Council Budget Actions for the Pike District

Below is a list of the budget actions on items that affect the White Flint/Pike District. Click here to view the details.

Bus Rapid Transit on Route 355: $18 million

White Flint Metro Station Northern Entrance: Council added $11.6 million (of projected $34.8 million cost) back into the project with goal to share the rest of the cost with WMATA.

White Flint Metro Station Access Improvements: $2.9 million to eliminate hot rights at Old Georgetown Road and Route 355 and streetscape improvements

Montgomery Planning Department Drafts Major Changes to County Growth Policies

On Thursday, May 28, the Montgomery County Planning Department will present new growth policy recommendations to the Planning Board as the update to the 2016 Subdivision Staging Policy (SSP). This is the quadrennial update to the Subdivision Staging Policy, which is the county policy that balances infrastructure with growth. This update, which renames the SSP as the County Growth Policy, 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.

“Over the past year, Montgomery Planning has worked closely with the community and county agencies to take a closer look at the impacts of growth on critical public services,” said Montgomery County Planning Director Gwen Wright. “Recognizing that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work in a diverse county like ours, these recommendations guide future growth in a data-driven and appropriate way while giving our communities the public education and transportation facilities they need to thrive.”

Major Recommendations at a Glance:To view the recommendations in more detail: County Growth Policy – Working Draft & County Growth Policy – Working Draft Appendices

Recommendations for Schools:
Create School Impact Areas: To foster a more context-sensitive policy, designate School Impact Areas throughout the county based on similar amounts of development, type of development and amount of school enrollment growth. The areas are identified as Greenfield, Turnover, and Infill Impact Areas.

Greenfield Impact Areas: Areas with increased student enrollment due largely to increased growth in predominantly new single-family housing.

Turnover Impact Areas: Areas where student enrollment growth is low, largely due to turnover of existing single-family housing.

Infill Impact Areas: Areas with increased growth of predominantly multi-family units, which generate few students on a per-housing-unit basis.

Relax Most Housing Development Moratoria: Automatic residential development moratoria (temporarily stopping approvals of new housing developments in an area) will only apply in Greenfield Impact Areas. The Planning Board cannot approve any new housing development plans in an area under a moratorium, unless it meets certain exceptions to the moratorium. Exceptions to moratoria will include residential projects estimated to generate less than one student at a school in moratorium, and projects where the residential component consists entirely of units age-restricted for residents 55 and older.

Restructure and Recalculate School-Related Taxes: Update the student enrollment rates and estimates used to calculate school impact taxes, which developers pay to help support Montgomery County Public Schools’ school construction projects.Update the calculation of the recordation tax on home sales to make it more progressive and to generate more funding for school construction and affordable housing initiatives.Require developers pay a premium for residential development projects served by overcrowded schools in areas without automatic residential development moratoria.

Transportation Recommendations:
Transportation Impact Studies – A Vision Zero Impact Statement will be required for studies that examine a residential development plan’s transportation impact, and travel safety considerations will be prioritized as a mitigation strategy.

Motor Vehicle Transportation Adequacy – Traffic congestion adequacy standards for evaluating proposed residential projects will be modified to be less stringent when the proposed development is near Metrorail stations and along transit corridors.

Master Plan Transportation/Land Use Balance – To determine if the balance between land use and transportation for master plans is adequate, a policy area-level review process will be introduced based on measures to ensure a plan’s consistency with the county’s long-range planning goals and objectives. Measures to be considered include accessibility, travel time, vehicle miles traveled per capita and non-auto driver mode share.

About The Subdivision Staging Policy
The Subdivision Staging Policy is the tool by which the County ensures its essential public facilities, particularly schools and transportation systems, keep pace with development. It tests the County’s infrastructure for adequacy based on projected capacity, growth, and future development. The policy is updated every four years to ensure that the tools used for evaluating the impact of development on essential public facilities, such as a delay-based transportation test or student generation rates, reflect the latest growth patterns of the County.

The community is invited to give comments and feedback on the recommendations by sending in written testimony to the Planning Board by emailing the Chair at MCP-Chair@mncppc-mc.org or signing up to testify at the public hearing scheduled for June 11. The Planning Board will then hold work sessions through mid-July before sending its draft of the policy and related County Code amendments to the County Council for review. By law, the growth policy must be approved by the Council by November 15, 2020.

Montgomery Planning Launches MCReactMap for Advancing the Pike District Project

The Montgomery County Planning Department recently launched an online outreach tool, called the MCReactMap, at our virtual community meeting, to allow residents and stakeholders to provide feedback about the Advancing the Pike District study area.

Advancing the Pike District is a Montgomery Planning initiative to accelerate the transformation of White Flint’s core into a walkable, mixed-use district by identifying short- and medium-term implementation-focused solutions that build on the Sector Plan’s recommendations, enhance mobility, and promote economic development, urban design and placemaking.

Using the hashtags #LoveIt, #FixIt, #NeedIt, people can text their concerns and comments about what they love about the Pike District community and what is missing or needs improvement in these areas.  This map allows people to make comments, interact with other community members and provide feedback on the project area. Map users are invited to tell planners what they like about the area, what they think needs improvement and what they think is missing through the platform. Community members can also respond to prompts that will be placed in the community via text that will be displayed on the map.

Clicking on the pins on the digital map reveals questions to answer about different neighborhoods within the plan area. Visitors can also respond to other comments they agree or disagree with. Other features include a language translation tool as well as street views of the plan area and social media sharing options. Standard message and data rates may apply.

About the First Virtual Community Meeting Montgomery Planning partnered with the Friends of White Flint and Councilmember Andrew Friedson to host an online community meeting for the Advancing the Pike District project on May 19.Watch the full meeting on demand.


During the meeting, attendees heard from planners, urban designers, and real estate experts about the goals of the project and received an update on the current status of the implementation of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.

Will we see you online at our May 19th Community Meeting?

Friends of White Flint and the Montgomery County Planning Department will hold an online public meeting at 7 p.m. on May 19 to discuss the Advancing the Pike District project.

This project builds on the vision established by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan and will analyze elements of urban design, economic development, and transportation in the Pike District. This project is intended to identify short-term opportunities for success that can be implemented within the next 2-5 years to further the development of White Flint.

The meeting will be streamed online and will be posted to the project webpage following the event. A link to the online meeting will be posted on our blog and on the Planning Department’s website before the event ao you can join us.

If you have questions you’d like to pose to the Planning Department, click here.

An update from the White Flint Implementation Committee

Yesterday, Nkosi Yearwood of the Planning Department sent the following update.

Development Moratorium: As you are aware, there is a current development moratorium for the Walter Johnson cluster. The Planning Board will receive the updated schools test information in late June.

Development The preliminary plan for the Wilgus property, which is the vacant property that is west of Towne Road and between Montrose Road and Montrose Parkway, will be reviewed by the Planning Board in the near future.

Attached is a letter from Pepco regarding the substation on Nebel Street.

New Infrastructure: The construction of the Western Workaround (realignment of Executive Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road) continues. The closure of Executive Boulevard, between Marinelli Road and Old Georgetown Road, is tentative for late May. More about the project is available here  https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/whiteflint/index.html

Construction for the Marinelli Road bikeway should begin this Fall.

A letter from Pepco about the substation

Dear Valued Customer:

In these difficult times, please know that Pepco will continue to perform our critical role of providing safe and reliable energy service for our communities, while protecting the health and safety of our customers, our employees and contractors.

Previously, we notified the White Flint community of an important reliability enhancement project that we plan to execute this year. As part of our ongoing commitment to provide safe, reliable, affordable and sustainable energy service for our valued customers, we will continue to construct a new, state-of-the-art substation that will enhance reliability and help to modernize the energy infrastructure in the White Flint area. The new substation will be located near the corner of Nebel Street and Marinelli Road in North Bethesda, Maryland. This new substation is needed to avoid overloading the Parklawn substation in Rockville, Maryland.   

We remain committed to our schedule to begin our work on this substation this month. Soon, you will see Pepco crews and our contractors in, or near, your neighborhood performing work. Please know that we are following CDC guidance and our field workers who are doing essential work are taking additional precautions to ensure their safety and the safety of our customers. In addition to these expanded safety measures, we will adhere to all regulations and guidelines set by the Montgomery County Department of Public Works, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Maryland Department of the Environment and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation.

We are committed to working safely, and we will make every effort to minimize inconveniences to you and your neighbors.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email me at aruffin@pepco.com or call me at 202-872-3137.

Sincerely,

Tony Ruffin, External Affairs Manager

Bike and Walk on Beach Drive

Remember — Little Falls Parkway (from Mass Ave to Arlington Road) and Beach Drive (from Knowles Ave to Connecticut) from Friday at 9 a.m. to Sunday at 6 p.m. will be closed to automobile traffic and open them to walkers, runners, bikers and scooters! (Friends of White Flint advocated for the opening of Beach Drive to pedestrian and bikes, and we’re delighted that Beach Drive will open for recreation during this pandemic.)

District 16 Delegation Asks for Route 355 Crosswalk Repairs

In a recent letter to the State Highway Administration, Senator Susan Lee and Delegates Mark Korman, Ariana Kelly, and Sara Love wrote:

… In recent months, we have received increased reports of crosswalks along MD 355 that are in need of maintenance. In the attached document, we have compiled a list of crosswalks that warrant your office’s attention. The document catalogs every crosswalk along MD 355 that is in need of either A) new paint,B) stripes added, or in some cases, both. The pictures in the document are current as of January 2020. Consistent with SHA’s own recommendations laid out in the Context Driven guide, we encourage the addition of “continental” crosswalks because they are more visible to motorists than the standard parallel lines. Additionally, the continental stripes indicate to pedestrians where to cross safely.

Thank you, delegation from District 16, for staying on top of this important pedestrian safety issues, and we look forward to seeing those new and improved crosswalks from SHA.

Here are are few images from their document, and you can see all the crosswalks by clicking here. (The White Flint/Pike District section begins on page 19.) Because of the advocacy of Friends of White Flint, the intersections of Route 355 and Nicholson Lane, Marinelli Street, and Old Georgetown Road already have freshly painted crosswalks with stripes.

Strathmore can entertain you during your home stay

Please also keep a close eye on Strathmore’s Facebook page as the central home for live and recorded video content to brighten your days of social distancing. 

Join Strathmore on their Facebook page for their Live from the Living Room series! Catch short, uplifting performances every Wednesday at 7:30pm from their talented AIR artists.

Saturday Family Jam Sessions are now online and free! Junior music aficionados can spend Saturday mornings singing, playing, and preparing for a lifetime of music appreciation. Join them at 10:15am every Saturday on our Facebook page.

Take a virtual tour of exhibitions in the Mansion! Their Curator’s Tours and Art Talk & Tours for Kids are moving online. Take a closer look at Working with the Muse, and enjoy a guided art activity your whole family can do at the kitchen table. March 28 at 11:30am for kids and 1pm for adults, held on Zoom.

Their Creative Writing Workshops are now online through Zoom! Join them on April 16 at 7pm to discuss the works of poets Lucille Clifton and Linda Pastan and write poetry that centers on family, love, and survival.

Join them online for our Artists in Fiction Book Club through Zoom! Explore the fictions of your favorite artists, then join fellow readers and art enthusiasts for a lively discussion. On April 15 at 3pm, we’ll discuss The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro.

Strathmore is also seeing lots of great online art activities from our friends at other local arts organizations, including:

– Lunchtime doodle with Mo Williams at The Kennedy Center
– Thursday Playbacks with Young Artists of America
Free online reading with Adventure Theatre
Theater Education Challenges and Playwrights on Play with Round House Theatre

More Covid-19 Info from the County

Just in case you haven’t gotten this information from county emails or social media, here’s some important info on the coronavirus from County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles.

Dear Montgomery County Resident,

In our County’s ongoing effort to keep you informed of the latest, most critical and accurate information, I would like to explain a bit from a medical standpoint about the process regarding testing for COVID-19. We’ve been getting hundreds of calls and emails asking where to get tested for the virus. Allow me to provide some guidance.

Public health workers here in Montgomery County have been working around the clock for the past several weeks in partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and health departments around the region.

Currently, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) criteria dictates the only people who should be tested for COVID-19 are those who have symptoms AND travel history in the past 14 days to specific countries where COVID-19 is widespread (China, Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea) or symptoms AND close contact with a known confirmed case.

While the availability of testing kits has increased in the past week to more community-based laboratories, hospitals and urgent care centers, the decision to test someone for COVID-19 is still based on CDC criteria. The need for testing will be determined by a medical professional based on testing criteria or with additional consultation of State or local public health officials in some instances where individuals have concerning symptoms that do not meet established testing criteria.

Health care locations have told us that people are angry when they are told no testing is available or they are not recommended for testing and there have been a few incidents of angry and upset individuals becoming disruptive to staff and others.

I know many people are anxious to “know their status,” but the reality is that there are not enough test kits nation-wide currently to make “on demand” testing available.  That may change in the future, but that is the current situation.  In Montgomery County, we are actively working to develop potential ways to increase access to testing for those who need it based on their medical condition.

My recommendation to everyone remains the same:  if you are having symptoms AND you have travel history or exposure to a known confirmed case, call your health provider and notify them before you go into their office, so that they can take proper precautions.  If they determine you meet the criteria and have ruled out other illnesses, such as influenza (we are still in flu season) and other possible causes of your symptoms, they may recommend testing.

Commercial laboratories, hospitals and urgent care centers will not perform walk-in testing at this time.

I will repeat the advice I have been giving for several weeks:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Take everyday preventive actions
    • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, or having been in a public place.
    • If soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
    • Cover your cough and sneeze into a tissue or your sleeve
    • Stay home from work if you are sick and try to avoid close contact with people who are sick.
    • To the extent possible, avoid touching high-touch surfaces in public places – elevator buttons, door handles, handrails, handshaking with people, etc. Use a tissue or your sleeve to cover your hand or finger if you must touch something.
    • Wash your hands after touching surfaces in public places.
    • Avoid touching your face, nose, eyes, etc.
    • Clean and disinfect your home to remove germs: practice routine cleaning of frequently touched surfaces (for example: tables, doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks & cell phones)
  • Pay attention for potential COVID-19 symptoms including, fever, cough, and shortness of breath. If you feel like you are developing symptoms, call your doctor.
  • If you develop emergency warning signs for COVID-19 get medical attention immediately. In adults, emergency warning signs include:
    • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
    • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
    • New confusion or inability to arouse
    • Bluish lips or face

We are working to keep you up date with new information once it’s confirmed. Visit our COVID-19 webpage and follow us on Facebook at /montgomerycountyinfo and Twitter @MontgomeryCoMD.