FoWF Executive Director Amy Ginsburg attended Monday’s three-hour County Council PHED committee worksession on White Flint 2. Here’s a quick summary of what was discussed and decided.
Including White Flint 1, White Flint 2, Rock Spring, and Grosvenor-Strathmore master plans, over the long term we will need space for an additional 1,554 elementary school students, 501 middle school students, and 1,531 high school students. Council staff did not agree that the turnover of current homes will continue at its current growth rate. Staff also noted the dedication of elementary school sites at the White Flint mall site and WMAL site. For the third elementary school that will eventually be needed, they noted there are many options, including MCPS sites that are currently leased to others.
Nancy Floreen suggested every development application ought to be evaluated for a school site, but it was recommended that only sites over ten acres in size should be evaluated for suitability as a school site. Hans Reimer and Nancy Navarro reminded everyone that the Downcounty Consortium also had capacity issues that needed to be addressed. Roger Berliner and Hans Reimer reiterated that they must instill confidence in the public that the Council understands the need for additional capacity and will address the issue. George Leventhal repeated that school boundaries should not be considered to be carved in stone.
It was agreed not to mention specific properties in the White Flint 2 plan but the plan should include language that states all sites are a possibility for a school.
There was a lengthy debate over the potential urbanization of the White Flint 2 area. Casey Anderson forcefully argued that the Council staff’s half-mile walkshed around metro stations was too limiting. They ought to factor what’s along the walk as well as distance to determine walkability. Casey strongly suggested White Flint 2 ought to have the same goal as White Flint 1: to become a walkable, smart urban, transit-oriented area. This issue was tabled until the worksession on staging and the tax district.
There was consensus that White Flint 2 should be a bike and pedestrian priority area.
There was a long discussion about East Jefferson Street and whether it should be a road with four lanes or with two lanes with a center turn lane road. At a minimum, it was decided lanes would be narrowed to ten feet and painted bike lanes would be added. Hans Reimer noted the need for bike lanes to be connected, and George Leventhal noted the option to expand the road to include separated bike lanes while keeping four lanes of traffic.
There was a lengthy debate over extending Stonehenge Drive and Hubbard Road through the Charles E. Smith Communities when there is significant redevelopment. The language suggested by the Charles E Smith Communities was voted two to one to be used in in the White Flint 2 plan. (Hans Reimer voted no.)
It was decided that the roads through Montrose Crossing should be public, not private roads.
Finally, the PHED committee decided that protected intersections should be installed where feasible.
The next PHED committee worksession on White Flint 2 will be held October 23.