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.
Action for Community Transit
All Eyes on Rockville
Chesapeake Public Strategies
Coalition for Smarter Growth
Communities for Transit
East Village/North Bethesda Gateway
Federal Realty Investment Trust
Friends of White Flint
The Forum Condominiums
The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce
Georgetown Village Condominium
Greater Farmland Civic Association
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
Randolph Civic Association
Saul Centers West
Maryland State Delegate Marc Korman
The Tower Companies
White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee
White Flint Mall
White Flint Station Condominiums
The Wisconsin Condominiums
Thank you for forwarding the above letter. As a frequent user of Metro , I depend on accessing the White Flint station which is accessible by foot for older residents in the neighborhood by virtue of a tunnel that provides security in crossing Wisconsin Avenue. I suggest that those who are considering closing the White Flint station tour the surrounding area to see the enormous growth of high rise apartment buildings whose occupants both young and old use the Metro frequently and thus relieve excessive use of auto traffic on Wisconsin Ave to reach Washington D.C. There are a number of other stations on the red line used far less frequently than the White Flint station and, therefore, I question the wisdom of the decision to impose severe limitations on use of the the White Flint station.