Archives December 2014

MCDOT Acting Director Says There Is No More Room For New Roads In the County

The acting director of the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Al Roshdieh, announced that, “the local road network is essentially built out” and MCDOT’s focus will turn towards walkability strategies and creating other forms of transit in the county.

Roshdieh spoke about MCDOT’s approach in an interview published by the county last week. Roshdieh mentioned that MCDOT will focus their strategies on smart growth. This approach involves “taking a holistic view of all of MCDOT’s efforts and asking the question: How do we create the type of community that truly enhances our quality of life and how can our transportation system contribute?” 

Roshdieh also discussed Bus Rapid Transit as one of the strategies to decrease traffic congestion and will get more vehicles off the road. Creating multi-modal transit in the county is an important approach in creating a more transit-oriented, walkable community and we are happy to hear that MCDOT is focused on this.

As the White Flint Sector Plan continues to be implemented, we want to make sure that our county transportation systems, policies, and procdures are aligned with what we want our future community to look like.

Isiah Leggett Announces Agreement to Reduce Number of Lanes on Old Georgetown Road

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Wednesday an agreement between the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) was reached to reduce the number of lanes on Old Georgetown Road to two-through lanes in each direction, with one shared left-turn lane at the new intersection of Hoya Street. This fall, FOWF and many of our friends focused our attention and efforts on making sure our community knew how important it was for the Old Georgetown Road plan to stay in-line with the vision put forth by the White Flint Sector Plan. The safety and well-being of pedestrians and cyclists in the sector are necessary for the success of the Sector Plan.

In the most recent Capital Improvements Program, the County decided to include funding for the connection of Hoya Street to Montrose Road to help reduce the amount of traffic on Old Georgetown Road. As Old Georgetown Road is a state-owned road, only SHA can make decisions on the amount of lanes on this road. With the additional funding provided for the Hoya Street extension by the County, it provided another reason to decrease the amount of lanes on Old Georgetown Road.

In addition, MCDOT provided SHA with a supplemental traffic analysis of the Old Georgetown Road intersection to justify their request for the reduction of number of lanes. After much deliberation, SHA agreed that Hoya Street would provide sufficient relief off of Old Georgetown Road and improved MCDOT’s request to lower the amount of lanes on Old Georgetown Road.

This is great news! This is one step closer to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and cyclists in the sector! We are very happy to hear this.

Parklet Pop-Up in Tysons, A Great Example for Pike District

Tysons Corner, one of our neighboring urban areas, is on a similar path to redevelopment from an auto-centric “concrete jungle” to a walkable, green community. For now, many people are looking for short term uses of spaces throughout the region that could incorporate elements of “complete streets” and give current residents and office workers spaces to relax. Currently, places like urban parks, playing fields, and walking paths are missing in Tysons.  The Meridian Group, a major developer in the area, came up with a creative solution to this problem, at least in the short term.

A pop-up “parklet”, called the Greensboro Green, now sits in a 10,000-acre parking lot. This parklet is brightly colored, attractive space with many places to sit, relax, and gather in the middle of office parks.

To make Tysons a walkable, sustainable community, more parks and playing fields are necessary. Currently, “parkland accounts for less than 5 percent of Tysons 2,100 acres,” which is a problem. So it would seem that the parklet is the first step towards “bridg[ing] the gap between the Tysons of now and the Tysons of the future,” as Lori Aratani from the Washington Post mentions. The Pike District faces a similar reality, where 161 acres of the total 430 acres of the sector are surface parking lots. Thirty-seven percent of our land is sitting empty as surface parking lots, which could be used for so many other things.

Tysons provides some great amenities that unique to the area. There are four metro stations that recently open, creating a larger variety of transit opportunities for residents and visitors to frequent the area. In addition, Tysons has the largest mall in the area, bringing all types of people to Tysons. The plan is for Tysons to have many mixed-use spaces, bringing in many restaurants, services, and other types of stores to the area.

The parklet is a great example for the Pike District. Since many of the developments in the area are slated to happen in the next 20-30 years, we could have pop-up parks that give the community fun and safe places to play and gather in the short-term.

 

P.F. Chang’s Will Close in January

A spokeswoman for P.F. Chang’s announced that P.F. Chang’s restaurant in White Flint Mall will close January 4th, 2015. Once P.F. Chang’s closes, Lord & Taylor will be the only store remaining in the mall.

Lerner Enterprises and The Tower Companies, owners of the White Flint Mall property, plan to redevelop the property into a mixed-use development. Right now, Lord & Taylor is fighting these plans for redevelopment of the mall in federal court until their lease expires in 2055.

Check Out the Opening Lineup at AMP by Strathmore

AMP by Strathmore recently announced their upcoming opening lineup of concerts, starting on Sunday, March 8, 2015. AMP will be open for concerts and performances on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. And AMP will have event space available for rent the rest of the week, Sunday thru Wednesday.

You can find the list of performances and more information about the dates and prices here. We excited to check out these concerts and hope to see you there!

Meet Amy Ginsburg, our new Executive Director

It is with great pleasure that the board of Friends of White Flint announces the appointment of Amy Ginsburg as our new Executive Director. Amy, who has lived within two miles of White Flint for most of her life, possesses three decades of pragmatic experience in advocacy, nonprofit management, marketing, and fundraising. The board was impressed with her passion for creating a vibrant White Flint area, her knowledge of Montgomery County, and her collaborative work style. Amy previously served as the Executive Director of Neediest Kids, Executive Director of Manna Food Center, and Executive Director of the Low Vision Information Center. She has also been the Director of Development and Director of Marketing for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations. Amy is part of Leadership Montgomery and was formerly the President of her HOA. She graduated with a B.A. from Syracuse University and an M.A. from the University of Maryland University College.

 

As we welcome Amy, we want to extend a heart-felt thank you to our outgoing Executive Director, Lindsay Hoffman. Lindsay was instrumental in growing Friends of White Flint, and we are grateful for her superb leadership over the past two years. We wish her luck in her new endeavors. Lindsay and Amy have already begun the transition so that Friends of White Flint will continue its essential work without missing a beat.

We know that as soon as you meet Amy, you will instantly understand why we selected her from the large field of highly qualified candidates for the position of Executive Director. Below is Amy’s contact information, and we hope you will reach out to her and welcome her to FOWF.

 

Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director
Friends of White Flint
Email: Amy.Ginsburg@WhiteFlint.org
Cell:  301-919-1609

Check Out North Bethesda Market’s Holiday Events This Saturday

Looking for something to do this Saturday?

 

Check out North Bethesda Market’s December 13th holiday events! More information about these events is below:

 

CELEBRATE THE HOLIDAYS AT “DESTINATION NORTH”

Tribute to All Things Frozen, Merry, and Bright at North Bethesda Market

 

North Bethesda Market hosts its second annual “Destination North” a day-long holiday celebration of all things frozen, merry, and bright, Saturday, December 13, 2014, on the Plaza.  Families can watch ice sculptures come to life, sing along with strolling carolers, and receive souvenirs – from glittery tattoos to themed balloons and face painting. Market retailers will offer special discounts and promotions. The event is free and open to the public. More information is at http://www.northbethesdamarket.com, or the Market’s Facebook page.

 

DATE/TIME:

Saturday, December 13, 2014, 12 noon to 4 p.m.

PLACE:

North Bethesda Market – 20 Paseo Drive, Rockville, MD 20852

ACTIVITIES:

Ice Carving

Ice carver Chris Wyer from USA Ice brings to life two beloved and popular winter movie characters, while demonstrating the art of ice sculpting. 12 noon to 4 p.m., Plaza

Carolers
Strolling carolers perform holiday favorites. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Plaza, Brio Tuscan Grille, stores

NOBE Pajama Party with Santa Image (1)

BRUNCH IN PJ’S WITH SANTA!

Brio Tuscan Grille, North Bethesda Market Create Holiday Magic for Families

 

Families can discover the magic of the holidays and share some memories for a lifetime during the North BethesdaMarket’s “Brunch in PJ’s with Santa” on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at Brio Tuscan Grille. Children can meet Santa and his helpers, decorate cookies, and make holiday crafts over a scrumptious gourmet and kid-friendly brunch. The event benefits for Toys or Tots. Families who bring unwrapped toys receive a 20% discount. The cost is $11.95 for adults; $5.95 for children. For reservations or more information, call 240-221-2691.

 

The Brio Tuscan Grille holiday brunch takes place during North Bethesda Market’s annual “Destination North” a day-long celebration of all things frozen, merry, and bright, on the Plaza.  Families can watch ice sculptures come to life, sing along with strolling carolers, and receive souvenirs – from glittery tattoos to themed balloons. Market merchants will also offer holiday promotions. More information is available at http://www.northbethesdamarket.com, or the Market’s Facebook page.

 

DATE/TIME:

Saturday, December 13, 2014

9 a.m. to 11 a.m. (last seating at 10:30am)

PLACE:

Brio Tuscan Grille – North Bethesda Market

20 Paseo Drive, Rockville, MD 20852

ABOUT NORTH BETHESDA MARKET:

North Bethesda Market is a mixed-use project, located at the gateway to Rockville Pike, that features shops, services and luxury apartments. More information is available at http://www.northbethesdamarket.com, or on the Market’s Facebook page.

Pike District It Is!

After years of constant debate about creating a new, exciting, and unifying brand for the White Flint area, we have finally come to a decision!

Yesterday, at the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee monthly meeting, Streetsense, a marketing and branding firm, announced the community’s choice for new name for the sector: Pike District. Both the White Flint Partnership and the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee have expressed their full support of this chosen name.

Streetsense held a public charette back in September to discuss 10 possible names for the district, which were given by community members through focus groups, surveys, and one-on-one discussions. At the charette, individuals ranked each name on a scale from -5 to +5.  Pike District came out on top as the favorite among community members who attended the charette. Sarah Wright, from Streetsense, mentioned that Pike District was “clear” and “straightforward,” while providing a sense of location in the name. These are all elements that really resonated with the community.

It is important to note that this new name will not change any postal addresses or community names in the sector. The idea behind the re-branding is to tie all the various developments together under one commercial district name to market the region. Like Silicon Valley in California or Penn Quarter in DC, we want a name that is both appealing enough to attract new retailers to the area while still speaking to the authenticity of the sector, which will allow community members to keep their connections to the district.

The question now is what next? The White Flint Partnership will work on creating a logo and brand involving the Pike District name. In addition, the website for the Pike District is slated to launch by the end of the December or early January. We are really excited for this website and hope it will be a great tool for our community members. Stay tuned for more information about these developments as they occur!

Interactive Worldwide Map of Successful Bus Rapid Transit Corridors

 

The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy created an interactive map that labels successful Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) corridors worldwide. The ITDP created a BRT Standard that these programs must meet.

The ITDP uses elements to define BRT , which include a dedicated right-of-way, busway alignment, off-board fare collection, intersection treatments, and platform-level boarding. The standard looks a various BRT corridors and scores how they fare within these elements.

The BRT standard focuses on BRT corridors instead of BRT systems because “quality of BRT in cities with multiple corridors can vary significantly.” BRT Corridors are defined as: “A section of road or contiguous roads served by a bus route or multiple bus routes with a minimum length of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) that has dedicated bus lanes.” 

 

It is great to see so many successful BRT programs across the world. We hope that the BRT system planned for Montgomery County will include many of elements these successful programs maintain.