Tag White Flint Metro entrance

County Executive’s CIP Budget Released

The CIP Budget is Montgomery County’s Capital Budget. We’ve been studying the CIP budget and talking with county officials about the CIP budget since it was released a few days ago. You can read the budget details here. Below are some of the parts of the CIP that most affect the White Flint area.

One of the first things to notice about the budget is that it eliminates funds for the second White Flint metro entrance. Funding was shifted to beyond the six year period due to affordability and the intention to pursue WMATA funding,

The plan also eliminates funding for Montrose Parkway East. Costs to construct the previously approved project have been eliminated and planning funds have been added to evaluate less costly alternative options for addressing safety and congestion concerns.

The CIP includes funding for a new five bay Fire and Rescue Station in the Rockville/White Flint area and the purchase of associated apparatus. The new facility will be located on an acquired site at the south-east quadrant of Route 355 and Randolph Road, Space has been added to co-locate a future Police Substation at the fire station

The Josiah Henson Park project received funding to rehabilitate the existing Josiah Henson Park and create a heritage tourism destination. The project includes converting the historic Riley/Bolten House to a public museum; constructing a new 2.900 square foot visitor center with bus-drop off area and five-car parking lot on the former Rozier property; and new landscape sitework and outdoor interpretation that will make the park more accessible for visitors and convey its former appearance as a plantation.

Finally, funding for the Wall Park garage was pushed back, too.

Stay tuned as we delve further into the CIP and determine our advocacy plan. Please share your thoughts on the County Executive’s CIP Budget with us at info@whiteflint.org.

White Flint in the News

White Flint Mall Redevelopment

White Flint Mall redevelopment took another step forward last week.   As we’ve reported, Lord & Taylor filed for an injunction last year to halt the revelopment of the mall property.  This was denied in December and Lord & Taylor filed an appeal.  That appeal hit a snag last week when a federal judge upheld the original denial, clearing the way for White Flint Mall to proceed. According to Washington Business Journal:  “Judge Roger Titus, in a Feb. 7 ruling, said Lord & Taylor failed to show that it would ‘suffer irreparable injury’ if its request for a temporary halt to development was not granted. In addition, Titus said Lord & Taylor waited too long to request an injunction in the case.” Read the full article by clicking here.

FDA Moving Workers to White Flint

The Washington Business Journal also reports that the White Flint district can expect another 1,000 workers this summer.  The FDA will be moving a complement of its workforce into Three White Flint, the new building constructed by LCOR on Marinelli Road.  Originally constructed for the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the building has failed to fill out as projected.  It is located between the Metro Station and the Metro garage; it’s one of the most central White Flint district locations.  Four floors of the building will be used to consolidate FDA employees from other sites around Montgomery County. Read the full article by clicking here.

The timeline: Big moves, little moves

Part of an occasional series looking at how the new White Flint will come together.

The White Flint Sector Plan is made up of lots of “big moves,” like a new Rockville Pike, that will take a long time to complete. But there are also lots of smaller projects that will play a big role in the area’s evolution. Thankfully, they’ll happen much sooner.

Rockville Pike: A long time away

The most important part of the new White Flint may be a new Rockville Pike, reimagined as an urban boulevard. While the county has set aside money to redesign Rockville Pike in the CIP, work may get delayed if the County Council approves the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, which proposes a Bus Rapid Transit line down the median.

BF Saul proposes a pedestrian plaza along the west side of Rockville Pike.

The new Rockville Pike, as seen from BF Saul’s proposed Metro Pike Center project.

The plan will specify where stations should go and how wide the road will need to be, allowing planners and engineers to do more detailed design work. It’s possible that property owners along Rockville Pike will have to dedicate some land to accommodate BRT, meaning work can’t really start until the master plan is approved.

Dee Metz, the County Executive’s White Flint Implementation Coordinator, notes that White Flint is “ahead of the game” because the county is already asking landowners to dedicate land for the new Rockville Pike when they apply to build new developments. But there’s still no construction funding lined up for Rockville Pike, meaning it’ll be a while until anything happens.

Montrose Parkway: No word yet

Montgomery County has been talking about Montrose Parkway for decades, and a few years ago, the portion west of Rockville Pike actually got built. Not surprisingly, progress on the eastern part has been slow.

Montrose Parkway East

Map of the proposed route of Montrose Parkway from SHA. The section in yellow has been built and the section in purple has funding, but the portion in blue is still in design.

To save money, the county split Montrose Parkway East into two segments. Officials have already set aside $55 million to build the 1-mile section between Parklawn Drive and Veirs Mill Road, which will start construction in 2018 and finish in 2020.

Meanwhile, the State Highway Administration will spend $64 million to build the .62-mile portion between Rockville Pike and Parklawn Drive, including a new interchange at Parklawn. This section has been more controversial because of the interchange and a proposal to close Randolph Road at the train tracks, effectively cutting off White Flint from neighborhoods to the east.

The Planning Board voted to build this section while keeping Randolph open in March, but there isn’t much else happening. As of September, state highway planners were finishing design work on the parkway, but there’s no timeline for construction yet.

“I don’t see that starting anytime soon,” says Metz.

Maple Avenue: Could open by 2015

However, work could start soon on rebuilding and extending Maple Avenue, currently a dead-end street south of Randolph Road, to connect to Chapman Avenue. This is an important part of White Flint’s future street grid, creating a new connection between Marinelli Road, Randolph Road and the Montrose Crossing shopping center.

The $21 million street will include 5-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides, landscaping and street trees, streetlights, and stormwater management. In addition, the county will move utilities underground. Construction will start next summer and end by the summer of 2015.

New fire station and senior housing: In planning

As White Flint’s population grows, the area will need a new fire station. Meanwhile, an aging population will create a need for more senior housing, especially for individuals with limited incomes. Montgomery County plans to address both needs by building a  fire station with senior housing above at the southeast corner of Rockville Pike and Montrose Parkway, next to the new Maple Avenue.

That may seem like an unusual combination, but fire stations and housing have been built together before, including the Station at Potomac Yard, an affordable housing complex atop a fire station in Alexandria.  To build the two, Montgomery County will purchase land that the state of Maryland acquired to build the interchange at Rockville Pike and Montrose Parkway, but no longer needs.

Conference Center: New parking garage could open in 18 months, mixed-use development to follow

Within 18 months, Montgomery County will begin work on a parking garage behind the Bethesda North Conference Center on Marinelli Road. The garage will replace the current surface parking lot, freeing up room for buildings, since this site is not only adjacent to the Metro station, but behind the future White Flint Civic Green. County officials would like to see a mix of retail space and housing there, 30% of which would be set aside as affordable housing.

Right now, the county’s doing a feasibility study to figure out how to fit a parking garage and housing and retail space on the parking lot, part of which will get shaved off as part of the realignment of Executive Boulevard. With most of the funding already in place, Metz says construction on the parking garage could begin within the next 18 months.

New entrance at White Flint Metro: No funding

Likewise, residents will be waiting a while for a new northern entrance to the White Flint Metro station at Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road. The project, which is under WMATA’s jurisdiction, currently has no funding and no timeline for construction. Like the proposed south entrance at the Bethesda Metro station, money would probably come from Montgomery County and the state of Maryland, but it’s up to WMATA to ask for it.