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

MD 355 BRT/Flash Project Update

The MD 355 Flash project will bring fast and reliable bus service in dedicated lanes to this busy corridor. The project will create new connections, and support growth and redevelopment. MCDOT is working on the preliminary design for the MD 355 Flash. We completed a survey of the corridor last year to inform the work. We are designing the parts of the corridor with dedicated lanes (Grosvenor to Germantown) first. Segments without dedicated lanes will be designed later. This phase of design will run through the end of 2022.

Metro Name Change Meeting Recap on the Media

From Montgomery Community Media: MEETING ENDS WITH CONSENSUS TO CHANGE NAME OF WHITE FLINT METRO STATION

During the hour-long virtual discussion on whether to change the name of the White Flint Metro Station, the approximately 60 people in attendance went from expressing a fairly even split to reaching a consensus to change the station’s name to something that included the two words – North Bethesda, according to Friends of White Flint Executive Director Amy Ginsburg.

“When I was growing up, this area really didn’t have an identity. I think the fact that we are trying to create an identity is a really good thing,” she said.

When the discussion started, half the participants saw no need to change the name while the other half said they didn’t feel White Flint reflected the community now that the White Flint Mall has been demolished, she said, adding that the conversation throughout the meeting was interesting and civil. Participants ranged from college students to someone who has lived in the area for 50 years and also included small business and property owners.

During the meeting, “Most people thought White Flint meant the mall, but the mall is not there,” Ginsburg noted. Soon, several people changed their preference, opting for North Bethesda-White Flint or North Bethesda-Pike District.

Councilmember Andrew Friedson told MyMCM that he received “good feedback” at the meeting. He noted that his objective “has always been to facilitate consensus around a name change to help advance our broader placemaking and economic development vision for the area. “I think it’s a good time to make a change,” he added.

Executive Marc Elrich also favored changing the name, opting to have one that reflected the future of the area and its biotech companies, according to Ginsburg.

Friedson explained that the next step is to weigh the options and then to speak with the county executive staff. If the county decides it wants to change the station name, it must then make a request to Washington Metropolitan Area Authority Transit. The county will seek state funding to help offset the cost, he said.

The March 31 meeting was sponsored by Friends of White Flint, Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce, Elrich and Friedson

From WTOP: Montgomery Co. leaders, residents discuss White Flint station name change

Should the name of the White Flint Metro station be changed? Montgomery County, Maryland, community leaders met virtually with residents Wednesday night to discuss the possibility.

Amy Ginsburg, executive director of the group Friends of White Flint, hosted the virtual meeting.

Montgomery County Council member Andrew Friedson pointed out that Metro is open to the name change, and the cost would be mitigated due to several factors, including potential access to state funding to help.

Much of the meeting was devoted to residents’ thoughts and comments on the potential name change.

Adam supported a name change for the station, saying, “It can only help.” The goal, he said, is to drive business to the area.

Chris, who has been working with Montgomery County to promote the term “Pike District,” hoped that name catches on. She likened it to names of Business Improvement Districts like NoMa, Golden Triangle and Southwest Waterfront.

Heidi liked the North Bethesda name.

“What I like about North Bethesda is that it is a geolocation,” she said, “so it does immediately say to people, ‘Wherever I’m going is north of Bethesda.’”

Steve called North Bethesda the most parsimonious name, given that the designation is already on Google Maps and Redfin, and he added: “The census, itself, recognizes it.” So, he said North Bethesda makes more sense than Pike District.

Ginsburg suggested the combination “North Bethesda-Pike District” would work. She said it “better fits the area as the county and stakeholders are working to redevelop and rebrand our area.”

WMATA said there’s a June deadline to decide on a name change. There will likely be more discussion before a decision is made.

Got questions about the upcoming Old Georgetown Road and Executive Blvd. intersection closure?

MCDOT is holding an online meeting to discuss the upcoming road closure and detour plans for pedestrian/bicyclist and vehicular traffic for the Old Georgetown Rd and Executive Blvd. intersection closing. The online meeting will be held Wednesday, March 10, 2021, 4PM – 5PM.

Please see the link below for the public meeting. This event is open to the public, and MCDOT will be taking questions via chat. https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetupjoin/19%3ameeting_NGVkZWJlNjQtNTFiOS00ZjVhLWIwZDUtZGYzNTczYmI1ZDAx%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%226e01b1f9-b1e5-4073-ac97-778069a0ad64%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%227abcc5b3-2e3c-43ad-a074-86c4c1b0b1c7%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

Read more about the closure here.

Metro Proposes Closing Grosvenor Station in 2022

Metro is proposing to close Grosvenor/Strathmore Metro Station in 2022 as part of cost saving measures due to budget issues. It is meant to be a temporary measure, but we think it’s a bad idea to close this station even temporarily. They have launched a survey to get feedback on various budget-cutting proposals, including closing Grosvenor/Strathmore station and running trains less frequently.

Please take a few moments to fill out Metro’s survey and make your voice heard, https://www.wmata.com/initiatives/budget/index.cfm

Please also send a message to Metro’s board at  boardofdirectors@wmata.com  BEFORE close of business on Tuesday, March 16. Tell the board members about the negative impact of the closure of the Grosvenor-Strathmore station. And remember, a concise message is more effective than a long, wordy one.

A letter in support of increased MARC train service

Below is a letter that Friends of White Flint signed, with many others, to support a veto override of MARC Bill HB 1236

Speaker Jones, President Ferguson, and Minority Leaders Kipke and Simonaire:

Please accept the attached letter from a diverse group of elected leaders, municipalities, and business, labor, smart growth, and  environmental organizations urging your support to override the veto for HB 1236, a bill that would begin to implement the MARC Cornerstone Plan through three initiatives of statewide importance, including:

  • a plan to pilot an extension of MARC trains beyond Union Station to L’Enfant Plaza, Crystal City and Alexandria;
  • a plan to close the commuter rail gap between Perryville, Maryland and Newark, Delaware—opening job opportunities for residents in Cecil and Harford counties; and
  • a concept plan to connect the Penn Line and the Camden Line to enhance these lines’ resiliency and improve operations and maintenance.

On behalf of all the signatories below, we thank you for your leadership and support of this request.

Angela D. Alsobrooks, County Executive, Prince George’s County

Ryan Dorsey, Councilmember, Baltimore City

Marc Elrich, County Executive, Montgomery County

Andrew Friedson, Councilmember, Montgomery County

Dannielle M. Glaros, Councilmember, Prince George’s County

Evan Glass, Councilmember, Montgomery County

Tom Hucker, Councilmember, Montgomery County

Nick J. Mosby, Council President, Baltimore City

Steuart Pittman, Jr., County Executive, Anne Arundel County

Hans Reimer, Councilmember, Montgomery County

Brandon M. Scott, Mayor, Baltimore City

Patrick L. Wojahn, Mayor, City of College Park

2030 Group

Baltimore-DC Metro Building Trades Council

Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen – District of Columbia (BLET-DC)

City of College Park

Coalition for Smarter Growth

Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore

Friends of White Flint

Greater Washington Partnership

JBG SMITH

Maryland Sierra Club

Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO

Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

National Landing Business Improvement District

Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce

Rail Passengers Association

SMART-TD Maryland

Town of Riverdale Park