Hot off the presses from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, more detailed information about the Western Workaround construction scheduled to begin in a couple of weeks.
The Conference Center surface parking lot will close in order to build a new, structured parking garage. The new garage will be six stories tall, house approximately 650 spaces, and will be accessible from both Executive Boulevard and Market Street. The roadway construction work will begin on or about November 8th, with a re-alignment of Executive Boulevard and construction of a portion of Market Street. The roadway work is the first step to create a street grid near the Conference Center.
During Phase 2, both Executive Boulevard and Market Street will connect to Old Georgetown Road.
During the construction period, Conference Center guests will be directed to park at a satellite lot at 6120-6130 Executive Boulevard. Guests will be transported to and from the Conference Center on shuttle buses that will run continuously during center events. Staff from the facility manager, Marriott, will be on hand at the satellite lot to ensure that all patrons arrive comfortably at the Conference Center. Construction will take place Monday through Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Occasional Saturday work may be necessary to make up for weather days. The County will work to minimize any disruption to the surrounding residents and business communities.
Special Points of Interest from MCDOT:
Construction Duration: Phase 1-12 months
Construction Starts: November 2016
Initially work will be performed under one-lane closures along Executive Boulevard
For questions about construction activities contact Bill Sittinger
According to a new ULI report, Demographic Strategies for Real Estate, “surban” communities—suburban neighborhoods offering the most desired features of urban and suburban living—will attract the most households in the United States over the next ten years. (In case you missed the obvious conclusion because you haven’t had your morning coffee, the Pike District is a classic example of a “surban” community.)
“Surban” developments will replace shopping centers – More retail stores will be transformed into places that sell experiences, rather than goods, and more development will combine housing and retail to satisfy consumer demand for places that offer convenient, car-free shopping. An 86-percent surge in household formations in the coming decade will drive retail activity, particularly purchases by renters, who will comprise 58 percent of the net new number of households.
Suburban office demand will return – As more people born in the 1980s move into more senior management roles and start families, many will move from urban cores to the suburbs to live in areas with good schools, but which are also near employment hubs and entertainment and recreational amenities. They will be willing to share space and work remotely.
Housing rental rates will surge over the long term – The sharing economy’s de-emphasis on ownership will be reflected in soaring demand for rental units. Well over half of the 12.5 million net new households created over the next decade will rent, including those who have never owned, and those making the switch from owning to renting as they age. Homeownership will decline, with the national rate anticipated to be 60.8 percent by 2025, the lowest point since the 1950s.
Municipalities will take a stronger role in encouraging successful growth – Local government redevelopment investments have revitalized urban and suburban areas, and the most astute suburban – or surban — municipal leaders will continue changing zoning regulations to encourage mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development that accommodates the preferences and needs of new households.
The report groups the U.S. population by decade born, rather than by generation, to draw conclusions about behaviors shaping trends, with the most influential (and largest) groups being the following:
Innovators, born 1950–1959, who led a technology revolution;
Equalers, born 1960–1969, who achieved more equality between women and men in the workplace;
Balancers, born 1970–1979, who led a shift toward a better work/life balance;
Sharers, born 1980–1989, who led the transition to the sharing economy;
Connectors, born 1990–1999, who led 24/7 wireless connectivity; and
Globals, born 2000–2009, who effortlessly think and interact globally.
Rising numbers of female executives, affluent immigrants, younger and older workers, and retirees will have a profound influence on community building over the next ten years, according to the ULI Report.
On November 8, the construction of the long-awaited Western Workaround begins! (Insert joyful music here.)
The Western Workaround realigns Executive Boulevard where it meets Old Georgetown Road. It creates a new street, Market Street, behind the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center. The Western Workaround also creates a rectangular parcel that will become the Gables Residential complex. The county estimates that this project will cost $55 million.
The Western Workaround also permits the construction of a new garage for the conference center. Yes, for about a year, it will be a little annoying to park for events at the conference center, but it will be well worth the temporary inconvenience to have a beautiful new garage.
Bethesda Beat reported that Councilmember Roger Berliner said, “This piece is so important to get done. We’ve been waiting on this piece for a long time.” Bethesda Beat also reported that Dee Metz who works in the office of the County Executive said, “It’s exciting, It’s the first step of the grid process.”
As you’ve no doubt heard, Marriott has chosen to locate its new headquarters in downtown Bethesda. While we’re delighted this major international corporation will live right down the road from the Pike District, we’re sad they didn’t select the White Flint area for their shiny, modern headquarters.
The new corporate headquarters complex will house more than 3,500 employees in approximately 700,000 square feet of leased office space. Marriott also plans to build a Marriott-branded 200+ room hotel in the new complex and is considering several sites in downtown Bethesda. The company is expected to select a final site in the first half of 2017.
County Executive Ike Leggett said, “I am pleased by Marriott’s decision to keep its headquarters operations and employees in Montgomery County. The County, working closely with Marriott’s team and with Governor Larry Hogan, has partnered on an agreement that benefits the company, the state, and Montgomery County. Marriott has long been a mainstay here and has been an excellent corporate citizen, giving back again and again to help strengthen our community. The Marriott brand, now the largest in the lodging world, will shine ever more brightly from right here in the county.”
We’ve always said while bringing the Marriott state-of-the-art headquarters to the White Flint area would make the Pike District, not doing so will certainly not break the Pike District. We stand by that statement. Gables Residential, East Village, Saul Centers West, Pike and Rose Phase 2, the new conference center garage, the Western Workaround — they all continue to make significant progress forward. As does the Pike District.
Yesterday, County Executive Ike Leggett, MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh, and Councilmember Hans Reimer cut the ribbon on the new Nebel Street separated bike lanes.
The Nebel Street six-foot-wide bike lanes are one-way and located against the curb on either side of the street with flexposts separating them from moving vehicles. A striped buffer area provides additional protection for cyclists. Parking was removed on the west side of Nebel Street and relocated to the east side. The project includes the first, two-stage turn queue box, that was installed at the Nebel Street and Randolph Road intersection. These boxes allow bicyclists to make left turns at multilane intersections from a right-side separated bike lane, or right turns from a left-side separated bike lane.
“The Pike District is in the process of transforming itself into a walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented community and the completion of the Nebel Street protected bike lane is one more step towards this goal,” said Leggett. “Creating a smart-growth community in the Pike District means more economic opportunities, more jobs and a better environment. It means making Montgomery County more competitive and brings greater prosperity and a stronger sense of community to this area.”
“MCDOT fully supports County Executive Leggett’s vision of the Pike District as a smart-growth community – one that provides a robust variety of transportation alternatives so people can get where they want to go without having to use a car,” said MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh. “I’m very proud that my entire department is committed to creatively using every opportunity to transform the County’s transportation infrastructure by expanding options for our residents, employees and visitors. We are building a balanced and comprehensive network – not only in the Pike District, but countywide – that is enhancing the quality of life for everyone in Montgomery County.”
Montgomery County School Superintendent Jack Smith is recommending the school board convene a roundtable discussion group to study how to handle high school overcrowding, a school spokeswoman said Thursday night.
The recommendation falls short of what some Bethesda parents had sought: reopening the former Woodward High School in Rockville to relieve expected enrollment increases at Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda.
Instead, Smith suggests studying the re-opening of Woodward as one option to ease crowding not only at Walter Johnson, but also to alleviate “space deficits” at Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, Kennedy and Northwood high schools, spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said.
Woodward currently houses students enrolled in Tilden Middle School, while that Rockville school is being rebuilt.
Smith’s recommendation is part of the district’s fiscal year 2017-2022 capital improvements plan, which budgets major school construction projects.
Smith also is recommending the school system explore the possibility of using commercial properties to address overcrowding at these high schools, as well as countywide, by offering alternative program and career technology education options to high school students, Onijala said.
School board member Patricia O’Neill, who had not yet seen Smith’s recommendation, said she supports the reopening of Woodward. “My position is with all the growth that’s coming through the system, we’re going to need [Woodward] as a high school,” she said.