Archives November 2016

Will there be housing for all income levels near transit?

You might want to read this interesting article in The Washington Post about the intersection of suburbs, transit, and affordable housing. The article discusses how to prevent the benefits of transit-oriented living from going primarily to the well-to-do — and pricing out the very people it’s most intended to serve, lower income folks.  Quick aside, I (Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director) disagree with their premise that transit is not for higher-income people. But ensuring transit it close to affordable housing as well as luxury housing is an important concern.

The Post article says, “The issue, which some experts call “transit-induced gentrification,” is gaining new attention in Montgomery and other once auto-centric suburbs building light-rail and rapid bus lines to revitalize older areas, attract younger workers, and help an increasing number of lower-income residents reach jobs. Focusing growth around transit stations has become the way many inner suburbs plan to thrive without adding to the sprawl that has left them drowning in traffic.”

“Suburban transit-oriented living, in high demand from millennials and empty-nest baby boomers looking to downsize, is in such short supply that it commands premium prices — and can encourage property owners to cash in by selling, redeveloping or raising rents,” said The Washington Post story.

You can read the whole article by clicking here.

 

Will you support your neighborhood on #GivingTuesday?

On #GivingTuesday, you can:
  • Help save Metro service at the White Flint station
  • Make it safe and convenient for pedestrians in the Pike District
  • Ensure our neighborhood has a successful, sensible advocate
  • Support fun-filled activities that give our area a unique sense of place
  • Help us create a vibrant, exciting, liveable White Flint neighborhood
How can you do all that … and much more? With a generous donation to Friends of White Flint.
 
Yup, Friends of White Flint is a nonprofit organization that exists solely due to the contributions of residents, businesses, and property owners.  Will you support your neighborhood with a donation on #GivingTuesday?
 
You can make a donation to the Friends of White Flint by clicking here:
 
You can make a tax-deductible donation to the Friends of White Flint’s sister organization, the Pike District Community Fund by clicking here:
 
No matter how you give, your support will truly make a tremendous difference in the place where you live, work, and play.  From all of us at Friends of White Flint, including our board of directors and more than 1,700 supporters, thank you very much for your generous #GivingTuesday contribution.

Everyone who makes a contribution on #GivingTuesday will receive a $10 coupon for AMP by Strathmore at Pike and Rose!

Think Pike District During Our Annual Shopping Frenzy

Sure, you know the Pike District has dozens of delicious restaurants, but did you also know we’ve got more than 200 stores at which you can easily do your holiday shopping?  Of course, there is Pike and Rose and North Bethesda Market, but there are also mom and pop shops and chain stores all over our area.
You can find a searchable list of both the fun and practical stores in the Pike District at http://pikedistrict.org/shopping

 

Board of Ed Votes for Capital Improvements in the WJ Cluster

According to Bethesda Beat:

The Montgomery County Board of Education approved Monday night capital improvement projects totaling $411.7 million that include expansions of Bethesda’s Ashburton Elementary School and North Bethesda Middle School.

The spending package will be forwarded to County Executive Ike Leggett, who will then present it to the County Council for approval.

The projects are part of the Recommended Fiscal 2018 Capital Budget and Amendments to the 2017-2022 Capital Improvements Program, a six-year spending program for large school projects.

Also, the board approved the proposed boundaries for the new middle school in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase cluster.

The school, which is currently named “B-CC Middle School No. 2,” is being constructed at 1701 Saul Road, Kensington, to relieve crowding at Westland Middle in Bethesda, which has an enrollment of 1,642, which is 555 students greater than capacity, according to school documents.

By 2022-2023 academic year, enrollments at Westland and B-CC Middle School No. 2, are projected to have 901 and 925 students, respectively.

The new middle school, which is scheduled to open in September, will draw students from Chevy Chase, North Chevy Chase, Rock Creek Forest and Rosemary Hills elementary schools. Westland would have students from Bethesda, Somerset and Westbrook elementary schools.

Students who attend the Spanish immersion programs at Rosemary Hills and Rock Creek Forest elementary schools would still go to Westland.

For the Ashburton project, the board approved a permanent addition that would increase capacity from 652 to 770 students, as well as a modular addition, by August 2019. The school’s current enrollment is 924, school records show. The total cost of the project is expected to be $14 million, according to school system records.

The modular addition would look like it’s part of the school building, but be removed when a new elementary school is built in the cluster.

School officials had considered relocating Ashburton’s Preschool Education Program to give the school more room. The board decided to give that option further consideration.

For North Bethesda Middle, the board approved an addition that would increase capacity from 864 to 1,229. According to school records, enrollment is now 1,133. The cost of the project is expected to be $21.6 million, according to school system documents.

The board also approved using the Garrett Park annex as classroom space at Garrett Park Elementary when needed. The school’s current capacity is 752, but its enrollment is 844, school records show.

Elementary school enrollment across the Walter Johnson High School cluster will be monitored to determine the timing of a new school, according to a board resolution.

Info from Montgomery County Government on the Western Workaround

Montgomery County has started working on the first of two phases of the White Flint West Workaround transportation project, an effort designed to create a pedestrian-friendly community where residents and visitors can walk to work, shops and transit. The first phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of calendar year 2017.

These new transportation improvements will help make it easier for people to get around in White Flint by transforming the existing super blocks into smaller, more “walkable” streets.

During this phase, the section of Executive Boulevard adjacent to the Montgomery County Conference Center will be realigned and a part of the new Market/Main Street will be constructed.

Additionally, the existing surface parking lot at the Conference Center will be converted into a new structured parking garage. Designed to house approximately 650 spaces, the garage will be six stories tall and accessible from both Executive Boulevard and Market Street. The garage will also contain a weather-protected walkway from the third floor of the garage directly into the facility’s ballroom level.

conf_ctr_garage_site_plan_opt

During the scheduled 12-month construction period, Conference Center guests can park at a satellite parking lot located at 6120-6130 Executive Boulevard – an approximately five-minute ride from the Center. Guests will be transported on a scheduled basis via 35-passenger shuttles. Satellite parking will be marked with “Bethesda North Conference Center” signs; and guests will be driven to the main entrance of the facility at Executive Boulevard and Marinelli Road.

moco-garage2_opt

The White Flint West Workaround project will lead to a more connected community with amenities, options and new ways to get around, in addition to convenient covered parking at the Conference Center. The County’s Department of Transportation is managing the road project, and the Maryland Stadium Authority is managing the conference center garage project. For more information, visit http://pikedistrict.org/future.

County Launches Get on Board BRT Campaign.

Last week, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett launched the start of a naming contest to brand the County’s Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which in the next few years is expected to transform the transportation alternatives available in the County.

County Executive Leggett said, “I am committed to putting practical, cost-effective transit options on the ground in the near term. One of my highest priorities is to provide world-class transportation options for all our residents who live and work throughout the County that will provide congestion relief and also unlock Montgomery County’s economic potential.”

BRT will be a network of fast, reliable, train-like buses that will move more people per lane compared to cars, with each bus taking as many as 90 cars off the road, get travelers out of traffic and help residents reach new jobs created along its corridors. BRT often has its own lane on busy roads, makes fewer stops than a traditional bus and is an environmentally-friendly choice that reduces greenhouse gases. The County is planning BRT on Route 29, Route 355, and Route 586.

“I am committed to a world-class Bus Rapid Transit system in Montgomery County. Marketing and branding have been critical to attracting riders to these systems in other jurisdictions,” said Montgomery County Councilmember and T&E Chair Roger Berliner. “I am pleased that the County is moving forward with this naming effort.”

The naming contest will be held from November 17 through January 20 to help brand the BRT system. The public will be asked to select one of three possible names – Flash, Rapid or Swift – and will automatically be entered to win prizes through random drawings. Voting will occur online on MCDOT’s newly released BRT website: GetOnBoardBRT.com or by texting MOCOBRT to 77453 and then following instructional prompts.

Here are some photos from the press event that launched the Get On Board BRT campaign.

 

Our Community’s Letter to WMATA about the Proposed Service Reduction at White Flint Metro Station

November 17, 2016

Honorable Jack Evans, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Paul Wiedefeld, General Manager
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority
600 5th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Dear Mr. Evans and Mr. Wiedefeld:

The White Flint/Pike District area in North Bethesda, Maryland is transforming into a walkable, transit-oriented community, a vibrant neighborhood of residents of all ages, unique shops and restaurants, and large and small businesses. Hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested in this area by dozens of property owners and by Montgomery County, and significant additional investment is planned over the next twenty years.

As residents, property owners, government employees, and businesses, we are strong supporters of Metro. We use Metro to get to jobs, homes, and entertainment, and we believe Metro is an indispensable part of our community. It is because we believe in Metro that we are convinced that service cutbacks as described in WMATA’s proposed budget would be extraordinarily damaging to not just the White Flint/Pike District area but also the entire metropolitan area. Quite simply, headways at the WMATA White Flint Station must remain every six minutes during peak times, and headways must be far more frequent than the proposed fifteen minutes during nonpeak hours. Diminished service during both peak and non-peak times would decimate the White Flint/Pike District area.

A central tenet of the Pike District/White Flint redevelopment is easy access to transit, primarily Metrorail. In fact, the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan has a non-auto driver mode share (NADMS) requirement of 51% for residents and 50% for employees, which can’t be achieved without Metro. More than a million square feet of office space, 6,000 residential units, two hotels, and approximately one and a half million square feet of retail space are in the pipeline to be built over the next few years in the Pike District. That is on top of thousands of homes and jobs that already exist in the White Flint area. Of course, WMATA, as the owner of a significant joint development property at the White Flint Metro Station, has an economic stake in White Flint as well. Both future and current development is dependent upon frequent, reliable metro service at the White Flint station during both peak and non-peak hours.

The transit-oriented development of the Pike District obviously requires frequent, reliable transit. Metro enables workers to reach their jobs at the North Bethesda Marriott, NRC, and dozens of other offices and businesses. It is the reason thousands of people will choose to lease the new apartments being built at Pike and Rose, the Gables, North Bethesda Center, East Village, and Saul Centers and is reflected in the Pike District property values. It is an essential amenity that attracts businesses to the Pike District and is the foundation of the Pike District economy.

We the undersigned are sympathetic to Metro’s budget woes, but we believe that dedicated funding is the solution, not drastic service cutbacks that could all too easily launch both a Metro death spiral and a subsequent Pike District death spiral. We look forward to working with you to find sources for dedicated funding because we adamantly oppose any service reductions to the White Flint Metro station. Thank you, and we hope to meet with you soon to discuss our concerns.

Sincerely,

Action for Community Transit
All Eyes on Rockville
B.F. Saul
Chesapeake Public Strategies
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Combined Properties
Communities for Transit
East Village/North Bethesda Gateway
Federal Realty Investment Trust
Friends of White Flint
The Forum Condominiums
Gables Residential
The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
Georgetown Village Condominium
Greater Farmland Civic Association
JBG
Klinedinst Management
LCOR
Lerner Enterprises
Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce
Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
Montouri Property, LLC
North Bethesda Center
North Bethesda Market
North Bethesda Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
Pike and Rose
Old Georgetown Village Condominiums
Old Georgetown Village Townhomes
Quantum Companies
Promark
Randolph Civic Association
Saul Centers West
SnyderCohn
Maryland State Delegate Marc Korman
TDG/SILVEROCK Realty
The Tower Companies
Visit Montgomery
White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee
White Flint Mall
White Flint Station Condominiums
Willco
The Wisconsin Condominiums

Would you like to serve on the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors?

Friends of White Flint is governed by a volunteer board of directors composed of 18 members of the community. There are six resident members, six business members, and six property owner/developer members. The board meets a few times a year and is involved in policy decisions all year long, generally through phone calls and emails.

It’s time to submit your nomination to serve on the Friends of White Flint board of directors.  There are two board members whose terms have expired (one business and one property owner member) though they may submit their names to be re-elected, as well as one vacant business member spot and one vacant resident member spot.  We are seeking nominations for one resident member, two business members, and one property owner member.

Here is the board nomination form which should be emailed to info@whiteflint.org by Wednesday, November 23rd.

2016 Board Nomination Form

Please write legibly. All statements will be made available to the public.

Name:

Address:

Phone:

Email:

Class (circle the correct category):   Resident     Business     Property Owner

By my signature below, I certify the following: I wish to be nominated for this position, I understand my responsibilities as a Director, including full participation in Friends of White Flint governance activities throughout my term in office, and I will fulfill those responsibilities.  I am (or represent) a member in good standing and will maintain that good standing throughout my term in office.  I understand that nomination does not guarantee placement on the ballot of election to the Board, and that all Board election decisions of the Friends of White Flint are discretionary and final.

Signature of Nominee:                                                                     Date:

Please submit a brief statement of qualifications and interests, including your prior participation in FOWF and the White Flint Sector development process. Forms must be sent to info@whiteflint.org by November 23, 2016.