Archives March 2019

Arts Magnet Program Considered for Woodward High School

From Bethesda Beat

The county school board is exploring using the former Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville for the first countywide secondary-level arts magnet program and has turned to the former chief executive of the Strathmore arts center to lead a committee studying options.

Woodward, on Old Georgetown Road, is the current home for Tilden Middle School students while their building is being remodeled and expanded.

Known as a holding school, Woodward is next scheduled to house students from Northwood High School in Silver Spring, which is slated for a $123 million expansion to begin in 2023, and students will be moved off-site during construction.

Smith said the school system will convene an “exploratory committee” to determine what the program at Woodward might look like and how it would be best implemented.

Smith said the school system will convene an “exploratory committee” to determine what the program at Woodward might look like and how it would be best implemented.

The committee will be chaired by Eliot Pfanstiehl, former chief executive officer of the Strathmore performing arts theater in North Bethesda.

Check out the design guidelines for White Flint 2

Last night, Montgomery Planning gave the public the chance to review the proposed design guidelines for White Flint 2. For those of you who couldn’t make it to the Shriver Aquatic Center, here is a summary of the guidelines and links to the actual proposed White Flint 2 Design Guidelines.

The comment period ends April 15. To provide feedback, email atul.sharma@montgomeryplanning.org or call Atul Sharma at 301-495-4658.

Click to read the entire document Parking Lots to Places: Urban Design Guidelines for Rock Spring and White Flint 2. The full document includes an introduction, vision, guidelines for Rock Spring, guidelines for White Flint 2, and community led placemaking.

I recommend you check out the actual White Flint 2 design guidelines, which include road design, streetscapes, green space, setbacks, bicycle and pedestrian paths, and more. But for those of you who lack the time or inclination, here are a few images that provide a quick overview. When you click each image, it will expand to make it easier to read.

New Limits On Parking Spaces Being Debated

Large commercial, residential buildings could be forced to cut available parking in effort to promote transit, carpools

As reported in Bethesda Beat. (Scroll to the end to read Friends of White Flint’s official position.)

A proposal that could force large commercial and residential properties in the county to have fewer parking spaces in an effort to force greater use of public transportation and get cars off the road is being questioned by business groups.

County Executive Marc Elrich is pressing for updated regulations that would require building owners countywide to have a “traffic mitigation plan” designed to get more people onto public transit or carpools by cutting the number of parking spaces for commuters. At present, five areas in the county – Bethesda, North Bethesda, Friendship Heights, Silver Spring and Shady Grove – require businesses with 25 or more employees to have the plans, which also mandate designated parking spots for carpoolers and van services. Each of the areas also sets a goal for the number of employees not driving to work, which ranges between 18 percent in Shady Grove to 46 percent for Silver Spring.

The County Council’s transportation and environment committee last week began reviewing the proposal, with council members agreeing more study and public input is needed. The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce is among the groups opposing the change that it says puts additional restrictions on developers and owners.

A separate component of the bill that would levy additional fees on all existing non-multi-family residential and commercial development was recommended by council staff. Council member Andrew Friedson, who is not on the committee but represents an area that includes Bethesda’s central business district, wrote in a memo that he was “alarmed” by the recommendation.

“This is a dramatic policy change being proposed after the public hearing on this Bill and with extremely limited, if any, opportunity for the public to consider or comment. I am especially concerned that this would amount to a new tax on residents of multi-family buildings throughout the County,” he wrote. “Dramatic policy changes such as this one should be debated publicly, transparently, and openly. In this case, I do not believe those who will be impacted by this new tax have been provided sufficient opportunity.”

Read the rest of the article here.

Friends of White Flint’s position is as follows:

Friends of White Flint is concerned that the proposed changes to the Transportation Demand Management policy decouples transportation infrastructure from mode share goals.  Transportation Demand Management works best when the public and private sectors work together.

That’s why it is essential that a commitment to implementing the key infrastructure that enables mode share is part of the Transportation Demand Management policy.  It is obvious that non-driver-auto mode share works only when the right infrastructure is in place, including BRT, Metro, Ride-On, carpooling, bike lanes, and pedestrian improvements. That is why is it vital that the TDM policy partners public transportation infrastructure with private sector mode share rather than decouples them.

Thank you Councilmembers Friedson and Glass for touring the Pike District

On a blustery Saturday, resident, business, and property owner board members from Friends of White Flint took Councilmember Andrew Friedson and Councilmember Evan Glass on a tour of the Pike District/White Flint. It was wonderful talking about ways to make our community safer for pedestrians and cyclists, more activated, and more vibrant. We discussed the importance of all sides … government, business, residents, and property owners … doing their part to create a more wonderful Pike District.

L to 5: Board members Michael Krauthamer, Sarah Crisafulli, Sheila Barton, Federal Realty Development Director Jay Brinson, Councilmember Andrew Friedson, FOWF Executive Director Amy Ginsburg, Councilmember Evan Glass, and Board member Bill Carey
From Councilmember Friedson’s Facebook Page

We’re excited to work with the County Council, County Executive’s Office, MCDOT, and SHA to move forward projects that make the Pike District the best it can be.

Olive & Loom Opens Second Boutique In North Bethesda

From Bethesda Patch

Olive & Loom, a Mediterranean-inspired lifestyle and apothecary boutique, has opened its second Maryland location in North Bethesda. Located at 11815 Grand Park Ave., the 765-square-foot store is one of the latest additions to the Pike & Rose development.

Ferzan Jaeger, a Turkish-born mother of two, founded Olive & Loom in 2016. The business curates home, lifestyle, and gift items from around the world and sells its own line of products across the U.S. and Canada. The goal: Take traditional, old-world goods and give them a fresh, modern update.

“We started our journey in 2016 inspired by the wonderful Turkish Baths/Hamam rooted in the rich history of the Ottoman Empire,” Jaeger said on the company’s website. We worked directly with independent manufacturers to commission a Modern Peshtemal; a soul-made, hand-loomed towel in current styles and colors. We completed our New Hamam experience with rich Olive Oil soap bars that are natural, moisturizing and soothing, and infused with wonderful fragrances.”

Olive & Loom is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays.

More about second White Flint metro entrance

WMATA is currently studying how they might design and build a second entrance at the White Flint metro station. Here are some slides from a presentation they made at a North Bethesda Transportation Management District meeting last week.

2010 Study

In 2010, WMATA created a station access plan with the goals of creating: 1) better access at the existing Marinelli Road station entrance, 2) two options for a new north entrance, and 3) possible alignments for a pedestrian connection.

2017 Federal Realty Study

In 2017, Federal Realty performed a study of the second entrance with the goal of reducing the capital costs of a new north entrance and phasing the implementation of a new north entry.

Current WMATA Study

In the current feasibility study, WMATA is determining the prefered alternative for the design of a second entrance, studying a phased approach, performing an engineering feasibility and constructability evaluation, and developing a cost estimate. WMATA is also studying the pedestrian crossings at Old Georgetown and Route 355 to see if and how an access tunnel should be built.

Sweetgreen Opens at Pike & Rose Today

Sweetgreen, a fast-casual restaurant that serves various types of salads, is opening this Monday, 3/18 in Pike & Rose, according to a sign on the door.

The restaurant chain has seen a fairly rapid expansion since opening their first location just 11 years ago.

They currently have almost 100 stores nationwide and the new Pike & Rose location will be the third in Montgomery County (Bethesda and Silver Spring locations).

Make sure to bring your credit card– Sweetgreen doesn’t accept cash.

Read more at the MoCo Show.

Western Workaround Work Update

Construction activities anticipated for the two weeks beginning March 10, 2019. For additional information on the White Flint Project please visit http://www.whiteflintproject.com

The utility infrastructure relocation and construction which began in August 2018 will finish by the end of winter 2019.

Verizon telecommunications infrastructure construction located in the northbound right lanes of Executive Boulevard prior to Old Georgetown Road has been completed with only punch list items remaining-the contractor will return at a later date.

PEPCO electrical construction related to the MNCPPC Aquatic Center property north of the Marinelli Road entrance should end as scheduled on or about March 15, 2019.

Washington Gas infrastructure upgrades in and along Old Georgetown Road both in the main line and at the intersection with Executive Boulevard being completed by National Pipe Line (NPL) continue and will expand to include operations on Executive Boulevard just north of the intersection with Old Georgetown Road.

Construction continues on Towne Road behind the Pike & Rose complex. Until further notice, no parking is permitted on either side of Towne Road. Violators will be subject to citations and violators impeding the construction will be towed. In addition, please pay attention to any temporary closure(s), look for steel roadway plates, expect probable driving delays, and look for possible pedestrian detours as the contractor conducts field operations between Montrose Parkway and the end of the cul-de-sac of Towne Road as well as the southbound right lane of Old Georgetown Road south of the Executive Boulevard intersection.

Construction operations taking place in the right-of-way area at the northwest corner of Executive Boulevard and Old Georgetown Road will expand across Executive Boulevard just north of the intersection with Old Georgetown Road. In addition, nighttime construction operations will begin on or about March 17, 2019 and will include multiple lane closures on Old Georgetown Road and Executive Boulevard. During the next two weeks, construction operations include but are not limited to: continued equipment mobilization and staging, material delivery and staging, roadway saw cutting, trench and other excavation, conduit placement and backfilling, structure placement, and hot mix asphalt pavement placement.

Please note that these will be active work zones so be sure to look for the orange warning signs and flaggers! This initial round of utility relocation and construction has a scheduled duration of three months.

WF2 Design Guidelines Open Houses

Montgomery Planning will hold open houses on March 26 and 28 to present design guidelines for the Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Plans. Planners will present draft recommendations for the design of buildings, streets and public spaces at two meeting locations for community feedback.

Planners will hold the White Flint 2 Sector Plan Design Guidelines open house on Tuesday, March 26 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center (5900 Executive Boulevard, Rockville, MD). They will follow that event with the Rock Spring Master Plan Design Guidelines open house on Thursday, March 28 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. at the Davis Library (6400 Democracy Boulevard, Bethesda, MD).

RSVP for the March 26 and March 28 open houses.

Read the Draft Guidelines by clicking here.

The Rock Spring and White Flint 2 Sector Plan Design Guidelines aim to ensure that new building projects fit into the character of each area and provide stakeholders with a consistent starting point for reviewing proposed developments. They allow for flexibility in interpreting the standards and proposing creative alternatives to the guidelines that still meet their intent.

One set of design guidelines was developed for both Rock Spring and White Flint 2 since these planning areas are about 1.5 miles apart and share similar challenges and opportunities. At the open houses, planners will discuss how the guidelines affect each area with specific examples drawn from the separate communities.

The design guidelines for these areas aim to: 1) Promote the conversion of single-use areas into mixed-use places. 2) Integrate mobility alternatives with a focus on pedestrian and bike connections to amenities and destinations. 3) Design buildings, public spaces and streets for pedestrian interest and comfort. 4) Encourage the use of new school prototypes that employ adaptive reuse, colocation and multi-level designs. 5) Complement urban development with easily accessible, high quality public and private parks and open spaces. 6) Apply sustainable design practices to protect natural resources and improve the health of residents in the plan areas.

The White Flint 2 Sector Plan promotes the transformation of parking lots into places and single-use shopping centers into mixed-use communities along Rockville Pike (MD 355). It recommends integrating new residential and non-residential uses into the Executive Boulevard office park and promoting mixed-use neighborhood centers at the Loehmann’s Plaza and Randolph Hills Shopping Centers. The County Council approved the plan in December 2017.

The Rock Spring Master Plan envisions 535 acres, now mostly used as an office park, as an employment center that could offer new housing and retail. New development is envisioned along a proposed central circulation spine, which could provide a future transitway for buses and safe routes for pedestrians, bicyclists and cars. The Montgomery County Council approved the plan in November 2017.

Questions, comments?   Contact the Lead Planner:

Atul Sharma Atul.Sharma@montgomeryplanning.org 301-495-4658