One of the more interesting elements of JBG’s proposal for the second phase of its North Bethesda Market project (located where the Chili’s building is now, along Rockville Pike and the new Executive Boulevard extended) is its Eurostyle plaza, where cars and people can safely mix. Now it seems that Federal Realty plans a similar kind of advanced mobility feature for its new Mid-Pike Plaza plan.
Evan Goldman and Tommy Mann presented the Mid-Pike Plaza plan again last night at Luxmanor Elementary School.
In the northern portion of the Mid-Pike plan is their centerpiece park (apparently as-yet unnamed).
The park is in the middle of a flexible space, so that the surrounding streets can be closed off and converted for a street-festival-type atmosphere, similar to what is done in the new Reston Town Center, and planned for the new White Flint Mall festival area. He also said that the public art in this area would not only be artistic, but child-friendly, so that it would serve a dual-function as recreation while helping to beautify the area.
But last night Evan Goldman pointed out that they intended the same type of free-flowing mixed-mobility pattern for the park area that characterizes the Eurostyle plazas promoted by mobility expert Ian Lockwood. So even on “regular” non-festival days, the park area should be more lively than the pattern suggests.
When I asked about whether the road surface in this area would be friendly to the differently-abled, Evan said that the surface texture wasn’t set yet. He pledged that they would work with disabled advocates like Paul Meyer to be sure that the surface was appropriate.
One major disappointment to many was announced last night, though. Paula Bienenfeld, a Luxmanor activist, had long campaigned for Federal Realty to bring an In N Out Burger to Mid-Pike Plaza; those in the audience who had sampled that Western chain’s wares seconded the idea. Unfortunately, Evan said that he had contacted In N Out and they were “stuck in a suburban mode” and weren’t interested in a more urban setting.