak, the Recreation Department is planning to build a large facility that will include co-locating it on the property with the pools of the aquatic center make this an exciting destination for our neighborhoods and beyond. As it’s been described to us, the ideal facility would include flexible spaces for classes, meetings, and events, as well as gym and exercise areas, senior spaces and more.

The Gazette ran an article this week highlighting the concept – read it by clicking here. Funding for our recreation center for White Flint is part of the Capital Improvements Program budget that’s making it’s way through the County Council right now.

What’s Important to our Members?

In our last weekly email, we asked members to share what’s important to them in the redevelopment of White Flint and, therefore, where FoWF should aim its focus.  We were thrilled by the response!  Here are some of the points raised:

  • We should keep bicycle access and safety at front of mind.  All areas should be accessible for cyclists.  And, there should be secure bike parking at all residential units and bike parking readily available at commercial establishments.
  • Baby Boomers want to ensure that they aren’t being forgotten when the county works to draw the young professional demographic.  Prioritizing accessibility and well-integrated residential and commercial areas that balance all users will make this the most friendly place for all.
  • Focusing on and advocating for as much green space as possible remains a priority.  At the moment, White Flint neighborhood park is a real gem but we need to ensure that we build out spaces like Wall Park and the Civic Green, and support developers who are integrating green space into their redevelopment plans.
  • One member suggested making as much of the White Flint district as smoke-free as possible, including sidewalks, parks, parking lots, grassy areas, bus stops, bus shelters, etc.  The many benefits would include putting White Flint on the map as a healthy place to live/visit/work, widespread free publicity, a market niche, reduced litter, better aesthetics, etc.
  • Keeping small and local businesses remain a priority for our community!
  • Shading our sidewalks and installing benches to make them more friendly to those with limited mobility.

Many of these points are already part of the plan for a redeveloped White Flint, but it will take advocacy and attention to ensure that they’re executed timely and to their full potential.  We’ll keep you posted as we learn of ways where your voice will make a difference!

Also, do you get our weekly updates?  We send an email out every Thursday morning that recaps anything you might have missed during the previous week and highlights other important points!  Either sign up on our homepage at www.WhiteFlint.org or, better yet, join!  Just visit www.WhiteFlint.org/membership and have your voice heard!

White Flint Mall logs another win to proceed

We’ve kept you updated on the proceedings between Lord & Taylor and White Flint Mall in the former’s attempt to halt the property’s redevelopment.  Recently, we learned that Dave & Busters has also sued the mall to avoid having to move.

Today, Washington Business Journal reports that the US District Court for our area has ruled in favor of the Mall in this latest lawsuit.  Apparently, when Dave & Busters initially signed their lease with White Flint Mall, they agreed to not open any other locations within a certain radius.  White Flint Mall countered that Dave & Busters had violated this term of the lease when their Arundel Mills Mall location opened back in 2006.  The court agreed with the latter argument and has thrown out several counts of Dave & Busters’ original lawsuit.  The same judge is hearing both the Lord & Taylor and the Dave & Busters matters.

Read more at Washington Business Journal by clicking here and stay tuned here for more as we learn it.

New Website Feature: Development Map

When we’re out in the community and speaking with members, there are some questions we’re asked more than others.  At the top of the list is “where’s the one spot we can visit to get a visual on what’s happening in White Flint?”  Until now, there hasn’t been one.

But, we’re very excited to have made some progress in this area.  Today, we’re introducing the White Flint Development Map.  You can find it from our homepage or by clicking here.  As you’ll see, just about everything in the pipeline for the White Flint sector is featured — private development projects are in blue while public/infrastructure projects are in green.

It’s a work in progress and we’ll continue upgrading and improving it as our budget allows.  If you find any glitches or have any ideas, feel free to email them to info@WhiteFlint.org!

Enter the Visit Montgomery Photo Contest

The Conference and Visitors Bureau of Montgomery County is hosting a fun photo contest – we’d like to see White Flint represented!   Asking us to “be a tourist in our own town,” the contest is looking to showcase everything our county has to offer for residents and visitors alike!

With prizes awarded for first, second and third place – and the grand prize entry being featured on the cover of the next Spring Visitors Guide – it’s time to dust off those cameras and use the next week wisely!

There are three categories for entries:

     Events in MoCo – Capture people in action at various annual events!

     Beauty in MoCo – Capture the landscapes, streetscapes and landmarks in any season of Montgomery County!

     Life in MoCo – Capture the people, places and things that make up Montgomery County! We want to see what life in MoCo means to you.

All entries must be digitally submitted by March 31st.  Visit their website by clicking here for all of the official rules and entry requirements!  Good luck!

Paladar Latin Kitchen Launches New Menu

While we’re all still daydreaming about warmer weather and dining on a sidewalk patio, Paladar Latin Kitchen is getting ready by launching their Spring/Summer menu. One new feature is their Family Style section, which includes classic favorites like Slow Roasted Mojo Pork and Veracruz Seafood Stew. Check out the whole new menu by clicking here.

And, if you visit by March 31st, join Paladar in giving back to our community. Once again, Paladar has partnered with Manna Food Center, one of our county’s preeminent organizations, for a classic food drive. Bring four canned goods with you on your next trip to Paladar (by 3/31/14) and receive a voucher for a free appetizer in return. Not sure what to donate? Manna has a wonderful list of items they need – just click here to find it.

La Madeleine’s New Home will be PerSei

Many Friends were excited to learn that La Madeleine’s closure is short-term.  Yesterday, BethesdaNow.com reported some additional details on when we’ll see this neighborhood favorite return, and what we can expect when it does.  PerSei is the mid-rise residential building nearing completion at Pike & Rose.  Scheduled to open this fall, the mixed-use building will have apartment units in the upper floors and restaurants and residential in the lower – including, we’ve learned, La Madeleine.

From BethesdaNow.com

Something we did not know: The water wheel feature in the original restaurant actually worked. It was intended to grind grains into flour for the restaurant’s bread.

Joining La Madeleine in the ground floor of PerSei will be Summer House, from the Lettuce Entertain You restaurant group…

 

Although BethesdaNow reports that the beer garden we’ve mentioned will be in PerSei, it’s our understanding that that concept will actually be a bit farther inside the property in an area called “Muse Alley.”   Read more at BethesdaNow.com!

U.S. Public Transit Ridership Hits 57-Year Peak

According to a new report from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA), 2013 had the largest number of users of American public transit systems in the last 57 years. 10.7 billion Americans road trains, subways, light rail, and buses last year.

APTA President and CEO Michael Melaniphy commented on the figures presented from the report, saying “access to public transportation matters. Community leaders know that public transportation investment drives community growth and economic revitalization.” Public transportation, including access to alternative means of transportation (biking and walking), can benefit a community in many ways. The White Flint district’s proximity to a Metro station provides many incentives for businesses and organizations to come to area, allowing for the district to grow economically. Access to public transportation also allows more people  “the opportunity to reach jobs.” People who do not have access to cars are able to get to jobs in the DC. In addition, the BRT system that is coming to Montgomery County will allow Montgomery County residents to travel around the county, which will also provide more opportunities for residents to access jobs in the county.

The report focused on the comparison between car-ridership and public transit ridership. Though Americans drove 0.6 percent more than 2012, it was found that Americans used public transit 1.1 percent more than the year before.

The breakdown of public transit ridership numbers from 2013 are as follows:

  • Heavy rails, which include subways and elevated trains: ridership increased 2.8 percent.
  • Commuter rail: increased by 2.1 percent.
  • Light rail, which include streetcars and trolleys: increased by 1.6 percent,
  • Bus: In cities with a population below 100,000, bus ridership was up 3.8 percent. For larger bus systems, there were a few cities that had a 3 percent or more increased ridership, including Washington, D.C. with a 3.5 percent increase.

These numbers show us how important public transit systems are the economic health of our cities and urban areas. As ridership continues to grow, we need to focus attention on the infrastructure of our public transit systems. Check out the Coalition for Smarter Growth’s forum on Metro’s Momentum plan to learn more and to have a chance to provide your thoughts and ideas for making the Metro system better for the county.