Archives June 2020

This time it’s real …

The permanent closure of Executive Blvd. has been scheduled for July 8 at 10 am. And this time MCDOT is going to stick to this date. Heck, message boards are in place to alert the public of the change in traffic patterns, and they are also in the process of installing the detour signage.

Executive Blvd. is closing to continue the construction of the Western Workaround.

Reinventing ‘the burbs’ with an urban twist

The Washington Post could have been writing about the Pike District instead of Atlanta suburbs in this recent article. (In fact, the question does occur to me: why didn’t they mention the White Flint/Pike District area’s burgeoning transformation to a walkable, urban lite community?)

“Looking at the history of human settlement, it was one of mixed-use and walkable environments,” said Hull. “Why did people live that way? Because travel was arduous either by foot, riding in a buggy or on horseback. . . . The automobile enabled the suburbs. Now things have devolved and travel has once again become arduous. We’ve come full circle in a way.”

The end of the moratorium!

Fabulous news! The Planning Board will receive the FY21 annual school test on Thursday, and the current moratorium for the Walter Johnson cluster will come to an end. Here is the staff memo. This means that pending North Bethesda developments, ranging from Twinbrook to Rock Spring, could move forward!

From the staff report:

The test also finds three additional clusters – Montgomery Blair, Albert Einstein, and Walter Johnson clusters – to be ‘open conditionally’ as shown in Table 2. The projected enrollment for the high schools at these clusters indicate that they will exceed the test’s utilization standard in the 2025-2026 school year as well, but the enrollment burden at these schools are expected to be relieved by approved capital projects at other high schools – Northwood HS and Woodward HS – through future student reassignments.

Grosvenor Metro Reopening Sunday, June 28!

The following stations will reopen on Sunday, June 28. (Three stations on the Orange and Silver lines will reopen with shuttle bus service due to the ongoing platform reconstruction work at East Falls Church.)

  • Federal Center SW
  • Federal Triangle
  • Mt Vernon Sq
  • Judiciary Sq
  • Archives
  • Smithsonian
  • Eisenhower Ave
  • Virginia Sq
  • Van Dorn St
  • Clarendon
  • Cleveland Park
  • Grosvenor-Strathmore
  • Cheverly
  • College Park
  • Morgan Blvd
  • East Falls Church*
  • Greensboro*
  • McLean*

Here’s the video of the testimony on the update to the SSP

The Montgomery County Planning Board held a virtual public hearing on June 11 on the update to the Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP). Friends of White Flint was one of the many people testifying about aspects of the policy.

View the video of the June 11 Planning Board Public Hearing.

The growth policy update includes recommendations that focus on school and transportation capacities as the county’s population grows and its development needs evolve. In its ongoing efforts to balance expected county growth and development needs with school and transportation capacities, Montgomery Planning recommends a series of policy changes updating calculations and tools to measure and address school overcrowding, traffic congestion, transportation safety, and ways to fund needed infrastructure.

Next steps for the update include a series of Planning Board work sessions that will be held virtually and are open to the public:

•           Thursday, June 18: Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element

•           Thursday, June 25: Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element

•           Thursday, July 2: Planning Board Work Session – Schools Element and Taxes

•           Thursday, July 9: Planning Board Work Session – Transportation Element and Taxes

•           Thursday, July 16: Planning Board Work Session – Final Decisions

•           Thursday, July 30: Approval of Planning Board Draft

Western Workaround Construction Update

Below is the MCDOT notification on construction activities anticipated to begin June 15, 2020. The most important news is that Executive Boulevard will be closing around June 29. Yes, this is the third (or fourth?) date given for the closure, but we’re told that this one is going to stick. The second most important news is that nighttime work has been suspended.

The utility infrastructure relocation and construction which began in August 2018 has resumed.  Corman Kokosing Construction Company started construction on Phase 1B infrastructure and utility improvements on June 8, 2020.  For the next three weeks, the Contractor will focus on storm drain improvements by installing new manhole and reinforced concrete pipe.  This initial activity is taking place just west of the Executive Boulevard and Marinelli Road intersection.

Over the next month, Verizon crews will continue with their cable/wire splicing and other telecom work along Towne Road.  Verizon linemen will continue to install overhead cable in that project area.  Verizon should complete the overhead work on Towne Road by early July, weather permitting.  In addition, look for Verizon crews working in other parts of the White Flint West project area including on Banneker Avenue, Executive Boulevard., and Old Georgetown Road.  Anchor Construction, a Corman-Kokosing subcontractor, returns to Towne Road on June 18, 2020 to install PEPCO electrical conduits.  Anchor crews will work on the road’s west side; they should complete this phase by the end of July, 2020.

Two of Corman Kokosing’s crews continue with Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) sewer and water line upgrades. Nighttime construction operations have been suspended.  The WSSC construction activities instead are proceeding during the daytime hours of 6:00 am to 2:00 pm in the northbound and southbound lanes of Old Georgetown Road north and south of Executive Boulevard.  This work will continue with daytime multiple lane closures to facilitate excavation, pipe and structure placement, and backfilling.  Periodically, one of Corman Kokosing’s general construction crews will complete hot mix asphalt (HMA) paving to replace the roadway steel plates that cover trench work.  This work for WSSC should wrap up by the middle of July 2020.

Corman-Kokosing’s general construction crew continues with the remaining center median demolition for future lane closures and Maintenance of Traffic (MOT).  Once the last Old Georgetown Road center median is removed, Corman-Kokosing will place an HMA surface course to return ride ability.  The Contractor should complete demolition and paving by the end of June, 2020.
Please take note that Executive Boulevard between the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center entrance and Old Georgetown Road will permanently close on or about June 29, 2020.  Before any closure, variable message sign (VMS) boards will be placed and detour plans will be posted—VMS boards will be in place at least 14 days before any closure.  Look for more information regarding the road closure and detour plans.

Parking is still not permitted on either side of Towne Road, or in the Cul‐de‐Sac; especially with the uptick in construction activities. Violators will be subject to citations; violators impeding the construction will be towed. 

In these active work zones, be sure to look for the orange warning signs, cones and arrow panels, and flaggers! Please pay attention to any temporary road closure(s), look for steel roadway plates, expect probable driving delays, and look for possible pedestrian detours as the multiple contractors conduct these ongoing field operations. White Flint West Project News will update all construction activities.  

Dogs. Beer. Coffee. Pike & Rose.

Bark Social is coming to Pike & Rose in September! Grab a coffee or a beer while your dog enjoys an off-leash play date. With human and dog treats, really, what could be better?

Located where the Pike & Rose Beach used to be, the only dog bar in the mid-Atlantic will provide a private safe, clean, and monitored 25,000 sq. ft. dog park with comfortable seating. Starting with “Yappy Hour” in the late afternoon and late into the night, members will enjoy 20 rotating taps with a focus on local craft brews – all in a open air 2,500 sq ft covered patio and 1,500+ sq ft of covered space with tables, lounge couches, and Adirondack chairs. Stop by in the morning for some exercise, or any time you need a pick-me-up; they will be serving Ceremony Coffee all day.

Founding, annual, and monthly memberships are available.

County Executive Sets June 19 for Phase 2 Reopening

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles today announced the County has achieved its benchmarks and will officially enter Phase 2 of reopening on Friday, June 19 at 5 p.m.

The County plans to continue with an incremental reopening, based on public health data. Phase 2 allows additional businesses and activities to start and/or increase modified operations under specified guidelines. The guidelines include:

Retail – curbside and limited in-store; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of sales space;
Restaurants – outdoor/patio seating and limited indoor dining with requirements; up to 50 percent capacity maximum indoors if social distancing can be maintained;
Childcare – childcare programs can reopen with a maximum of 15 individuals per classroom;
Gyms – fitness centers, and other indoor physical activities; open with requirements; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of fitness space;
Houses of Worship – virtual, drive-in, and limited indoor and outdoor services with requirements – one congregant/family unit per 200 sq. ft. of service space;
Indoor and Outdoor Gatherings – limited to a maximum of 50 or one person/family unit per 200 sq. ft., whichever is lower
Salons/Barbers/Nails – all personal services allowed by appointment only; one patron per 200 sq. ft. of service delivery space;
Car Washes – open for internal and external cleaning with requirements;
Office Spaces and Multi-tenant Commercial Buildings – limited use for nonessential personnel with requirements; telework strongly encouraged where applicable;
Indoor and Outdoor pools (public and private) – open with capacity restrictions;
Outdoor Day Camps – expanded opening with requirements;
Outdoor Youth Sports – expanded for low-contact sports with requirements;
Parks & Playgrounds – parks open for personal fitness and fitness classes with requirements; playgrounds open with requirements; only low-contact sports allowed;
Ride On Bus Service – expanded schedule; expanded routes.
Certain outdoor recreation activities and facilities are already permitted: golf courses, archery, shooting ranges, marinas, campgrounds, horseback riding facilities and tennis courts.

The following businesses and services will remain closed in Phase 2:

Concerts and theaters
Senior centers
Recreation facilities.

Protective measures such as maintaining physical distancing, careful cleaning and disinfecting, and face coverings being worn by employees and customers, are just some of the measures being required of businesses that are in this second phase of recovery.

Activities allowed in this phase of reopening are based on metrics the County established with progress overall in decreasing daily numbers of new cases, increasing testing capacity, implementing a large-scale contact tracing effort with the State, decreasing hospitalizations and use of the emergency room by patients with COVID-19 related symptoms, and positive trends in the death rate and test positivity. The COVID-19 Data Dashboard can be viewed on the County’s website.