Wednesday evening I attended the Streetsense’s “Beer and Banter” event. Many Millenials, Generation Xs and even a few Baby Boomers attended the event, which was great to see. The event was focused on Millenials who live, work, and/or play in the Bethesda Sector to give them a space to express their needs and wants for the developing region. Besides the amazing free food from local restaurants offered at the event, there were many opportunities to learn more about the expansion plan for Bethesda sector and to give input on what is missing in the region and what we want to see come to area.
As a millennial who grew up in Rockville, I have spent many years shopping and eating in the Bethesda area. I have witnessed the population and economic growth of the region. What I found interesting is that many millenials I spoke with at this event did not grow up in the region and have moved here for job opportunities. The area has many attractive qualities: close proximity to public transportation, shops, restaurants, and bars, which is why so many people from all over have moved there. Bethesda is working on expanding these attractions, which will help with their economic growth. Similarly in the White Flint sector, we hope that our redevelopments will attract all kinds of people and bring positive economic growth to this region.
There were many discussions around transportation and safety issues in the region. Bethesda is full of many high-trafficked roads that are only designed for one mode of transportation, cars. Many millenials hope that these roads can be redesigned to become complete streets, giving room for cyclists and pedestrians. This issue mirrors issues faced by the White Flint sector as well. The county is working hard to create more complete streets through the sector so pedestrians and cyclists feel comfortable and safe using different forms of transportation.
Another major topic many individuals were discussing was affordable housing options for millenials. Millenials do not necessarily have a large income to spend on housing, so providing options for affordable housing is a major selling point. Providing affordable housing is also something important the White Flint sector needs to consider. One of the easiest ways to attract more millenials and young professionals to the region is to provide lower to moderately priced housing units. In addition, affordable housing will ultimately lead to more spending on other items such as amenities because the individuals have larger expendable incomes if they paying less for their housing.
This was a smart event that White Flint might consider as a way to check in with the community as build-out moves forward. What types of events would you like to see from us? Comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.