Comments Off on What we discussed at this week’s White Flint 2 planning meeting
The focus of this month’s White Flint 2 Sector Plan meeting was parks and open spaces. It featured a presentation by Rachel Newhouse from Montgomery Parks and a quick summary of the Urban Land Institute Technical Assistance Program recommendations for Executive Boulevard.
You can see the full set of slides from ULI with their analysis and recommendations for Executive Boulevard here. Here is a summary of their recommendations:
Accelerate implementation of the north/west Pike & Rose Metrorail station entrance.
Implement the planned Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard realignment (called the Western Workaround).
Improve pedestrian connections to amenities, such as those at Pike & Rose, and the existing White Flint Metrorail station.
Leverage and link to the White Flint recreation loop for walking and biking.
Introduce Bikeshare as a multimodal connector.
Introduce convenience retail for office workers and future residents, including coffee shops, cafes, drug stores, dry cleaners.
Decrease perceived distances between office building entrances and the street by encouraging small retail spaces, pop-up amenities (food trucks, parklets) and outdoor seating.
Embrace and enhance the ample green spaces, including mature trees and landscaping, already present.
Leverage and link the Executive Boulevard office park to Pike & Rose’s identity.
Create a consistent signage and streetscape package to reinforce new identify for office parks.
Andrea Gilles from MNCPPC discussed how pedestrians must walk 15 to 20 minutes from Executive Boulevard to the metro along a convoluted path. She suggested that a new metro entrance on the north side of White Flint metro would be quite beneficial in making the walk from Executive Boulevard to metro manageable and attractive.
The presentation on urban parks began with a description of the hierarchy of urban park planning.
Active recreation destinations
Central civic green for community gatherings
Interconnected system of sidewalks and trails
Rachel Newhouse noted that open spaces can and are owned by both the public or government and the private sector. (For example, Wall Park is owned by the Parks Department while the open plaza at North Bethesda One is privately owned.) She also noted that urban parks typically don’t have parking lots; they are “walk to” spaces.
More specifically, she revealed a map that showed potential places for parks and opens spaces in WF2. (They promised to have the slides up on their website at http://www.montgomeryplanning.org/community/whiteflint2/. They weren’t there as of this morning but keep checking.) Options include a large civic green at the Montrose Crossing if and when it re-develops, a path from Luxmanor Park to the Montrose Parkway bike path, a path from Luxmanor Park to Pike and Rose across the creek, a path along Executive Boulevard, a pocket park along Executive Boulevard, outdoor space at Loehmann’s Plaza if and when it re-develops, and outdoor space at Rocking Horse Elementary.
Participants were then asked to prioritize their hopes for open spaces and parks by voting with dots placed on various options, i.e. dog parks, jogging trails, sports fields, etc. so the planning department could better understand what the community wants as they draft the White Flint 2 Sector Plan.
(As a bonus, here are the slides from the November meeting on connectivity and transportation.)