In case you had been missing your Mickey D’s

From Robert Dyer @Bethesda Row

The McDonald’s restaurant at 11564 Rockville Pike in the Pike District has reopened after a major interior and exterior renovation. Gone are the original color scheme of the exterior and roof, as well as the golden arches “McDonald’s” sign on the side of the building. In their place are more-muted earth tones, and a more understated McDonald’s logo on the side roof. 

Upcoming Opportunities to Engage on Vision Zero

The Montgomery County Executive’s Office has released the Draft Vision Zero 2030 Action Plan to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries by 2030., and the county wants your feedback.

From now until early June, there are a few ways that you can get involved. You can quickly provide your input on the draft plan by answering this quick survey sponsored by the county:

Additionally, you can attend one of the upcoming listening sessions the county is hosting for the plan. They are each focused on one of the regional service areas of the county, but you do not need to live in the service area to attend.

A copy of the plan, access to the feedback survey, and details on how to register for each listening session are available at

You can also participate in the virtual Planning Board meeting currently scheduled for June 3 when Vision Zero Coordinator Wade Holland will share the draft plan with the Board members. Watch the Planning Board meeting live online and on demand.

Thrive Explained: Complete Communities and 15-Minute Living

From The Third Place

A compact form of development – discussed in this post on corridor-focused growth – is necessary but not sufficient to ensure the emergence of great places, because a tight development footprint is only the first step. The combination of uses and activities in each of these communities must add up to a cohesive whole, allowing people who live and work there to meet as many of their needs as possible without the need to drive long distances. This combination, which Thrive Montgomery calls, “complete communities,” not only helps to reduce the need for driving but makes these centers of activity more diverse, interesting, and appealing.

What makes a community complete? Or to put it another way, what combination of infrastructure, services, amenities, and land uses makes a community the kind of place where people want to live and work?  Planners around the world have embraced the concept of “15-minute living,” the idea that most if not all basic needs should be within a 15-minute walk, as a guidepost for creating this kind of place. This concept is a way of thinking about how existing communities can be reimagined and adapted to respond to current and future challenges while also making them more competitive, equitable, and resilient.

But how does 15-minute living apply in a place with the geographic diversity of Montgomery County and its mix of urban, suburban, and rural places? The basic idea is that housing should be planned within a comfortable walking distance of schools, childcare, neighborhood-serving stores or restaurants, parks, transit – or similar daily needs. The concept acknowledges that people may travel more than 15 minutes for work, entertainment, or specialty services and that not everything will be within walking distance but strives to accommodate as many daily needs as possible within a short walk to maximize livability, convenience, and efficiency.

Read the rest of the post here.

Montgomery County to spend $500,000 on push for global pandemic center

From The Washington Post

An ambitious push to create a “Global Pandemic Center” in suburban Maryland got a $500,000 boost Tuesday from the Montgomery County Council, which said the project could help drive the county’s post-pandemic economic recovery and foster resilience against the next major health crisis.

Spearheaded by the regional nonprofit Connected DMV, the center would involves scientists and policymakers from across the globe but operate primarily from the D.C. region, with a likely headquarters in Montgomery.

It would “identify and launch strategic projects needed to advance pandemic avoidance and preparedness,” Connected DMV said in its pitch to the council, including a $2 billion flagship initiative, titled “AHEAD 100,” that would stockpile monoclonal antibodies — laboratory-made treatments — for 100 pathogens most likely to cause global pandemics.

Becoming the site of a global pandemic center, Elrich said, could help attract other cutting-edge research companies. His administration last year entered an agreement with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to establish a life sciences campus next to the White Flint Metro station, with infrastructure to support a mix of start-ups, tech companies and research institutions. The search for a lead developer is ongoing.

Read the rest of the story at The Washington Post

MCDOT Commuter Services Announces new Bicycle Swag Bag Contest

And this week, the contest is at the Bethesda Trolley Trail

While biking the trail, take a selfie, tag us on Twitter or Instagram and you’ll be entered to win. Details=

How to Participate    Starting Monday, April 5 through Sunday, May 30, 2021, MCDOT Commuter Services will promote Bike To Work Day by featuring a different bike path/trail in Montgomery County each week. We’re asking bike riders to submit a favorite picture of themselves enjoying their ride along the featured trail to be entered into a weekly drawing.

 Just take a selfie or have someone take a picture of you and your bike at that week’s featured bike path/trail entrance sign or at your favorite place anywhere along the featured bike path or trail. Post your picture and tag us at @mococommuter (on Twitter or Instagram) along with the hashtag #MoCoBikes to be entered into that week’s drawing for a Bicycle Swag Bag prize. No worries if you’re not a social media user: you may also send your photos to us by email to Participants grant MCDOT Commuter Services permission to publish photos on our social media accounts.  Prize drawings will be held on Monday morning of the following week and winners will be notified via direct message on their Twitter/Instagram account. A consent form will be sent and your prize will be mailed to the address you provide.  One entry per person per week.   The contest is open to persons 18 years and older.  

Where and when appropriate, please remember to practice safe social distancing and wear your favorite face covering.  Please wear a helmet while riding.  Please follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @mococommuter  Each week the featured bike path/trail will be announced on our Twitter and Instagram accounts.   NOTE: To participate you must be a Montgomery County, Maryland resident or be an employee of a company located in Montgomery County, Maryland. 

Our official position on the renaming of the White Flint metro station

Over the past month or so, Friends of White Flint has worked hard to gather community and stakeholder input on the renaming of the White Flint metro station. More than 60 resident and business community members shared their thoughts during an online meeting hosted by County Executive Marc Elrich, District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson, and The Greater Bethesda Chamber, and Friends of White Flint. The Friends of White Flint board also met and thoughtfully discussed the issue. Below you will find our official position on the renaming of the White Flint metro station, but for those of you who just want to know the bottom line, we believe the name of the metro station should be North Bethesda to reflect the community’s preference, history, and redevelopment plans.

Dear County Executive Elrich and Councilmember Friedson:

Friends of White Flint wants to first thank you for the time and effort you’ve devoted to renaming the White Flint metro station.  From sponsoring a public meeting to working with stakeholders, you have both shown much-appreciated leadership on this initiative.

County Executive Elrich, Councilmember Friedson, Friends of White Flint, and the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce held a public meeting to gather community input on the name of the metro station on March 31.  More than sixty residents and business owners attended this meeting, and there was a robust discussion. While at the start of the meeting, participants were evenly divided between keeping the White Flint name and changing the name, by the end, there was consensus that the name ought to include “North Bethesda.”  While some believed ‘Pike District’ or ‘White Flint’ should be included in the name after ‘North Bethesda’, there was genuine consensus that the name should lead with ‘North Bethesda’.

Following the public meeting, the Friends of White Flint board of directors met on April 22nd to discuss the name of the metro station. As you know, the board is composed equally of property owners, businesses, and residents in the White Flint 1 and 2 Sector Plan areas. After a lengthy discussion, the Friends of White Flint board voted to recommend support for the name ‘North Bethesda’.

Friends of White Flint believes ‘North Bethesda’ should be the name for a variety of reasons, as outlined below:

  1. North Bethesda is the name for which there is consensus. Even residents, business, and property owners who wanted a different name are willing to accept and support the name North Bethesda. Community consensus among residents, property owners, and businesses is rare and remarkable, and we want to support and respect that consensus.
  2. Naming the station North Bethesda does not preclude the use of other names in the area, such as continuing to brand the Pike District as the urban center of North Bethesda. Pike District of North Bethesda, White Flint of North Bethesda, Pike & Rose of North Bethesda, Rose Village of North Bethesda, etc., are all possible when the station is named North Bethesda.
  3. North Bethesda builds on the national visibility and prestige of Bethesda, making it easier to attract businesses, retailers, residents, and financing to our community. Both Visit Montgomery and MCEDC believe North Bethesda ought to be the name of the metro station and have offered to support the change.
  4. Many residents and businesses already use the name North Bethesda. In fact, the census tract for our area is called North Bethesda. Because this name is widely used, and has been for many years, there is a compelling logic to naming the station North Bethesda.

The name North Bethesda both builds on the great history of our community and portends a grand future for our neighborhood. We ask the county to request that WMATA changes the name of the station to North Bethesda.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Amy Ginsburg, Executive Director

Lao Sze Chuan coming to NoBe Market

From Robert Dyer at Bethesda Row:

NoBe Market has found a new tenant for the restaurant space vacated by Brio. Lao Sze Chuan, a Szechuan Chinese restaurant, will open in the towering high-rise on Rockville Pike. 

Tony Hu, the “Mayor of Chinatown” in Chicago, has operated Lao Sze Chuan restaurants there, and in Connecticut, Minnesota and Nevada. Many diners and critics have considered his restaurants to serve the best Chinese food in Chicago.

Tomorrow night – Community Kickoff Meeting for the Pike District Connector

Wednesday, April 28, 7-8 pm

Join the Montgomery County Planning Department and Friends of White Flint for a community kickoff meeting for the Pike District Connector on April 28 (7-8 pm). The Connector is a temporary, one-mile pathway on the west side of the Pike District that will link the Bethesda Trolley Trail to the Montrose Parkway Trail. As part of this project, the Better Block Foundation will activate hubs at several intersections along the Connector with seating, artistic elements, and planters. Better Block is a nonprofit that educates, equips, and empowers communities and their leaders to reshape and reactivate built environments to promote the growth of healthy and vibrant neighborhoods. The Planning Department previously worked with Better Block for the White Flint Placemaking Event in 2018 and the Burtonsville Placemaking Festival in 2019.

Please register in advance (, a meeting link will be shared the day of the event.

Pike District does its part

From Bethesda Beat

The County Council approved spending $13.6 million — $8.2 million in general obligation bonds and $5.5 million in federal grants — to acquire land, renovate a facility and cover other costs for a new homeless shelter to be located on about an acre of land at 11600 Nebel Street. This shelter will replace shelter on Taft Court in Rockville because the current shelter, under lease with the city of Rockville, will no longer be available for use starting in January 2022. The Taft Court shelter has 60 beds.

Work on the new facility is expected to be completed by the end of the year. The shelter will have up to 102 beds per floor, shower and restroom facilities, dining and food prep areas, multi-purpose spaces, and case management and group therapy areas.

The county needs about 250 year-round beds, with a surge capacity of 50 to 100 beds. The project is needed because the county’s current homeless shelters and services are “insufficient for the current population and future projection,” a council staff report noted.