North Bethesda Metro Station?

The area around Metro’s White Flint Station has changed, including the dismantling of its namesake White Flint Mall. In keeping with the area’s growing development and identity, Metro’s Board of Directors is considering whether to change the name to North Bethesda Station. With the White Flint name no longer relevant to the surrounding community, Montgomery County requested the name be changed to North Bethesda Station after consulting with business and community leaders.

In the spring, Friends of White Flint held a well-attended online community meeting about changing the name of the metro station. At the start of the meeting, there was a great diversity of opinions about changing the name of the White Flint metro station, including many suggestions for what that name ought to be, but by the end of the meeting, there was consensus around the name North Bethesda.

Want to give WMATA your opinion? Here’s the link.    

And click here to read The Washington Post story on the name change.

Big construction closures and detours coming to Randolph Road

Starting the week of August 9, Pepco’s contractor is projected to mobilize on Randolph Rd. from Parklawn Dr. to Nebel St. to begin excavation of the 27’x40’ entry pit for the micro- tunnel operation, which is part of the construction of a new Pepco substation. Upon completion of the entry pit, the subcontractor will begin one of two micro- tunnels needed to go under the CSX Railroad tracks to complete the duct bank installation then proceed constructing the second micro-tunnel. This will be followed by the installation of conduit and pump grout throughout both micro-tunnels.

The total duration for the set-up and construction of both tunnels is projected to be completed within six months. Please note, duration dates are subject to change due to weather and permitting requirements.

Pepco is in continued coordination with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to mitigate traffic overflow with minimal disruptions as possible. The traffic control plan will allow East bound traffic only on Randolph Rd. West bound traffic will be detoured down Parklawn Dr. to Rockville Pike-MD-355Sidewalks on Randolph Rd. will remain open to pedestrians throughout the duration of the micro-tunnel construction. 

While working during the permitted hours, flaggers will be posted to help coordinate traffic going to local businesses. All traffic control measures will remain in place 24/7 until the work is completed.

Please feel free to reach out to Shamyra Edmonds, Project Ombudsman directly for any questions or concerns about the White Flint Substation project at 202-643-3148 or sedmonds@cwsons.com.

’20 is Plenty’ comes to the streets around NoBe Market

County Executive Marc Elrich, County, Council President Tom Hucker, and Councilmembers Andrew Friedson and Evan Glass participated in kick-off ceremonies near Woodglen Drive for the pilot ’20 is Plenty’ program.

“As we continue to reopen, traffic will increase, which will lead to more cars on the road and pedestrians crossing streets,” said County Executive Elrich. “This is why we must focus on increasing safety measures throughout Montgomery County communities so that we reduce the number of fatalities. In 2019, Montgomery County saw 1,200 speed-induced crashes resulting in 32 lives lost, which is far too many. The 20 is Plenty effort is designed to engage residents and save more lives.”

Over the last few years, the 20 is Plenty campaign has set new normal speed behaviors internationally in nations including Canada, Sweden, Scotland and the United Kingdom. Nationally, Montgomery County will be joining approximately six other locations, primarily on the West Coast, which have lowered speed limits to 20 mph on select streets.

“I’m hopeful that this program will be the beginning of a much larger push to slow speeds and save lives,” said Council President Hucker. “We are committed to improving safety on our roadways and taking sensible, repeated steps to meet our Vision Zero goals.”

MCDOT Director Chris Conklin said: “Speed is a major factor in serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways. The 20 is Plenty approach is intended to encourage lower speeds in areas where motor vehicles mix with pedestrians and cyclists. Lower speed limits and additional signage is intended to make drivers aware of the need to drive slowly and cautiously in these areas and on streets surrounding the designated 20 is Plenty locations.”

During its 2021 session, the Maryland General Assembly passed House Bill 562, sponsored by the Montgomery County House Delegation. The bill authorizes Montgomery County and its municipalities to decrease the maximum speed limit to not less than 15 miles per hour on highways, but only after performing an engineering and traffic investigation.

“20 is Plenty is an important way to build awareness about the dangers of driving at dangerous speeds,” said Councilmember Friedson. “Together with physical changes to the roadway that slow down drivers, this initiative can help make our roadways safe for all users—pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.”

Streets included in the pilot program are designated in the Montgomery County Road Code as Urban Roads. The five pilot roadways include:

Century Boulevard – Germantown
Executive Boulevard – North Bethesda
Greenwood Avenue – Long Branch
Pinnacle Drive – Germantown
Woodglen Drive – North Bethesda

The program results will be used to determine how, where and if the program should be expanded. ​

The pilot program falls under the County adopted Vision Zero action plan to eliminate serious and fatal collisions on County roadways for vehicle occupants, pedestrians and bicyclists by 2030.

“Slower speeds provide a safety buffer by shortening stopping distances and lessening the impact of crashes,” said Director Conklin. “When crash impact speeds rise from 20 to 30 miles per hour, the risk of fatality to a pedestrian increases eight-fold. Safety is at the center of all of our work. We are constantly asking ourselves what can be done to better protect the public and this pilot program falls in alignment with these values.”

It’s official!

Montgomery County Executive Elrich Submits Letter to WMATA Requesting White Flint Metro Station to be Renamed ‘North Bethesda Metro Station’

Last week, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich submitted a letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) requesting the renaming of the White Flint Metro Station to be named the “North Bethesda Metro Station.”

Beginning in 2020, the County collaborated in station retitling efforts with the Greater Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, the Friends of White Flint, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee, and other community leaders. A public meeting, sponsored by the above groups as well as the County Executive and the District One Councilmember Andrew Friedson, was held on March 31, 2021 where the new designation of “North Bethesda” was selected.

“The development of the North Bethesda Metro Station is not only critical to the future economic growth of Montgomery County but the entire state and region,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Thanks to our State Delegates in Districts 16 and 18, we have secured $250,000 toward the renaming costs. In addition, the County will contribute $50,000, and there is a commitment that remaining costs will be paid by the key property owners in the immediate vicinity of this station. The choice of ‘North Bethesda’ was the consensus of this community. I expect for generations to come the name ‘North Bethesda’ will be known as an epicenter in the bio/life sciences and quantum computing industries supported by private sector companies, academics, and federal agencies developed in a 21st-century sustainable and equitable location.”

“The Metro station is crucial to the viability of this area and our community’s vision for it,” District 1 Councilmember Andrew Friedson said. “We need a Metro station that reflects that vision and helps our economic development, regional competitiveness, and placemaking efforts so the Pike District and North Bethesda becomes an even more vibrant, walkable, and livable destination.”

“The entire Montgomery County House and Senate Delegations recognize the economic potential of ‘North Bethesda.’  Rebranding the Metro station is crucial to achieving that success and we were pleased to fight to obtain that state investment,” said Marc Korman, Delegate from District 16.

In 2010, Montgomery County completed a comprehensive update to the White Flint Sector Plan. Since that time, much has changed in North Bethesda including the former White Flint Mall which was dismantled between 2017 and 2020. A key goal for the community – both residential and business – is identity; and White Flint is no longer a relevant name or term used.

“Friends of White Flint believes the name ‘North Bethesda’ honors the history of this remarkable neighborhood and heralds a spectacular future as a walkable, transit-oriented, vibrant community,” said Amy Ginsburg, executive director of Friends of White Flint.

“Renaming the Metro station has been an imperative goal of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee to support current and future branding efforts of both the Pike District and greater North Bethesda,” said White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee Chairperson Andy Shulman. “We are pleased with the consensus amongst community, government and property stakeholders around the name ‘North Bethesda’ for the station.”

You can also read the media coverage:

WTOP: Montgomery Co. executive seeks name change for White Flint Metro stop

Bethesda Beat: Elrich supports ‘North Bethesda’ as new name for White Flint Metro station

Washington Business Journal: Montgomery County looks to rename White Flint Metro station

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.