Archives February 2011

Draft Letter to City of Rockville on Pike Plans

Friends of White Flint uses an open public comment process on its policy positions. At its February 16 Board of Directors meeting, the FoWF Board decided to send a letter to the City of Rockville encouraging the City to make its portion of Rockville Pike compatible with the White Flint section.

Background:

The City of Rockville began to plan its renovation of Rockville Pike several years before the White Flint Sector Plan was finished. Rockville hired the same engineering and design firm that Friends of White Flint used to plan its renovations, but the outcome was different. Rockville is planning on having its transit vehicles operate in the outside lanes of the Pike, while Friends of White Flint is looking for a center median transitway.

Center Median Transitway Plan

The FoWF letter explains our position, the advantages we see in a center median transitway, and asks Rockville to consider the intersection between the two areas.

You can find a copy of the draft letter here: Draft Letter to City of Rockville

Comments are welcome on this letter, or on the Friends of White Flint policy position.

All comments must be RECEIVED by 5PM, Friday, March 4, 2011. You can send comments to bzall@friendsofwhiteflint.org, or you may post them as comments here. All comments will be read and considered, but given the quick turnaround time, individual replies should not be expected.

Thank you for your participation.

Barnaby Zall

Friends of White Flint Annual and Board Meetings

Friends of White Flint held both its 2011 Annual Meeting and most recent Board of Directors meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16.

The Annual Meeting was essentially a recap of 2010. The summary is: At the end of 2010, Friends of White Flint was “stable, secure and effective.” Membership is stable, finances are secure, and the organization’s advocacy and public outreach efforts were effective. The draft minutes (subject to revision) are here: Draft 2011 Annual Meeting Minutes. Comments on the minutes are welcome.

2-16-11 FoWF Board Meeting

The Board Meeting included a series of discussions about White Flint implementation questions (the City of Rockville’s plan for Rockville Pike, community amenities, and Bus Rapid Transit), and Friends’ future plans (upcoming spring White Flint Town Hall meeting on BRT, and possibly a fall charette on community benefits and amenities). The draft minutes (subject to revision) are here: 2-16-11 Board Minutes. Comments are welcome.

The Board also discussed the future of FoWF web sites and the FLOG – the Friends of White Flint blog. While much public comment on the web sites was positive, people wanted to see more interaction with social media (Facebook) and links so current news appears throughout the FoWF’s several sites, rather than just on the FLOG.

Barnaby Zall

Changes Coming to the FLOG

At its Feb. 16 meeting, the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors approved changes in the FLOG. Almost all of these will be “behind-the-scenes,” and what readers see will remain largely the same.

But the FLOG will be “migrating” to a higher version of its underlying program software, including more security, and additional features. The change is driven in part by the FLOG’s dramatic expansion in readership over the last two years. The FLOG registered more than 504,000 “page views” in 2010, making it one of the most widely-read local blogs in Maryland, but also attracting pressure by spammers on the technology behind the blog. We hope to be able to re-open public registration once again after additional security measures are implemented; you can still register by sending me an e-mail: bzall@friendsofwhiteflint.org.

Unfortunately, the shift may also cause some slow-downs in posting (as in the last two weeks), and some other problems. Please bear with us through this up-grade, and thank you for your participation and support.

Barnaby Zall

Reminder: Friends of White Flint Board Meeting Wednesday, 2-16 6PM

Just a reminder: the Annual Meeting of the Friends of White Flint will be held on Wednesday, February 16 at 6PM at the offices of Federal Realty, 1626 E. Jefferson, Rockville 20852 (behind Congressional Plaza). The Annual Meeting should take only a few minutes, including the announcement of the results of the 2011 Board elections.

Friends of White Flint Board Meeting

Immediately following the Annual Meeting, the FoWF Board of Directors will hold an important meeting, with a very full agenda. Several topics will be discussed, including updates on projects in White Flint, various issues in implementing the White Flint Sector Plan (such as the County’s infrastructure investment, public amenities, the new “sketch plan” process and the three “sketch plans” just approved), and a major discussion on the new Rockville Pike. The Rockville Pike discussion will not start before 7PM to accommodate our late-arriving residents. We will also discuss FoWF’s new web plans and adopt some organizational plans and budget.

Both meetings are open to the public, and you are welcome to attend and participate. Most meetings include substantial participation from public attendees.

A draft agenda is here: Draft FoWF 2-16 Agenda. The Board may alter this agenda before or during the meeting.

If you have any questions or comments, please let me know.

Barnaby Zall
Co-Chair
Friends of White Flint
P.O. Box 2222
White Flint Station
Kensington, MD 20891-2222
301-231-6943 (direct dial)
www.whiteflint.org

Want to Know About the New White Flint? Look Here

For much of the five-year-long effort to develop the White Flint Sector Plan, the Montgomery Planning staff’s www.whiteflintplanning.org web page was a “go-to” resource. It got a little dusty when most of the action moved from the Planning Board to the Montgomery County Council, but it’s back now, and has some wonderful information available on the laws, regulations, codes, and specific plans governing the new White Flint.

And the staff has promised to keep the page updated with information on specific projects and progress (though some funding issues may keep that from happening). The three pending “sketch plans” – North Bethesda Market Phase Two, Mid-Pike Plaza, and North Bethesda Gateway – are fully linked.

Take a look.

Barnaby Zall

Next Meeting of the White Flint Implementation Committee

The next meeting of the new White Flint Implementation Committee will be held at the Montgomery Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd. (across from the Conference Center) at 7PM on Monday, February 14 (Valentine’s Day).

Please note that this is a half-hour before the usual meeting time, in order to accomodate a very full agenda. The MAC multipurpose room, where the meeting will be held, is just inside the front doors and does not require paying the pool admission fee.

White Flint Implementation Committee meeting on Jan 10, 2011

Topics will include three of the hottest topics in White Flint implementation: schools, Rockville Pike, and when and where various “community amenities” (like the recreation/community center and library) will go. The circulated agenda includes these substantive topics:

  •       I.            Committee Vacancy (Nkosi Yearwood, from the Planning Staff)

  •       II.            Review of Sketch Plans

  • a.     Public Facilities and Amenities (David Freishtat and Dan Hoffman – Co-Chairs of the WFIC)

  •     III.            White Flint CIPs (Diane Schwartz-Jones, Executive Assistant to County Executive)

  •   IV.            City of Rockville MD 355 Corridor Plan (David Levy, City of Rockville)

  •   V.      Schools Update –WJ Cluster (Bruce Crispell, MCPS)  

Meetings are public. The Planning staff puts information from the WFIC meetings on the White Flint planning web page (scroll down a bit).

Barnaby Zall

Upcoming Meetings in February

White Flint Implementation Committee, Feb. 14 

The next meeting of the White Flint Implementation Committee will be held on Monday, February 14 (yes, Valentine’s Day), at 7:30PM. Site has not been announced. The topic will be schools.

Friends of White Flint Board Meeting, Feb. 16

The next meeting of the Friends of White Flint Board of Directors will be held on Wednesday, February 16, at 6PM, at the offices of Federal Realty Investment Trust, 1626 E. Jefferson, Rockville 20852. FoWF Board meetings are open to the public, and all attendees are encouraged to participate actively.

Friends of White Flint Board Meeting

There will be two main topics discussed at this meeting: 

From 6-7PM, the Board will discuss several administrative and program topics, including FoWF’s 2011 budget and plans. FoWF’s web presence is one of the largest community news site in Maryland — with almost 50,000 “page views” a month — and, as a result, has attracted some security issues (“spammers” and similar web attacks). We are taking this as an opportunity to upgrade and improve our Web presence, now that the White Flint Sector Plan has been adopted. At this meeting, we will discuss the upcoming Web and FLOG redesign and hosting. Leader: Barnaby Zall, with a report from Chad Salganik.

From 7-8PM, we will have an update and discussion of current implementation issues, including progress on various projects already in the construction or planning process. We will also have a discussion of Rockville Pike Redesign, including reports on upcoming City of Rockville Pike hearings on updating the City’s Pike design through Rockville. Leaders: Evan Goldman, Greg Trimmer.

You are welcome to attend and participate. Feel free to share this notice with others in your community or organization.

Barnaby Zall