Category Montgomery County Government

Take the Pike District Connector survey

The Montgomery County Planning Department, is partnering with the Friends of White Flint and the Better Block Foundation to add local semi-permanent art and public seating at four main intersections along this temporary one-mile connector that will link pedestrians and bicyclists from the Bethesda Trolley Trail to the Montrose Parkway Trail this summer.

The public has until May 28 to provide feedback through an online survey, so please take a quick moment and submit your thoughts by clicking on the survey button below.

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.

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 (https://montgomeryplanning.org/events/pike-district-connector-community-kickoff-meeting/), 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.

You can now tour Josiah Henson Museum & Park

The Josiah Henson Museum & Park tells the story about the life and challenges of Reverend Josiah Henson, enslavement in Maryland, and the ongoing struggles of racial equality and justice. The new museum is located at 11410 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda.

Josiah Henson Museum & Park will open with timed & ticketed entry. Tickets for timed entry to Josiah Henson Museum & Park are now available online at ActiveMontgomery.org with the first entries to the Museum available on Friday, April 23 at 10 am.

Josiah Henson Museum & Park is the former plantation property of Isaac Riley where Reverend Josiah Henson was enslaved. This park is a historic resource of local, state, national and international significance because of its association with Reverend Henson, whose 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, Now an Inhabitant of Canada inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Park contains the historic Riley/Bolten House (1800-1815) and its attached log kitchen (1850-51). Ongoing archaeological excavations seek to find where Josiah Henson may have lived on the site.

Pike District Connector Community Kickoff Meeting

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 (https://montgomeryplanning.org/events/pike-district-connector-community-kickoff-meeting/), a meeting link will be shared the day of the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Walker Freer at Walker.Freer@montgomeryplanning.org

A Bethesda Beat article featuring our community meeting

From Bethesda Beat

Elrich seeks developer to build White Flint life sciences, tech campus

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich envisions a mix of bioscience companies, startups, technology companies and a university presence near the White Flint Metro station. But first, he needs to find a lead developer, he said.

Elrich described what he has in mind to more than 100 people who attended a virtual meeting Thursday night. The nonprofit organization Friends of White Flint, which advocates for the White Flint/Pike District, hosted the forum.

Elrich said the county has entered a memorandum of understanding with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to develop land adjacent to the Metro station.

Elrich said the area is “perfectly positioned” for growth in life sciences and technology due to the site being close to federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, as well as its accessibility due to proximity to Metro’s Red Line and the Beltway.

“We’ve got the land. We’ve got the transportation. We’ve got the industry … and I’m willing to drive purpose-driven development,” he said.

Elrich said a focus on the life sciences and computing industries will help with job growth, which has been lacking in recent years compared to the Northern Virginia suburbs.

“In Montgomery County, we’ve been in a 10-year stall where virtually no jobs are coming to the county. And if you don’t have jobs, you’re not gonna get any housing built,” he said. “There aren’t people demanding housing. … And so, if we’re gonna get both of those things unstuck, we need to do something deliberate.”

Elrich said he is concerned about the net loss of private business in the county, as well as the fact that fewer people age 25 to 44 are choosing to live here.

“None of these are a good trajectory to be on,” he said.

Elrich said the aim is to ensure businesses that offer high-paying jobs come to the corridor.

“I do not need more minimum-wage jobs in Montgomery County. That is not gonna foster a lot of economic growth. It’s not gonna foster people who have the incomes who can live in the apartments that will be built,” he said.

When asked about potential tenants for the area, Elrich said he first needs to send a proposal to a developer. He said he is not sure of the timeline for getting a developer, but said it could potentially happen in six months.

“Unfortunately, I don’t control markets, but everybody tells me there’s interest. And I’m not talking about people I know casually. I mean, developers have said flat out there’s an interest in being here. So that to me is encouraging,” he said.

Elrich said three universities “expressed interest” in being partners for the project, but he did not say which ones. He said he is getting ready to talk with representatives with one of the universities for the fourth time.

Asked about the future held for the former White Flint Mall site, Elrich first said, somewhat lightly, “you’ll have to talk to Alan Gottlieb,” referring to the chief operating officer of Lerner Enterprises, an owner of the former mall site.

Elrich then added more seriously that he doesn’t see Gottlieb “sitting on the sidelines.”

“I’m sure that he’s talking to people who’ve been talking to people and is aware that there is a growing interest in life sciences for that area. And he is rather uniquely positioned in the sense that he has a boatload of land that he can configure,” Elrich said.

Proposed changes to the White Flint Taxing District

The county is proposing changes to the special White Flint Taxing District. For the fifteen people who aren’t property owners who are curious about this issue, you can peruse a Power Point presentation on the topic.

You can read Friends of White Flint’s official position here.

The County Council will hold a work session on the resolution to repeal and replace Resolution No. 16-1570 with respect to the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Strategy and Infrastructure Improvement List and related amendments to the FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program on TUESDAY, MARCH 9, 2021, 1:30 – 2:30PM

The intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Blvd. will be closing in March

MCDOT has announced they will be closing the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Executive Blvd. in early March to speed up completion of the Western Workaround project and ensure the safety of construction workers.

The detour plan can be found on the map below (which I know is a bit fuzzy) and also here. MCDOT plans to have signage directing people along the detour routes. MCDOT will soon share their plans for pedestrian and bicycle access as well as a better detour map.

Prior to the intersection closure, MCDOT and its prime contractor will ensure that the new section of Grand Park Avenue between Old Georgetown Road and Banneker Avenue is open to traffic. In addition, the scheduled improvements along Executive Blvd. between Nicholson Lane and Banneker Avenue will be completed before the intersection closure. 

Work hours will be from 6:00 am until 10:00 pm Monday through Friday. N0 overnight shift is planned at this time. The intersection will be closed for about five months.

MCDOT is planning outreach to the businesses and residents who live and work near this intersection. If you have questions or concerns about this closure, you can ask Marcelo Cortez, Chief, Transportation Construction Section, MCDOT, Division of Transportation Engineering at R.Marcelo.Cortez@montgomerycountymd.gov .

Draft Climate Action Plan

In December 2020, County Executive Marc Elrich released the Draft Climate Action Plan  for public review. The Climate Action Plan is Montgomery County’s strategic plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2027 and 100% by 2035.

The Climate Action Plan details the effects of a changing climate on Montgomery County and includes strategies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses, and the built and natural environment. After receiving community input on the Draft Climate Action Plan, the County plans to finalize the Plan in Spring 2021.

You can learn more about the plan at a virtual event.

The County is accepting comments on this plan through the end of February.