County passes capital budget that includes funding for Woodward re-opening

The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to approve the County’s $5.8 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Operating Budget and a $4.4 billion FY21-26 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) to fund school construction, infrastructure improvements and community projects. The Council’s focus throughout its budget work was on providing continuity of services for County government and residents.

“The Council’s approach to this budget was unlike any other,” said Council President Sidney Katz. “We had a singular goal—continuity of service. Like households across our community, we had to limit our spending and control budget growth. The $5.8 billion operating budget and the $4.4 billion capital budget provides stability for our residents and our workforce, while we await a clearer picture of expenses and revenues that will emerge during the summer and fall. We all recognize that there will be more work to do to meet the ongoing public health and financial needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The County’s $4.4 billion Capital Improvements Program provides funding to address the County’s most urgent building needs. Some items of note in the CIP include keeping the reopening of Woodward High School and the Northwood High School Addition/Facility Upgrade on schedule. Thank you to the County Council for keeping this vital project on track.

The County Executive’s CIP Budget

Yesterday, the County Executive released his proposed capital budget, called the CIP or Capital Improvements Program budget. In the North Bethesda area, there are 19 projects totaling $458 million. That said, many of the projects have no funding. You can learn more by clicking here.

We’re happy there are funds for the White Flint fire station and the Western Workaround but very disappointed the County Executive recommended no funds for a second metro entrance. The second metro entrance is essential for kick-starting development and attracting businesses and residents.

Last year, the County Executive did not include funding for the northern metro entrance but the County Council put funding into the CIP. We hope the council will do the same again this year.

Location of CIP Projects in North Bethesda

You can read more at The Washington Post article, Elrich says he is committed to schools and housing. Critics say his capital budget suggests otherwise.

Wall Park CIP Hearing Changed to Wednesday Evening

Are you planning on helping to create a Park Paradise at Wall Park by attending the CIP meeting? (I hope so!)

Please know that Council Capital Improvements Program (CIP) Hearing originally scheduled for tonight  has been changed to WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10th, 7 pm, Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850.  Please come and wear an exclusive, one-of-a-kind Wall Park T-shirt.

Why is now the time to build the Wall Park garage so we can “un-pave paradise and pull up the parking lot?” 1) Constructing the Wall Park Garage now is cost-effective and the best use of County land and funds. We can save $1 million by building the garage at the same time that Gables builds their apartment garage. 2) Wall Park is a vital community amenity that is important to the community and essential to creating a thriving Pike District/White Flint area.

Montgomery County Executive Leggett Announced Amendments to FY16 Budget and CIP

Yesterday Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett announced his recommendations for the FY16 Capital budget and proposed amendments to the FY15-20 Capital Improvement Program (CIP). Check out the news release with more details about the amendments here.

Note one of the proposed amendments to the FY16 budget in the announcements:

“*Acceleration of White Flint redevelopment expenditures for Main Street/Market Street and Executive Boulevard to coordinate with construction of the Conference Center parking garage, minimizing disruption to local businesses, saving money, and bringing pedestrian and bike improvements on line earlier.”

This is great to hear!

It is also important to understand that since a County Charter amendment was passed in 1996, “A new CIP budget is developed in even-numbered calendar years. In alternate years, such as 2015, the Executive may recommend limited amendments to the existing six-year CIP. “

Update from White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee June Meeting

Here are the updates from the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee meeting from Monday, June 9th.

Nkosi Underwood mentioned that no new development activities have taken place since the last meeting in May. ProMARK and Foulger-Pratt are in the process of presenting their preliminary site plan to the Planning Board. They hope to present their plan in the near future. JBG Companies and Gables Residential will present their new designed projects at the next Implementation Advisory Committee meeting in July so we will provide an update on those presentations next month.

Francine Waters provided an update from the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee. As Lindsay has mentioned, the Downtown Advisory Committee is in midst of discussing the implications of expanding the scope and area of the White Flint district along the Rockville Pike corridor and the branding of a name of the larger district. They will continue to discuss the implications of these changes for both the district and the Downtown Advisory Committee itself.

Dee Metz, the White Flint Implementation Coordinator, provided an update from the county on White Flint public projects. Since the last Implementation meeting, the CIP budget for FY15-20 was passed. The budget included nine projects for the White Flint district, including the forward funding for the Western Workaround. Also, the Hoya Street extension proposal was added to the budget and $7.5 million was allotted to the project, which is a great success for the White Flint district. In addition, $75,000 was added to the budget of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee to give the committee a total budget of $95,000.

Furthermore, the county is working on using grant money reserved for traffic calming projects for the Nebel Street area between Randolph Road and Nicholson Lane. The county is working to include elements such as biking facilities, extra stop signs, and bump outs along this street. The county is also focused on finalizing solutions addressing pedestrian issues along Woodglen Drive between Edison Lane and Nicholson Lane.

Dick Knapp and Rob Eisinger then provided the committee with a presentation on the East Village at North Bethesda Gateway. They both emphasized the importance of bringing development to the eastern side of Rockville Pike and the need to create a sense of a social community. For more information on this presentation, check out our post on East Village project from Monday. Mary Ward from Crest of Wickford mentioned her concerns with pedestrian right-of-ways being blocked along Nicholson Lane because of this project. The developers of East Village understand the importance in pedestrian walkways and have dedicated land for the sidewalk in front the buildings for pedestrian right-of-ways.

We know how important it is for community residents to express their concerns with the new developments. If you are a cyclist or pedestrian, it is important and necessary for you to express any and all concerns these new projects pose for your safety and accessibility. Friends of White Flint is happy to take your concerns to the county. Please email us at info@whiteflint.org.

The next meeting will take place on July 14th at 7:00pm at the Federal Realty Investment Trust Headquarters on 1626 East Jefferson Street, Rockville, MD.

Montgomery County Council FY-15 Budget Updates

The Montgomery County Council met on Thursday, May 15 to deliberate on the FY-15 Montgomery County Operating Budget and the FY 2015-20 Capital Improvements Program. The council came to an unanimous tentative agreement on the Operating Budget for FY-15 and the FY2015-20 CIP.

Some of the key actions to took place that are important for White Flint include:

  •  The approval of the FY 15 Montgomery County Operating Budget of $4.99 billion, which will include funding for the Urban Park Elements.
  • The unanimous tentative agreement on the approval of $4.45 billion of spending in the FY 2015-20 Capital Improvements Program (CIP). This includes the Montrose Parkway East and Chapman Avenue Extension.

The final action and deliberation on the budget will take place this morning, Thursday, May 22nd at 9:30 am. Stay tuned for more information on the final approval of the budget.

Updates from White Flint Sector Implementation Advisory Committee

Since the Jewish holiday, Passover, falls on the next White Flint Sector Implementation Advisory Committee meeting date of Monday April 14th, there will be no Implementation Advisory Committee meeting this month.

N’kosi Yearwood, White Flint’s lead planner, sent along updates on projects and planning happening now around the White Flint District that you can find below:

Development Projects

  • Saul Centers White Flint is going to the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 17. The Committee has twice seen this proposal. Here is a link to the staff report

http://www.montgomeryplanningboard.org/agenda/2014/documents/StaffReport_320140010_SaulCentersWhiteFlint.pdf

  • There are some minor amendments for Pike and Rose (Phase IB) that will go to the Planning Board soon. Most of the adjustments, such as interior building and plant list changes, pertain to modifications that have occurred during construction for Buildings 10-12.

FY 15-20 CIP

  • FY 15-20 CIP:  The Council agreed with the Executive’s recommendations and at the request of the Transportation & Environment Committee, they are considering adding an additional $7.5 million to construct Hoya Ave, also known as Towne Road, from Old Georgetown to Montrose Parkway.  That will be put on the reconciliation list and a final determination will be made before the budget is approved at the end of May. 
  • Conference Center garage: An FY14 CIP Amendment was introduced at the Council to allow us to go forward with the design of the Conference Center parking garage. This garage is needed as a result of all the parking that will be displaced by constructing re-aligned Executive Boulevard and Market Street, as well as the disposition of the part of the parking lot cut off by Executive Boulevard.  The funding is available through an earlier transaction with the Maryland Dept. of Transportation, when they allowed us to purchase and resell a former commuter parking lot that belonged to SHA.  As part of the agreement, the State dictated that these funds would be used for the replacement parking at the Conference Center, which is partly owned by the state.  A Planning Housing & Economic Development Committee worksession is scheduled for April 28 at the Council office building. Attached is a copy of the Executive’s submitted CIP Amendment. 
  • Western Workaround:  Design is progressing on track.  Right now MCDOT is working with all of the utility companies to reach agreement on the location of the various utilities within the right of way, and also on a plan to relocate the current utilities that run along the span of Executive Boulevard to be abandoned. Our greatest challenge is right of way acquisition.  The Sector Plan and projected road costs assumed that any right of way needed from private property owners would be at no cost to the County.  The timing is not working out because not all of the developers are ready to proceed at the pace we need to have that right of way dedicated.  We are looking at alternatives in the event that the right of way cannot be dedicated in time for construction. 
  • Nebel Street:  MCDOT has a grant for traffic calming measures, and one of the projects identified is Nebel Street between Nicholson Lane and Randolph Road.  As part of the traffic calming design, they are hoping to be able to afford to include bike improvements within the current curb lines.  Different designs are being explored, and will be presented to the committee in a few months.

Bike to Work Day

  • Bike to Work Day is on May 16 and one of the official stops will again be in White Flint at NRC. Free food, beverages and raffle giveaways will be provided from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.

 

 

FoWF Advocacy

Friends of White Flint is the only independent organization that represents the entire range of stakeholders impacted by the redevelopment of White Flint. When we create a position, we tap into the residents, businesses and landowners in and around our area in order to build consensus. Our advocacy often occurs in person and over the telephone but, last week, we had the opportunity to send letters on three topics at issue within county government.  The first is regarding the renovations being contemplated for Nebel Street, the second is asking for Hoya Street to be completed and the last is advocating for additional funds in the Parks Department budget for urban park elements.

Check out the text below :

To MCDOT regarding the redesign of Nebel Street (and see the update at the bottom):

We are very grateful that traffic engineer Kyle Liang took the time to share MCDOT’s plans for Nebel Street with the White Flint Downtown Advisory Board last month.  Friends of White Flint was present at the meeting and would like to share some thoughts and recommendations based on the concepts provided.  Friends of White Flint is a community advocacy group which represents the entire range of stakeholder groups impacted by the redevelopment of the White Flint Sector.  Our members include not only hundreds of individual residents but also most of the condominium and civic associations in and abutting the sector, businesses, and property owners/developers.

Nebel Street is a unique and well-traveled border of the White Flint sector and, though it is mostly industrial at present, it is projected for growth in the near future.  We are grateful for MCDOT’s attention to the road, and the fiscally-prudent strategy to assess how best we can be using the existing pavement.  We agree that re-striping the road and incorporating bicycle infrastructure are excellent improvements.  There are three major concerns, however, which we’d like to share.

While we appreciate the dedicated bicycle lane, and are willing to trade that facility’s optimum width for the streamlining of the project, we are concerned with its abrupt end before Randolph Road.  Bicycle trips will not end mid-block and it is unfair and unsafe to terminate a bike lane suddenly, depositing bicycles in the lane with unsuspecting drivers.  We do, however, understand that the pavement narrows at this point, impacting the options.  If a solution which continues the bike lane until the intersection is impossible, then we ask for every effort to be made in ensuring the safe transition of bikes into traffic.  Specifically, we ask that MCDOT install highly visible signage at the curbs and sharrows in the lane.  The suggestion that paint in the travel lane, in the form of a sharrow, is economically prohibitive is unacceptable.

Second, we ask that MCDOT take a more comprehensive look at the intersection of Marinelli Road and Nebel Street.  The subject of lengthy discourse over two WFDAC meetings, this intersection poses a significant visibility risk for drivers turning left onto Nebel from Marinelli.  A curve, a hill and parked cars make it very difficult to see and we ask that additional traffic calming measures be considered, just as they were at the intersection with Old Georgetown Road.  While a three-way stop has been discussed most widely, our members have also asked that you consider roundabouts at both the interesection with Marinelli and Old Georgetown.  We offer this suggestion with the understanding that it might broach farther into the realm of a capital improvement but ask that you explore all options to improve safety at these intersections.

Finally, we ask that you take a look at improving conditions at the intersection of Nebel Street and Nicholson Lane.  This intersection is presently treacherous for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians.  A hedge at the southeast corner obstructs visibility for all travelers.  Also, the travel lanes on Nebel approaching the intersection are not clearly marked.  Drivers often mistake which lanes are for turning and which are for through-traffic.  And, large tractor trailers are often parked on the west side of Nebel Street, approaching Nicholson Lane obstructing visibility and stretching into travel lanes. There must be better solutions, for the sake of both visibility and safety.

We understand that these improvements to Nebel Street are still in the conceptual phase but we applaud your forethought in tackling them.  It’s our hope that a portion of the traffic calming budget will be used toward these needed changes and that they could be installed this year.  But, in the interest of using our county funds most effectively, we hope that our comments will be considered so that the improvements will be comprehensive and long-lasting.

** Update on Nebel Street – we learned from Dee Metz, the county’s White Flint Implementation Coordinator that MCDOT is now planning a 3-way stop at the intersection with Nebel Street.

To the County Council on completing Hoya Street as part of their Capital Improvements Projects Budget:

Friends of White Flint is ecstatic about the proposed acceleration of funding to complete Hoya Street in the White Flint sector and we ask that you and your colleagues maintain it within the budget.  Friends of White Flint is a community advocacy group which represents the entire range of stakeholder groups impacted by the redevelopment of the White Flint Sector.  Our members include not only hundreds of individual residents but also most of the condominium and civic associations in and abutting the sector, businesses, and property owners/developers.

Presently, Hoya Street ends abruptly just north of Old Georgetown Road.  In fact, when a driver begins their southbound journey from Rockville Pike, it actually appears that Hoya is a throughstreet that connects with the improving White Flint street grid.  It’s not until a driver is right upon it that they realize their mistake and need to turn around.  An improved street grid is crucial to a successfully redeveloped White Flint, and for addressing the ever-worsening traffic running through it.  A connected Hoya Street is at the heart of this.  Please get this project back on track by funding it as recommended by the T&E committee.

Thank you for considering this issue as you address the budget.

And, to augment the funding of the Parks’ department to allow them flexibility when addressing urban parks (like those planned for Wall Park and the White Flint Civic Green).  It’s our hope that the department will use some of these extra funds to make easy and relatively inexpensive improvements to Wall Park now, so we can increase our enjoyment of the space while we wait for the full improvement.  This is from our letter to the County Council on this budgetary item:

Green space is crucially important to the success of White Flint and we need the county to do its part to ensure our parks reach their potential. Therefore, we urge that the county fund Urban Parks Elements independently of other existing park needs so that these important areas can receive the attention they require.  It is our hope that some of this funding will be used toward improving Wall Park so that, even before its full transformation is complete, it can become an area of respite for residents of our growing White Flint area.

Advocacy is crucial to the success of the White Flint Sector!  Join us!

Draft Minutes of FoWF’s Feb. 24th Board Meeting

** The following are draft minutes of the meeting held on February 24, 2014, of the Board of Directors of Friends of White Flint.  These minutes will remain in draft form until approved at the next Board meeting.  In the meantime, please email suggested edits to Info@WhiteFlint.org **

**Updated on 3/17/14 at 4:46pm with edits**

 

Draft Minutes of the February 24, 2014 FoWF Board of Directors Meeting

Minutes

2014 Board of Directors Meeting

February 24, 2014, 6:30pm

The Forum Condominium

 

The Friends of White Flint (FoWF) Board Meeting was called to order at 6:37pm at the Forum Condominium in North Bethesda. The agenda was prepared by Lindsay Hoffman. Present were Directors David Frieshtat, Todd Lewers, Howard Feldman, Chad Salganik, and Suzanne Hudson. Also present were approximately fifty members and guests. Not present were Directors Evan Goldman, James Schaeffer, Ken Hurdle, Francine Waters, Greg Trimmer, Bill Hard, and Barnaby Zall. A quorum was not present.

 

Approval of Minutes from September 19, 2013 Board Meeting.
A quorum was not present at this meeting. The draft minutes of the September 19, 2013 meeting could not be approved. There were only 6 board members present.

Treasurer’s Report
No treasurer’s report was available. We will a written report into the minutes.

Friends of White Flint Update from Lindsay
**FoWF Website: FoWF launched its new website at the beginning of 2013 and there have been over 10,000 unique visitors since our September meeting alone.  The problem for White Flint right now is that there is no online location with a cohesive picture of what is happening in White Flint. Chad Salganik is building an interactive development map of the White Flint district. Users will be able to click on a development area and learn more information about the site. It will also include the route of the Bus Rapid Transit and road projects. The plan is to launch the website in 2 weeks. FoWF will continue to make the sure the information is up to date. Also, FoWF has hopes to make a directory of information things that available in the area.

**Membership: Right now, FoWF has 8 property owners/developers, 10 businesses, 5 civic or community associations members. 127 individual residents joined in the past year. FoWF will continue to spread the word and engage with people.

**Events: On March 10th, FoWF will be sponsoring a White Flint Showcase and Happy Hour at Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar. This event will include displays of development projects from the various developers, remarks from County Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Hans Riemer, small appetizers, and a cash bar. This event gives FoWF a chance to provide more people with information about what is happening in the area.  These councilmembers are involved with what we are trying to accomplish here in White Flint so it is important to hear their messages.

**Mission: The mission of FoWF is twofold. FoWF advocates for successful implementation of White Flint Sector Plan. We hold the state government, local government, and private property owners accountable. FoWF educates and engages the community to make sure they know what is going on and why.

Issues on the Forefront
**FoWF is an advocate at every political level, but especially very active at the county level. The County Executive puts together a 6-year budget plan for the Capital Improvement Programs (CIP) every 2 years. The CIP was sent to County Council on January 15th, 2014, and worksessions are ongoing to look at each recommendation. There are many White Flint projects in the mix, some of them are only at their beginning stage. These projects include but are not limited to 355- Rockville Pike, District West, District East, Fire Station, and the Western Workaround. It is important for members to let the County Executive and County Council know that White Flint related projects are important by emailing.

**Urban Road Code Update: County Bill 33-13, introduced by Councilmember Berliner, will update the urban road code to incorporate the “Complete Streets” model.  This bill will provide updates to the code that has not been updated since 2007. Currently, the County Council has convened a multi-disciplinary workgroup to figure out the most productive details. The hope is that this summer, the bill will be passed.

**BRT: The Bus Rapid Transit system will have a route down Route 355 from Bethesda all the way up to Clarksburg. This is very exciting for White Flint district because it will provide infrastructure for residents to get around the county, without a car. BRT will be a full service transit network.  The County Council has approved a map of routes for the system.  Next, the county will convene a workgroup for each of these routes to determine exactly which treatment will be appropriate for each.

**Next Board Meeting: The FoWF Board of Directors is divided among the 3 groups of stakeholders that make up the organization. The board is made up of 4 residents/civic associations individuals, 4 business individuals, and 4 property business owners. The next board meeting will take place in May. The board will have 3 rotating seats that will be up at the next board meeting. More information about these positions will be announced in the next couple of months.

County Executive’s White Flint Implementation Coordinator Report
** CIP budget process: A Special Tax District was set up for the White Flint district, which will provide the county with money to pay for new infrastructure, especially roads. Although the taxing district is not bringing in the expected revenue at this time, the County Executive proposes forward-funding many CIP projects from the general fund, which would be reimbursed later.

**Western Workaround: The Western Workaround project is very important for the White Flint district. It will straighten out Executive Boulevard. The hope was that all the private property surrounding the intersection of Executive Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road would be dedicated to the county. But, the county is still working to acquire all of the required property to move this project forward.

** New White Flint Projects in CIP: The first is the relocation of the fire station to Chapman Avenue and Randolph Road. Along with the fire station, a mixed-use development is proposed with senior housing, a police sub-station, and community meeting rooms. The county is starting to acquire the land now. The other project is a new parking garage behind the North Bethesda Conference Center. The new road design with the Western Workaround will take away parking for the conference center so the county wants to create a structured parking site. The county completed a feasibility study for the garage. Eventually, the site will be mixed-use. The parking will come first and the mixed use elements of the building will come second. The plan is to design the garage/mixed-use building this summer.

** North Bethesda Community Recreational Center: The recreation center will co-locate with the Shriver Aquatic Center. This will create a much larger center component for the White Flint district. Currently, this project is in the very early planning stages.

**Chapman Avenue project: The project has been constructed in phases. The county has acquired the properties to complete the project, extending the road north to Randolph. This summer the buildings on the properties involved will be demolished. However, it will take at least a year to move all the utilities. The plan is to start construction the winter of 2014 or spring 2015.

**The County Executive is also looking at Nebel Street to create more traffic calming elements and possibly bike lanes. They hope to accommodate both pedestrians and bikers more in this area.

Lindsay discussed the need to create a street grid to make White Flint walkable. Currently, residents are limited in their road choices.  It is important to integrate new streets and to diffuse traffic onto side streets creating more options besides Rockville Pike. The Western workaround project is the most exciting project in relation to the street grid. This new design will straighten out the rectangle around Executive Boulevard, where Gables Residential will create a mixed use space and build a garage for Shriver Aquatic Center. The giant parking lot near the Aquatic Center will be pulled up, allowing Wall Park to become active green space. None of that can happen until the roads are straightened. Dee discussed that the Western Workaround will require land acquisition that was not originally part of plan.

Property Owner and Developer Updates
**Vanessa Rodriguez, Federal Realty: Pike and Rose is well underway. The project construction is on time. The first phase of shops and restaurants is on schedule to open this fall. FRIT opened the first leasing opportunity on March 1st.  There are 174 units available in the PerSei Building. They are offering tours of 2 models of the PerSei apartments currently.  In addition, La Madeleine will open again in White Flint in Pike & Rose during their phase 1 this fall.

**Brian Downie, Saul Centers: They filed their application for development last year and received their first round of responses. A public hearing was expected on April 17th.  The plan they designed now has a few minor changes that focus mostly on the new road network. The plans were presented to every single community organization in the White Flint District. Saul Centers, who owns Metro Pike Plaza and property on the east side of the Pike, wants to consolidate a curb at the intersection of Woodglen Avenue and Rockville Pike along with a few other changes.

**John Malone, Gables Residential: Gables’ project hinges on the Western Workaround.  The sketch plan was approved in April.  Gables will be building the garage that will accommodate both their property and visitors to Wall Park/Shriver Aquatic Center.  The public piece of that project, however, is not yet funded.

Issues for Discussion
**White Flint Post Office: The White Flint Post Office location has changed again. The lease the post office has with White Flint Mall expires this spring. They recently identified a location on Nicholson between Nebel Street and Parklawn Avenue. The USPS is working on negotiating with the Mall to get a lease extension because their timeline has been disrupted by the change.  A up-side of the change is that the post office will remain in the 20895 zip code.

**Second Entrance to the White Flint Metro:  There is a second entrance to Metro in the master plan, but it is not funded.

**Businesses Need in White Flint: FoWF has received many emails about bringing a bookstore to the area. Many people want this type of space that is not available in the area.

**Children’s Museum: A children’s museum is incubating in Montgomery County.  KID Museum will be geared specifically toward elementary and middle school students and will give children opportunities to develop skills needed to thrive in the 21st century, including but not limited to STEM and cultural competency.  The museum has been in the works for some time now and is looking for brick and mortar space in a variety of locations- White Flint, Twinbrook, and White Oak. The museum will include a Global kitchen, Kids Corps, outdoor garden, maker playground- media, electronics, wood. A prototype of the museum will launch in a space in the Davis Library very soon. The goal is to transition in next 2 years to a permanent space.

Items from the Floor
**Urban Road Code: A community member asked about the Urban Road Code update. He mentioned that the last update in 2007 had issues with AAA. Lindsay discussed that many things have changed since 2007. There have been spikes in pedestrian accidents, especially in urban districts.

**Woodglen Avenue: Chad Salagnik asked about the cycle track around Woodglen Avenue. Dee Metz said that the west side of Woodglen has a 2 lane for cyclists. The county wants to make sure the sidewalks are 8 ft. but utilities and posts prevent that from happening. They are looking into this issue.

**Nebel Street: Howard Feldman asked how to best to accommodate bikes and traffic calming on Nebel Street. He suggested perhaps the county should change the configuration of street lanes to include space for bike lanes and wider sidewalks.

**Executive Boulevard: A community member asked about traffic calming on Executive Boulevard.  Dee discussed that with the Western Workaround projects, people will naturally slow down. The design for the new street grid will also allow for narrowing of the street lanes, which will calm traffic.

**Safety: Another community member asked about a plan to make it safer to walk in White Flint. She feels like she is risking her life every time she walks from Metro to her apartment. She hopes that there is a plan to make the street lanes smaller and the sidewalks bigger. In addition, another community member mentioned issues with snow removal and the ability to walk around White Flint. Lindsay mentioned that the County Council is having a hearing about snow removal and pathways but the date has not been assigned yet. We need to remind people, especially business and landowners, that they need to clear the snow within 48 hours of snowfall. David Freishtat discussed that Bethesda Urban Partnership does snow removal on corners and curbs. The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee could include this in their task. White Flint does not have an Urban Partnership yet.  When White Flint has their own urban partnership, we hope they will do this, too. Lindsay discussed members’ ability to share issues such as pedestrian safety spots where they feel unsafe for practical reasons, crosswalks, paint, and lighting with FoWF.

Subcommittees
** Members and board members broke up into the 4 subcommittees listed below to begin their conversations. FoWF has created more opportunities for members get more actively engaged. FoWF is implementing 4 subcommittees for members to join. Members will have a chance to exchange ideas over email and perhaps opportunities to get together.

  • Events: Opportunities to help design events to network and build stronger community connections by involving FoWF and businesses.
  • Membership: Opportunities to create better strategies to engage as many people
  • Transit: Opportunities to advocate for road and transit projects and make sure they are going as planned.
  • Branding and marketing: Opportunities to help other groups in White Flint focus on a cohesive name or brand.

No motion to adjourn meeting. Meeting adjourned at 8:15pm.

 

County Council looks at White Flint projects

As the Montgomery County Council makes its way through the proposed Capital Improvement Programs budget, two White Flint-related projects have recently been discussed.

First, as reported in The Gazette, the White Flint fire station project is a “go.”  The 5-bay station slated for Randolph Road, near the new Chapman Avenue Extended, will include about 200 units of affordable housing for seniors. As approved, land acquisition will begin in 2015 with planning and design the following year.  The full project is expected to cost about $27.8M and the station will replace the existing facility on Rollins Avenue.  Read more here.

Second, the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment (T&E) Committee met on Monday to discuss White Flint road projects.  Committee Chair Roger Berliner, along with Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer, concurred with the County Executive’s funding request for the Western Workaround(!), White Flint East and White Flint West – all of which work to enhance our street grid and make for a more pleasant traveling experience regardless of your transportation mode.

The exciting surprise was that the committee also recommended that money be found to complete Hoya Street.  Situated to the west of Mid-Pike Plaza/Pike & Rose and expected to run from Montrose Road to Old Georgetown Road, a shard of the street has been sitting unfinished for years.  Councilmember Berliner shared this news with excitement at our event on Monday evening.  This is an important spoke in the wheel of White Flint and we hope the full Council will get behind the completion of this project.