New Rockville Pike Plan Approved
The City of Rockville just unanimously passed (after years and years of discussion) a new plan for Rockville Pike. Friends of White Flint testified against their original proposal to widen Route 355 to 252′.
You can read the full plan here but below is some text from their executive summary.
The core recommendation of this plan is to redesign and reconstruct Rockville Pike as a multi-way boulevard. Features of the primary roadway are listed below:
• Approximately 52 feet of right-of-way width for a two–directional Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)2 line in the center of the Pike with medians on either side for BRT stations and automobile left turn lanes, which widens the overall curbto-curb crossing distance of the primary roadway by about 36 feet.
• Medians provide refuge for pedestrians crossing the Pike. The 52 feet could be used as a wide median or for additional automobile lanes if the BRT line is not built, or until it is built.
• Three automobile travel lanes in each direction.
• The outer curb lane is wider (12 feet) than the other two (11-foot) lanes to accommodate local buses.
• Local buses travel in the central roadway (per Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation preference, but consideration may be given to providing the local service in the access roads).
• This infrastructure can all be built within the existing 120-foot State right-of-way.
Bethesda Beat wrote an excellent piece on this plan. They noted that he plan “allows exceptions for property owners opposed to a controversial access road concept and doesn’t include specific building height limits included in earlier versions of the plan.” These exceptions to the access road concept are for Champion Projects that would be located along the south section of the pike, contain at least five contiguous acres, provide more than the required minimum 15 percent of public space and also meet other conditions.
I realize this a plan/objective for the future, and not a completed approved design with funding. However, is there anything in the plan that discusses how the road would transition either north or south of the Rockville section? I understand it is a 2-mile section, which is considerable, but it is substantially different from what is currently there. Presumably, the city would not be able to move ahead without agreement from the country and state?
Or alternatively, is this the city of Rockvillle’s way of saying, this is our preferred way to re-engineer the pike, both with BRT and other modifications, and serve as a negotiating position when the county and state decide on how to proceed with the entire pike? If that is the case, then there may be substantial modifications between this plan and what is eventually built. And perhaps some of the city’s objectives could be realized without doing them on the pike itself. For example, if the adjoining parallel roads are changed or new ones created (as it seems are part of the plan), perhaps items such as the bike lanes (or purpose for access roads) could be relocated there. And those perhaps would not need state approval.