November Meetings Around White Flint

  • The November meeting of the White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee is cancelled. 

 

  • The November 11th meeting of the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee has been rescheduled to November 18, at 8:00 am. The meeting will take place at the Bethesda North Conference Center. The meetings are free and open to the public.

 

Below you will find updates from Dee Metz (White Flint Implementation Coordinator) on Woodglen Drive and Old Georgetown Road and Ken Hartman (Regional Services Director) on the Downtown Advisory Committee activities.  These come via the Planning Department’s update email:

“Woodglen Drive

The Woodglen Drive cycle track is anticipated to be fully operational over the next several weeks.  Additional pavement markings will be installed during November, including bicycle logos, green thermoplastic panels at conflict areas, and the bike box at Nicholson Lane and Woodglen Drive. The traffic signs, bicycle route signs, bicycle detection pucks and flexposts are scheduled for installation in early November, and the new handicap ramp construction work and new crosswalk installation at Nicholson and Woodglen is scheduled sometime during the latter part of November.  Thanks for your patience as this project progresses.

Old Georgetown Road

Montgomery County DOT and the State Highway Administration have begun discussions of a possible road transfer to enable us to make the segment of Old Georgetown Road, between Rockville Pike (MD 355) and the new intersection at Hoya/Towne Road, a County road rather than a State road, which would give us greater flexibility in narrowing that segment of the roadway.  The current design of that segment is on hold, pending what the County Executive expects to be a successful outcome to allow construction of the cross section that is the ultimate design in the Sector Plan. The State still has final say over the design of the intersection and the lane configuration coming into the intersection, but we are working closely with them to convince them of our vision.  It should be noted that the funding in the CIP only covers the reconstruction of Old Georgetown Road  from the new intersection at Hoya/Towne Road to relocated Executive Blvd (Grand Park Avenue), and not the block from Grand Park Avenue to MD 355.

White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee

Ken Hartman has received bids for landscaping portions of the Rockville Pike median and next will seek SHA approval for the types of species to be planted. He is hopeful that some landscaping work will begin by the first week in December.

The Downtown Committee is continuing to work on the website and has a target date for a soft launch by Thanksgiving.  VisitMontgomery is partnering on its development.

We are also talking to consultants about a streetscape plan for White Flint.  The streetscape plan, which needs to be adopted by MCDOT, will attempt to knit together the various neighborhoods and provide some sense of unity of place to the district.”

 

Updates from the October Implementation Committee Meeting

Here are the updates from the White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee meeting from Tuesday, October 14th:

1)   Updates

  1. North Bethesda Market II and Gables Residential White Flint went to the development review committee about 2 weeks ago.
  2. As mentioned before, the Western Workaround has been broken up into 2 phases. Right now, Phase I of the Western Workaround is on hold.

2)   Discussion of Western Workaround

  1. Nkosi Yearwood mentioned that the County Council introduced an amendment on Tuesday, the 14th, for the Old Georgetown Road segment between Grand Park Avenue and Towne Road for the CIP. The discussion around the amendment will take place in January 2015.
  2. For the past month, many have expressed concerns that the design of the Western Workaround segment and that it is not consistent with what was discussed in the Sector Plan. David Frieshtat asked the committee to endorse the segment as written in the Sector Plan, as it is time for this part of the community to raise their voices. It is important to know that Old Georgetown Road is a state road so SHA will make the final decision on the plan for anything related to Old Georgetown Road.
  3. Bruce Johnston mentioned that MCDOT had a traffic study done of the WF sector. White Flint Partnership created another traffic study. The studies started with using very different land use assumptions, which is why the numbers that each study found varied some. The study done by the WF partnership makes use of every road in the WF Sector, while the MCDOT’s study did not. They have submitted both studies to SHA and now they are waiting on the comments from the SHA. Federal Realty did a local study of Old Georgetown Road.
  4. Bruce Johnston says the design is at 30% design, so the current design includes 2 eastbound lanes, 2 westbound lanes, and 2 turning lanes, one on each side. According to Bruce, if a pedestrian were to walk across Old Georgetown Road at the crosswalk within this segment, they would cross 6 lanes but if one were to walk in the middle of the road/block, they would cross 8 lanes. But down by the intersection of Old Georgetown Road and Grand Park Avenue, it will be 7 lanes. As the Hoya Street extension was added to the CIP FY2015-2020, it will be designed according to state standards.  Bike lanes will be included and the hope is to connect Montrose Parkway and will continue all the way to Towne Road, which will hopefully take traffic off Old Georgetown.
  5. The plan for the segment between Grand Park Avenue and Towne Road was always in the Sector Plan but the funding was not. It became funded during the last CIP budget designation, which became effective on July 1st.
  6. The design for the segment is not set in stone, so MCDOT is open to changes, especially with what was introduced by the county council last week. Ultimately the design is up to SHA, as they have the decision power. The SHA controls Old Georgetown Road but it is up to the county to fund any projects or changes to the road. The county is working with the state to agree on a mutually beneficial plan, which will be based on all the studies and reports completed on the area. Right now, the area is forward funded, which means money is being taken away from other projects that could be funded now. MCDOT hopes to have the design done by the end of this fiscal year. The construction will take place in different phases because traffic will still need to flow through the area so the construction cannot be done all at once.
  7. The county wants to push towards having some sort of bike facility whether that will be a bike lane, a shared-use path, or something else.
  8. Brian Downie focused on the need for a united front when we bring the design to the state. It will take the county (MCDOT, County Council), the Planning Board, the Implementation Committee, and community members coming together to show that the new design is important for the change we want to create in the White Flint sector. In addition, a committee member mentioned it is necessary for the county to bring a complete application/design to the state, which means that the county has completed all the necessary studies and reports and analyzed them sufficiently.
  9. Brian Downie also mentioned that creating the street grid or network is the most important part of the change for the White Flint sector, so all stakeholders in the changes need to remember this.
  10. David Frieshtat made a recommendation that we engage the Planning Board/Planning Chair to make sure what is implemented in the White Flint sector is what was put forth in the Sector Plan.

3)   Downtown Advisory Committee Update from Ken Hartman

  1. They hope to launch the website for the White Flint sector by Thanksgiving. It will include a directory of restaurants, employers, and businesses in the area as well as social networking connections with a newsfeed and Twitter updates. The leading domain right now is MetroWhiteFlint.org but the final decision on the domain has not been made yet. Alongside the branding discussion of the sector, they will make the necessary adjustments with the name when the final decision is made about the brand. They want to launch the website as soon as possible to start engaging the economic development of the region and promoting what already exists.
  2. In addition, they are working on the beautification plan for Rockville Pike. This plan includes landscaping for green spaces along the Pike as well as flower planting.
  3. Furthermore, they are working on the streetscape plan for the White Flint Sector. They want to develop a plan to incorporate different types of features that can be used by developers when they design the facades of their buildings. Each developer may want to use varying features so they want to make a comprehensive plan that will include many features.

4)   White Flint Implementation Coordinator report from Dee Metz

  1. The Woodglen Drive cycle track is coming along nicely and is in the middle of construction. The weather has postponed the pavement marking but this week the flex posts, green striping, and bike detecting devices will be put up. They hope to be done with the cycle track construction by the end of the month.
  2. The county is working on the site plan amendment for the parking garage for the North Bethesda Conference Center.
  3. Gables Residential White Flint is trying to move forward with their plan. The county is doing completing a study right now to see if it is possible to close part of Executive Boulevard and detouring the traffic elsewhere. The county and Gables continue to have productive meetings with SHA and VOB. They hope to get advanced funding for the plan with the possibility of early dedication of the land. The state is cooperating now and trying to work towards the creation of a plan, however it is a very complex issue.
  4. The county is working with the state on the fire station property with the senior housing co-located in the building. They hope to have the plan finalized by the end of the year. The county is working on the issues with the utilities along Chapman Avenue extension, where the fire station will be located (north of Old Georgetown Road). The hope is to have road construction started by Spring 2015.
  5. The Nebel Street bike facilities are still in the study phase.

5)   Update from Cindy Gibson, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Roger Berliner

  1. Councilmember Berliner is working on a possible interim use of Wall Park before the development occurs. They want to create a productive use for the park that will include low cost alternatives and will activate the park in the short term. The interim use will not affect the long-term use of the park. The county council seems open to the idea of an interim use.

October White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee Meeting

White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee

Date: Tuesday, October 14, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m.

Where: Wall Local Park/ Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center

5900 Executive Boulevard, N. Bethesda, MD

 

The agenda for the meeting includes:

  1. Introductions
  2. Updates
    1. Development Activity
    2. White Flint Downtown Committee
  3. White Flint Implementation Coordinator Report (Dee Metz)
    1. Western Workaround

 

The White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee is a body appointed by the Planning Board in 2010 to:

  • Review assumptions made regarding traffic, including transit use and parking
  • Monitor plan recommendations
  • Identify new projects for the amenity fund
  • Monitor the county Capital Improvement Program and Growth Policy
  • Recommend action by the Planning Board and County Council

They are scheduled to meet the second Monday evening of every month but please confirm that the meeting will occur before venturing out as some months are skipped/canceled. All meetings are open to the public.

September Meetings Around White Flint

The September meeting for the White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee is cancelled.

Here are some updates on issues in the White Flint sector:

  • JBG has submitted the Sketch Plan, Site Plan, and Preliminary Plan Amendments for North Bethesda Market II.
  • Gables Residential has submitted the Preliminary and Site Plans for the Gables White Flint.

o   Both of these projects are going to the Development Review Committee (DRC) on September 29.

Meetings This Week:

  • The Branding of the Pike conversation is on Thursday, September 11th, 6 p.m. at StreetSense in Bethesda. Additional information is available here.
  • The White Flint Downtown Committee will meet on Tuesday, September 9, 8 a.m., at the Bethesda North Conference Center.

 

July White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee Meeting

White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee

Date: Monday, July 14, 2014 @ 7:00pm-8:30pm

Where: Federal Realty Investment Trust Headquarters, 1626 E. Jefferson Street Rockville, MD 20852

The agenda for the meeting includes:

1. Introductions

2. Updates

a. Development Activity

b. White Flint Downtown Committee

3. WF Implementation Coordinator Report

4. Presentation: NoBe II Amendment

5. Presentation: Gables White Flint

6. Next Meeting: August 11, 2014

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.

June Meetings for County White Flint Advisory Committees

Next week, county advisory committees will meet to discuss White Flint redevelopment:

White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee

Date: Monday, June 9, 2014 @ 7:00pm-8:30pm

Where: Federal Realty Investment Trust Headquarters, 1626 E. Jefferson Street Rockville, MD 20852

The agenda for the meeting includes:

  1. Introductions
  2. Updates
    1. Development Activity
    2. White Flint Downtown Committee (Francine Waters)
  1. WF Implementation Coordinator Report  (Dee Metz)
  2. North Bethesda Gateway-Lake Waverly/Foulger Pratt Presentation

 

White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee

Date: Tuesday, June 10th at 8am

Where: Bethesda North Conference Center, Cabin John Board Room

The agenda will include a presentation and discussion on naming and branding of the District.

 

All meetings are open to the public so we hope to see you there but, if you can’t make it, we’ll make sure to post highlights on our blog!

Updates from May White Flint Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee Meeting

Nkosi Yearwood began the committee meeting by discussing updates on the various development projects:

  • Saul Centers’ White Flint sketch plan was approved April 17th by the Planning board.
  • North Bethesda Gateway development is moving forward after the sketch plan was amended last year. The preliminary site plan was amended 3 weeks ago and will be coming to the Planning Board in the near future.
  • Gables Residential– White Flint will be presenting their site plan at a public meeting tonight, Thursday May 15th at Wall Local Park/Shriver Aquatic Center. This project is moving forward as well.
  • North Bethesda Market II- JBG met with the Planning Board and is amending their sketch plan and preliminary site plan.  JBG has decided to keep the multi-family building but change the office building. Hopefully, they will be submitting the amendments to the Planning Board this fall.
  • A plan for Hillery Way – a road behind the former Addie’s building, near the Crest of Wickford residences – has been designed to add 6-8 townhouses.  This is a small project but the preliminary site plan was given to the Planning Board, with more to follow.
  • At Pike & Rose, an amendment for Phase I was approved to provide clean-up of the construction of Buildings 10-12 and streetscape changes. In addition, the Building 13 plan was amended to include changing the corner appearance by adding a façade.
  • Public projects- North Bethesda Conference Center and Parking Garage plan design was approved for money under the CIP budget.

Next, Ken Hartman, Director of B-CC Regional Services, provided updates from the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee. The White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee advises on services provided in the White Flint area that include, pedestrian safety programs, homelessness programs, public safety coordination, and the weekender cleaning team. The committee hopes to build services to eventually set-up an urban district, which can provide maintenance of urban space. Many individuals worked on completing the TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant application to get a share of the grant money provided by the Federal Government to complete a study on the BRT system. The Downtown committee is also focused on the Nebel Street plan to provide bike improvements. The committee hopes to hold joint meetings with the Sector Plan Implementation Advisory Committee to focus on common interests both committees have.

On the marketing side of development, they are working on the Metro White Flint destination website that will provide information on where to shop, eat, and live in the White Flint district and further information on development projects and economic development of the area, as well as a newsfeed option to access information from social media websites.

The committee, along with the Regional Services Center, hopes to work towards achievables. Right now, they have a goal to work on decreasing the speed of Rockville Pike by using strategies such as beautifying the streetscape on the Pike to slow down traffic and provide more open space and parks. One of the locations with a possible site to create a park is the Water Tower. Right now, there is $20,000 allotted to changing the street-scape of Rockville Pike but the committee is asking the Montgomery County Council to provide an extra $75,000 for marketing, the weekender team and for the street-scape plan. The committee hopes to have the street-scape done this summer.

The County Council has a funding reconciliation list of projects the council wants to fund but may not be covered under the budget currently. On May 15th, the council will decide on what projects will be funded under this reconciliation budget. Right now, the street-scape plan ask is being supported by Councilmember Roger Berliner. The budget resolution will be finalized on May 21st, which is when the funded projects will be announced. Another project the committee is working on is the need to create a unified White Flint zip code and unified White Flint district name. Stay tuned for more information on this.

Francine Waters then provided the committee with an update on the TIGER Grant program. The TIGER Grant is program run by the Federal government that provides funding for transportation projects or studies in communities and localities. The grant can be used for either planning or for construction. MCDOT together with the State of Maryland, Maryland State Highway, and Montgomery County Council of Governments agreed to apply for a preliminary engineering planning study of the BRT system on Rockville Pike. The 95 page application asked for $3 million dollars, as Montgomery County has never received more than $3 million for planning from the TIGER Grant in the past. The grant has received support from varying organizations and individuals throughout Montgomery County including Friends of White Flint, Congressmen Chris Van Hollen, and NIH. The Department of Transportation will not make their decision on the recipients of the grant until September so Francine is asking individuals or groups that are in support of the grant for Montgomery County to show their support by writing a letter of recommendation.

County White Flint Implementation Coordinator Dee Metz then provided her report for the Committee. Two other projects on the budget reconciliation list include the Hoya Street extension all the way through to Montrose Parkway and the planning submission for the North Bethesda Conference Center garage. For the garage project, the feasibility study has been completed. In addition, we know that the Maryland Stadium Authority will design the garage and are currently looking for contractors. They will put out a request for expressions of interest and then an RFP. They hope to find one contractor for both the garage and the street outside of the conference center. They hope to have bids by the end of Summer 2014.

Also, Nebel Street traffic calming plans were discussed. MCDOT provides grants for traffic calming developments and the Planning Department hopes to receive grant money for Nebel Street developments between Nicholson Lane and Randolph Road. They want to spread the grant money among various strategies along Nebel Street including the use of curbs and biking facilities along the street. In addition, they are looking at a cycle track demonstration for the White Flint district as well. One problem they are currently looking at is what to do at intersections for biking facilities.

White Flint Meetings Next Week

White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee

When: Monday, May 12th at 7:00 pm

Where: Wall Local Park/Shriver Aquatic Center Multi-Purpose Room

The White Flint Implementation Advisory Committee is a body appointed by the Planning Board in 2010 to:

  • Review assumptions made regarding traffic, including transit use and parking
  • Monitor plan recommendations
  • Identify new projects for the amenity fund
  • Monitor the county Capital Improvement Program and Growth Policy
  • Recommend action by the Planning Board and County Council 

The agenda for this meeting includes updates on current development activity, a report from the White Flint Downtown Committee on the Tiger Grant and other items, and a report from WF Implementation Coordinator on the CIP budget and other items. As a reminder, all meetings are open to the public.

Also – the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee will meet on Tuesday, May 13th, at 8am at the Bethesda North Conference Center in the Cabin John Room.  No agenda items are available yet but stay tuned here for updates!