You won’t want to miss this important event

We are beyond thrilled that County Executive Ike Leggett  and Council President Roger Berliner will be joining MCDOT Director Al Roshdieh to cut the ribbon on the wonderful new striped crosswalks popping up all over the Pike District.

The ribbon cutting will take place at our third Walkable Wednesday, September 27 at 6pm at the intersection of  Nicholson Lane and Executive Boulevard . These new crosswalks — and other pedestrian improvements we should be seeing soon — are a direct result of our advocacy through the Pike District Pedestrian Safety Campaign.

Please join Ike Leggett, Roger Berliner, and Al Roshdieh tomorrow at 6 pm.

WMATA terminates part of its agreement with LCOR

WMATA sent a letter to LCOR last month that stated “No conditions or circumstances exist which permit an extension of the Term for Blocks A-D under the Joint Development Agreement (with LCOR). Nor has WMATA granted any extension of the Term for Blocks A-D.”

Friends of White Flint isn’t sure yet what this means for the undeveloped part of the property around the White Flint Metro station, but we’re investigating and will keep you updated.

Click the image below or click here to read the letter from WMATA.

And if you’re interested, here is a Metro Station Area Development Letter that Councilmember Roger Berliner wrote about this issue about a year ago.

Should we measure moving people or cars?

Walking to work

In a letter to Casey Anderson,  Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, Councilmember Roger Berliner decried the county’s focus on how quickly vehicles get through an intersection leads only to wider roads and larger intersections, instead of what he described as more progressive options for decreasing commute times and getting people living closer to where they work.

Next year the County Council will take up the County’s subdivision staging policy, a policy, which among other things, focuses on the transportation tests that must be met in order for specific development projects, consistent with master plans, to move forward.

Among the suggested options for testing for traffic other than by testing levels of service and critical lane volumes. were:

  • Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT)
  • Testing Person Hours of Travel (PHT), so transportation policy goals could focus on reducing commute times for all people, regardless of the mode of travel
  • Accessibility, testing how much employment or how many residential units are a set travel time (by car, transit, bike, or foot) away from a new development to reward properties that are mixed-use and make jobs and housing more accessible

As the Pike District/White Flint area strives to become a walkable, transit-friendly community, we support this quest for alternative testing methods that would better support policy goals to move people rather than cars.  “The bottom line appears to be that if we measure the right things, we will move towards true multimodal solutions that give residents and businesses the traffic relief they need and a quality of life that we aspire to,” Councilmember Berliner wrote.



It’s all about the BID

It was all about the BID, not the bass, at Tuesday’s White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee meeting.  Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) have a wide variety of names, structures, funding mechanisms, reporting requirements, and missions, but all BIDs are connected to their local government to varying degrees and provide essential services to their area, including branding, economic development, maintenance, and community building.

Craig Howard and Stephanie Bryant of the Office of Legislative Oversight reviewed their recent report “Case Studies of Local Business and Community Districts.”  They noted that cleaning and maintenance programs are often the initial goals of a BID but the most successful ones expand into economic development and marketing organizations as well.  There is an essential planning and outreach phase during the initial formation of a BID before obtaining government approval.

The conversation soon turned to the question of how a BID in the Pike District could be funded and formed. There were more questions than answers as Committee members debated the impact of state legal requirements, charter limits, tax assessments, service delivery metrics, boundaries, differing commercial and residential assessments, and staffing.

The Committee referred to the Bethesda Urban Partnership BID which has a $3.4 million budget and thirty employees. About eighty percent of their funding comes from parking meter and fee revenue.  The Pike District has no county garages that could provide parking meter funding for their BID.

Councilmember Roger Berliner reminded everyone that he believed that decentralizing economic development is important and that BIDS can play a critical role in that. He added, ““This is an important time to have a different kind of conversation. Are people comfortable with taxing themselves for these purposes and what is the rate?”

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Are we keeping pace?

This past Saturday, hundreds of residents, government officials, and school officials discussed how to ensure that infrastructure and growth are keeping pace in Montgomery County. The purpose of the event was to inform and engage county residents about current school and transportation planning policies and procedures, and offer the opportunity for them to meet with public officials and provide feedback about their communities.

Councilmember Roger Berliner organized this one-day conference, saying “We want to make sure everybody at least has a common set of facts from which to work. We do have problems, but it’s important to make sure that everybody understands the source of them.”

Bethesda Now reported that many participants were very concerned about school overcrowding as Montgomery County’s school system grapples with recent increases of about 2,500 students a year.

Here is the  agenda for the meeting and you can read PDFs of the documents presented at the conference by scrolling to the end of this article.

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