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Dec 19 14

Montgomery Parks Hosts 11th Annual Green Matters Symposium: Protecting Our Pollinators on February 27, 2015

by Melissa Chotiner

 flyer for FacebookSILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is hosting its annual Green Matters Symposium on the topic of Protecting Our Pollinators. Staff at Brookside Gardens, an award-winning public display garden in Montgomery Parks, organize the event each year. This year, experts will discuss the importance of pollinators to the Earth’s ecosystems at the full-day symposium on Friday, February 27, 2015 at the Silver Spring Civic Center.

 

Admission is $89 before January 16 and $99 after that date. To register, visit www.ParkPASS.org and enter Course #306499.

 

In addition to conference speaker sessions, educational demonstrations will be provided by three exhibitors featuring:

  • Honey tasting
  • Native bee habitat creation and
  • Bee keeping equipment.

 

Two hashtags—#GreenMatters and #BrooksideGreen—are being used for people to share information and correspond via Twitter about the event.

 

WHO:  Horticulturists, beekeepers, homeowners, teachers, college students, gardeners and anyone interested in learning more about the importance of protecting pollinators is encouraged to attend this educational symposium.

 

WHAT: The Green Matters Symposium will bring together experts to discuss the topic of Protecting Our Pollinators. Speakers include:

 

  • Sam Droege, Head of the Bee Inventory and Monitoring Program at United States Geological Survey
  • Stanton A. Gill, Principal Agent & Regional Extension Specialist, the Nursery & Greenhouse Management at University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Alison Gillespie, Author of Hives in the City: Keeping Honeybees Alive in an Urban World
  • Timothy McMahon, President of the Montgomery County Beekeeper’s Association and an Easter Apicultural Society Master Beekeeper
  • Ari Novy, Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden
  • Krissa Skogen, Conservation Scientist Manager, Conservation and Land Management Internship Program Chicago Botanic Garden

 

WHEN: Friday, February 27, 2015, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.

 

WHERE: 
Silver Spring Civic Building
1 Veterans Place
Silver Spring, MD 20910

 

WHY: Learn why we need pollinators to survive and what you can do to help protect them. An astonishing 80% of the world’s plant species require a pollinator to reproduce: plants that not only feed and shelter us, but are absolutely essential to the Earth’s ecosystems. This relationship between flora and fauna is being challenged on all sides by habitat loss, pesticides, invasive species, and more.

 

For more information visit www.BrooksideGreen.org

 

About Green Matters

Green Matters, an annual symposium organized by Brookside Gardens since 2004, concentrates attention on the intersection of horticulture and environmental issues. Environmental stewardship is a core value of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), Brookside Gardens’ parent organization. As such, we strive to provide timely information and viable solutions to environmental challenges, because we feel strongly that green does matter.

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

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Dec 18 14

Speaker Series Event on January 14 To Examine Corridor Cities in Montgomery County

by Bridget Schwiesow

once_and_future_county_art 3
Planners discuss the challenges associated with the growth of communities near Interstate 270, including Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, and Clarksburg.

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department is hosting the third session in its Winter Speakers Series on Wednesday, January 14, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md.). The series is called “A Once and Future County: Lessons on How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County and is hosted by Royce Hanson, former chairman of the County’s Planning Board.

The January 14 session, “Trials and Errors of Corridor Cities Planning,” focuses on the planning politics and development in the Rockville-Gaithersburg area; the challenges of a new town in Germantown; and the planning and development of Clarksburg.

“Planning policy in Montgomery County directed growth to occur in four new cities built along the Interstate-270/MD 355 transportation corridor in order to preserve ‘wedges’ of low-density housing and open space,” says Hanson. “The next session will examine the past challenges of developing those new towns as well as current policies aimed at finishing the task of turning them into livable and pleasant communities.”

View the video from the December 10 Session 2 event focused on “Retrofitting the Suburbs.”

A question-and-answer session will conclude the panel discussion among the following experts:

Perry Berman is a senior associate at Scheer Partners, a Rockville, Md.-based commercial real estate firm. His past roles include serving as chief of the community planning division at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission where he worked on many of Montgomery County’s planning initiatives. He also served for five years as the in-house planning consultant for the law firm Holland & Knight. Currently, Mr. Berman also runs Elkridge, MD-based Berman Ventures, where he serves as a land-use consultant assisting property owners, developers and public-sector agencies in a variety of development, master planning and transportation issues in Montgomery, Howard and Anne Arundel counties.

Marlene Michaelson is a Senior Legislative Analyst with the Montgomery County Council, responsible for advising the Council on various land use plans and policies. She also oversees the work program and budget for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and its parks issues.  For 26 years, Ms. Michaelson has been the lead staff person advising the Council on master plans, including those involving corridor cities.  She has also represented the Council on a number of state and regional task forces and committees.  Prior to working for the Council Ms. Michaelson managed a consulting practice related to the financing of alternative energy projects for a Washington D.C., law firm.

Jennifer Russel is a principal and a team leader of the Planning Studio for Rodgers Consulting, Inc. a planning and engineering firm in Germantown Maryland. With more than 30 years of experience in the public sector, Ms. Russel has overseen land use and development review and approvals, and master planning activities in Montgomery County. She is well versed in ordinance revision, plan review, Smart Growth policies and New Urbanism. As Director of Planning and Code Administration for the City of Gaithersburg for 26 years, she was instrumental in the review, development and approval of Kentlands, one of the nation’s first neo-traditional neighborhoods, as well as its neighboring community Lakelands.

The 90-minute “Trials and Errors of Corridor Cities Planning” event is free to the public and will be streamed online live. It will be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Planning Department headquarters at 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, Md.

The next session, “Creating and Sustaining the County’s Agricultural Reserve,” will trace the 30-year effort to protect the rural landscape and the working farms of upper Montgomery County. It will be held on February 11 at the same time and place as the January event.

Learn more about the Once and Future County Speakers Series.
Use hashtag: #onceandfuturecounty

Dec 18 14

Deadline Nears for Participating in Feedback Loop on Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bethesda logo

Community urged to answer online questionnaire about concepts for buildings, transportation systems, civic spaces and focal areas for environmental best practices through December 19

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting stakeholders and residents to participate in the current online “Feedback Loop” through Friday, December 19 for the ongoing Bethesda Downtown Plan.

This online questionnaire encourages the public to offer their views on a number of concepts, ranging from bike paths to building heights, being proposed for the Plan. From this feedback, planners will be able to confirm their understanding of the community’s priorities for Downtown Bethesda.

The Feedback Loop follows a year of work on the Bethesda Downtown Plan. This effort has included multiple public meetings, outreach events and a visual preferences survey. The Feedback Loop is an opportunity to react to preliminary planning concepts proposed for the Bethesda Downtown Plan.

Particpating isquick and easy and can be done at your own convenience: from your computer, smartphone, tablet or laptop. Participate in the Bethesda Downtown Plan Feedback Loop.

This is an informal way for us to understand where there is where there is the greatest level of agreement in the community regarding the plan concepts that were recently presented to the Planning Board on December 11. View the Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts: Planning Board Briefing 12.11.14.

In addition, a public meeting will be held on Thursday, January 29, 2015 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814). At that event, planning staff will present the concepts and feedback from the December 11 Planning Board meeting and answer questions from the audience.

The plan concepts open for public comment include:

-New civic gathering spaces and green amenities
-Transportation options, including bike paths and Purple Line access
-Pedestrian networks and street extensions
-Proposed allowable building heights
-Transitional areas next to residential neighborhoods
-Focal areas of sustainability incorporating best environmental practices

After the results of the Feedback Loop, planners will complete the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan in March or April 2015. There will be a public meeting to present the Staff Draft in the first half of 2015.

Questions, comments?
Email: bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org

Dec 18 14

Planning Department Releases Scope of Work for Montgomery Village Master Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

Montgomery Village vert  logo

Report specifies boundaries, planning issues, community outreach strategies and schedule for current master planning effort in the Village

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has issued its Scope of Work for the Montgomery Village Master Plan. This plan will build upon the visioning exercises conducted by the Montgomery Village Foundation, which identified several key sites within the 2,435-acre community where redevelopment is anticipated or encouraged. The purpose of the Master Plan is to consider the future of Montgomery Village, consider potential redevelopment scenarios and prepare new zoning classifications to replace the current Town Sector Zone.

Review the Montgomery Village Master Plan Scope of Work and Plan’s major milestones

The Montgomery Village Plan Scope of Work outlines the various elements that will be key to completion of the new Master Plan, including the following:

-Physical boundaries for the Montgomery Village Master Plan:
Montgomery Village is located in the central part of Montgomery County, east of I-270 and north of Gaithersburg. The community is roughly bordered by Great Seneca Park on the west, Warfield Road on the north, Goshen Road on the east and Lost Knife Road on the south, and the planning area is contained within those boundaries.

-Background on Montgomery Village and the Montgomery Village Foundation: Montgomery Village was developed in the 1960s by the Kettler brothers, whose vision was to create attractive and desirable residential neighborhoods with a range of housing choices and plenty of green space and recreational opportunities. In 1966, the Montgomery Village Foundation (MVF) was created as a nonprofit organization whose mission was to promote the health, safety and welfare of the residents of Montgomery Village.

-Town Sector Zone and Development Plan: The development of Montgomery Village was based on “new town” principles intended to establish a level of self-sufficiency for the Village. The Town Sector Zone (T-S Zone) – was created and approved by the County Council in 1965. Land use guidance for Montgomery Village was provided by the Development Plan, which was approved with the original T-S zoning application. This plan identified the locations and densities for residential and commercial uses, road network, sites for public schools and open spaces, trails and bike paths.

-Planning framework: Montgomery Village has not been part of a master plan since 1985 and it has never been the subject of a discrete County master plan until now.

-Purpose and summary of Plan issues: The County Council directed the Planning Department to expedite work on a master plan for Montgomery Village to address potential redevelopment scenarios and to assign new zoning categories to replace the current   Town Sector zoning, which is being phased out per the new Zoning Code.

-Montgomery Village today: Montgomery Village is aging – in 2015 the planned community will be 50 years old – so this is a good time to take a comprehensive look at the future of the Village. The majority of the Village was developed between 1965 and 1980, and there has been relatively little development in recent years.

-Community outreach and Plan schedule. The Montgomery Village Master Plan officially started on October 1, 2014, and the Planning Board Draft of the Master Plan is scheduled to be transmitted to the County Council and County Executive by October 2015. Community meetings will be held on a regular basis through June 2015.

Stay involved with the planning process by attending the MV Matters series. This sequence of outreach events aims to engage the community in the Montgomery Village Master Plan. Planners have received initial feedback from residents on what they view to be essential to the future of the Village and are now prepared to discuss these issues in greater detail. All events will be held at the Watkins Mill High School cafeteria (10301 Apple Ridge Road, Gaithersburg, MD) from 7-9 p.m.  Spanish translators can be provided upon request.

Workshop #2: Monday, January 12
Workshop #3: Monday, January 26
Workshop #4: Monday, February 9

Stay Connected:
Sign up: for the Montgomery Village Master Plan eNewsletter
Call: MV Plan Hotline for updates on upcoming planning events: 301-495-4723
Learn more: www.montgomeryplanning.org/mvp
Use: #MVPlan

Dec 12 14

Celebrate the Winter Solstice; Enjoy a Hike; Visit an Extraordinary Holiday Rail Exhibit and Much More–All in Montgomery Parks this Holiday Season!

by Melissa Chotiner

Winter break camps are available for kids off from school.

 

SILVER SPRING, MD – Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCCP) has tons of activities going on in parks and at facilities this holiday season. Take time to visit and enjoy these festive offerings—many of which are free and perfect for families.

 

HOLIDAY EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:

IMG_2147FREE Garden Railway Exhibit: Sights, Sounds, Action! is up and running for the 10th year in the South Conservatory at Brookside Gardens!  The exhibit features trains and trollies as well as detailed miniature models of iconic landmarks in the region such as Germantown’s famous Cider Barrel, the Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park and the historic Red Door Store in Sandy Spring.

Open through January 11, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily (Closed on December 25)

 

FREE Annual Winter Cheer exhibit is also open at Brookside Gardens in the North Conservatory. Bold poinsettias, fireworks flowers, silver and blue plectranthus and white snapdragons are displayed throughout the exhibit among other colorful flowers. Open through January 11, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m daily. (Closed on December 25)

 

FREE 2014 Winter Ice Show at Cabin John Ice Rink features some of the most talented figure skaters in the area. The show takes place December 20 at 6:30 p.m. and features individual and group performances.

Celebrate the Winter Solstice with crafts, campfires, treats and more at three different events this season. All are $5 and suitable for adults and children ages 3 and up.

 

  • Meadowside Nature Center’s event takes place on December 20, from 7 – 8 p.m. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #301299)
  • Brookside Nature Center’s solstice celebration is on December 21 from 1 – 5 p.m. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #303150)
  • Locust Grove Nature Center’s event takes place on December 21 from 4 – 6 p.m. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #304010)

 

Winter Hike at Little Bennett Regional Park takes place December 21 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Hikers will explore the natural beauty along Little Bennett’s trails searching for local wildlife—deer, raccoons and foxes—as well as winter berries and perhaps crystal ice formations. The cost for the hike is $7. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #302449)

 

Otus’ Rockin New Year Celebration is a great way to ring in the New Year early on December 31 with kids ages 2 – 12 years old. Participants make party hats, noise makers and other crafts and celebrate the new year at Meadowside Nature Center at 12 p.m. with music, dancing, cider and a visit from Otus the Owl mascot. $5. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #301949)

 

WINTER BREAK CAMPS:

Montgomery Parks has a selection of winter break camps to keep kids busy and having fun while they are home from school.

 

Locust Grove Winter Adventure Camp: December 29 – 31 and January 2, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Campers ages 5 – 11 years old will go on scavenger hunts, build campfires, meet live animals, learn about wildlife and have fun. $232. Register at www.ParkPASS.org (Course #304049). Extended care is available for an additional fee.

 

Park Play Days at Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena: December 29 & 30 and January 2 at Cabin John Ice and at Wheaton Ice; 9 – 5 p.m. Campers ages 6 – 12 years old enjoy a full day of activities including ice skating, arts & crafts, team games and sports. $40 per day. Visit www.ParkPASS.org to register.

 

HOLIDAY OPERATING HOURS:

 

Cabin John Ice Rink and Wheaton Ice Arena:

December 24: Closing at 3 p.m.

December 25: Closed

December 31: Closing at 3 p.m.

January 1, 2015: Opening late at 12 p.m.

 

Holiday rates are in effect for all public skating sessions. Both rinks will be offering holiday specials at the Pro Shops and Snack Bars. Visit www.CabinJohnIce.com and www.WheatonIceArena.com for more information.

 

The Driving Range at South Germantown Recreational Park is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. It is closed on December 25, 2014 and January 1, 2015.

 

The Locust Grove Nature Center is only open to campers the week of December 29, 2014 – January 2, 2015.The Center is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sundays 1 – 5 p.m.

 

 

About the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

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Dec 10 14

Montgomery Parks to Host Community Meeting on Rockwood Manor Special Park Feasibility Study

by Melissa Chotiner

Meeting scheduled for Wednesday, January 14, 2015, 7 – 9 p.m. at Rockwood Manor

 

SILVER SPRING, MD—M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks will host a community meeting on the recently completed feasibility study for Rockwood Manor Special Park on Wednesday, January 14 from 7 – 9 p.m. The meeting will take place at Rockwood Manor in Brooke Hall, 11001 MacArthur Boulevard, Potomac, MD 20854.

 

Parks staff will present facility rental policy changes and findings of noise, traffic and environmental studies.  Other items to be discussed include possible future improvements to emergency vehicle access, handicap accessibility, environmental quality issues and overall visitor experience.

 

Montgomery Parks initiated the feasibility study in the spring of 2014 to address the fact that the entrance drive into Rockwood Manor is not able to accommodate emergency vehicles or two-way traffic. In addition, members of the community had been voicing concerns over noise and activity at Rockwood Manor during private events.  The study was also initiated to address these concerns and potential ways to resolve the issues.


Rockwood Manor Special Park
is a 30-acre site that features the historic Rockwood Manor House. The house served as the Girl Scout National Center from 1939 – 1979. M-NCPPC has operated the park since 1983. The manor house is available for lease as a special event center and features overnight lodging space.
For additional information please visit www.ParkProjects.org and click on Rockwood Manor Special Park under Public Meetings.
Contact:

Aaron Feldman, Project Manager
M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks
9500 Brunett Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20901
Aaron.Feldman@MontgomeryParks.org

 

About The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission Montgomery Parks

Montgomery Parks manages more than 36,000 acres of parkland, consisting of 420 parks. Montgomery Parks is a department of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), a bi-county agency established in 1927 to steward public land. The M-NCPPC has been nationally recognized for its high quality parks and recreation services and is regarded as a national model by other parks systems. www.montgomeryparks.org

 

 

 

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Dec 9 14

Montgomery County Planning Department Expands Data Base of Civic and Homeowners Associations to Strengthen Community Ties

by Bridget Schwiesow

Efforts to verify and update information on local civic and homeowners groups aim to keep residents informed about planning issues in their neighborhoods

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is refreshing and revising its roster of community and homeowners associations to improve communications with these groups and the residents they serve.

The associations are being asked to update their email addresses and other contact information through an online form on the Planning Department website.

The collected data is being entered into the Association Explorer, an interactive map tool that allows the public to search for homeowner and civic groups in Montgomery County.

Planners also use the list to publicize topics of interest to specific neighborhoods. Developers access it to let communities know about their application plans. Having the most current email addresses of the civic and homeowners associations cuts costs and ensures a better, more rapid flow of information.

Dec 9 14

Chairs of Planning Boards in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties Urge Maryland’s Governor-Elect to Support Purple Line

by Bridget Schwiesow

Purple Line
Letter to Republican Larry Hogan Outlines Economic Benefits of Light Rail Project

SILVER SPRING, MD – The two Planning Board chairs representing Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission recently sent a letter to Maryland’s Governor-elect Larry Hogan and his transition team explaining the important reasons for keeping the Purple Line on track.

The December 4 letter, sent by Casey Anderson, Chair of the Montgomery County Planning Board, and Prince George’s County Planning Board Chair Elizabeth Hewlett also outlines the economic benefits of light rail.

View the letter to Governor-elect Hogan and his transition team supporting the Purple Line

Hogan, the Republican who won November’s election, has indicated that he will announce his decision on the future of the Purple Line once he officially takes office in January.  Construction of the $2.4 billion transit system is set to begin in 2015, although the state has moved a deadline for bids to design and build the project until after Hogan takes office.

“A failure to follow through on the Purple Line after decades of technical analysis and political wrangling that have brought the project to the brink of approval would not only send exactly the wrong signal to enterprises that have made major commitments of resources to the Purple Line,” wrote Anderson and Hewlett, “but would encourage endless delay tactics as a way to block future infrastructure projects.”

Both Planning Board Chairs underscore the three decades of planning and design, and tens of millions of dollars. from the state and local governments that have already been invested in the 16-mile transit project. The federal contribution to the project is $900 million and would be reallocated to another transit project – or lost — should the state cancel the Purple Line. This federal money could not be used to fund road or bridge projects.

In their letter, Anderson and Hewlett emphasize the economic rewards of transit-oriented development. More than 80 percent of new employment growth in the DC suburbs occurs within walking distance of a Metrorail station. Recent studies, they point out, show that consumers are willing to pay more for housing in pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods near transit, and that proximity to transit also raises the value of office and retail space. The Purple Line is especially important to establishing strong ties among major business, housing and education centers by connecting Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and New Carrollton.

“We know that money for the DC suburbs is a hard sell in some other parts of the state,” the two wrote. “But as appointed officials responsible for strengthening the key assets in our counties — particularly those assets needed to be competitive within the DC metro areas for jobs and residents in the future — we urge you to support the Purple Line as beneficial to the economic health of our region and state.”

Dec 5 14

Montgomery County Planning Department Studies Cycle Track for Connecticut Avenue to Serve Purple Line Station

by Bridget Schwiesow

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photo: example of a cycle track 

Design options for bicycle-only route developed along Connecticut Avenue between Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, recently commissioned Toole Design Group of Silver Spring, MD, nationally recognized experts in bicycle planning and design, to develop conceptual designs for a “cycle track” on Connecticut Avenue between Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive. These concepts incorporate the latest research and best practices to facilitate bicycle access to the future Capital Crescent Trail, Connecticut Avenue Purple Line station and future development around the station.

Review the Connecticut Avenue Cycle Track Concepts Study.

The 2013 Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan recommends a shared-use path on the east side of Connecticut Avenue that transitions to a separate sidewalk and bike-only route in the vicinity of the Purple Line station. Separating bicycles and pedestrians in this area is important due to the substantial pedestrian activity anticipated around the Purple Line station.

What is a cycle track?
A cycle track (also known as a “separated bike lane”) is a bike facility that is physically separated and distinct from both vehicular travel lanes and sidewalks. This separation greatly increases the comfort and safety for bicyclists by separating them from both vehicular traffic and pedestrians. Cycle tracks can operate in one or two directions, and can be located at street level, sidewalk level or an area in between.

Montgomery County opened its first cycle track in November 2014 along the west side of Woodglen Drive between Nicholson and Edson Lanes in the White Flint Sector Plan area.

Learn more about bicycling planning efforts in Montgomery County on the Montgomery County Planning Department’s Bicycle webpage.

Dec 4 14

Community Invited to Participate in Feedback Loop on Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts

by Bridget Schwiesow

BDP Images_Page_3

Online questionnaire asks public to evaluate concepts for buildings, transportation systems, civic spaces and focal areas for environmental best practices.

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting stakeholders and residents to participate in the online “Feedback Loop” from December 8 through December 19 for the ongoing Bethesda Downtown Plan.

This online questionnaire encourages the public to offer views on a number of concepts, ranging from bike paths to building heights, proposed for the Plan. From this feedback, planners will be able to confirm their understanding of the community’s priorities for Downtown Bethesda.

The Bethesda Downtown Plan Feedback Loop will be available starting Monday, December 8 at www.bethesdadowntownplan.org

What is a Feedback Loop? A Feedback Loop is an opportunity for community members to engage in a productive dialogue with planners about the future being envisioned in a new plan. It provides an online venue for the planners to take the temperature of the community on concepts before they become final.

The Feedback Loop is coming after a year of work on the Bethesda Downtown Plan. This effort has included multiple public meetings, outreach events and a visual preferences survey. The Feedback Loop is an opportunity to react to preliminary planning concepts proposed for the Bethesda Downtown Plan. To learn even more about these proposed plan concepts, the public can watch the staff briefing to the Planning Board on December 11, either live or recorded.

In addition, a public meeting will be held on Thursday, January 28, 2015 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814). At that event, planning staff will present the concepts and feedback from the December 11 Planning Board meeting and answer questions from the audience.

The plan concepts open for public comment include:

  • New civic gathering spaces and green amenities
  • Transportation options, including bike paths and Purple Line access
  • Pedestrian networks and street extension
  • Proposed allowable building heights
  • Transitional areas next to residential neighborhoods
  • Focal areas of sustainability incorporating best environmental practices

After the results of the Feedback Loop, planners will complete the Staff Draft of the Bethesda Downtown Plan in March or April 2015.  There will be a public meeting to present the Staff Draft in 2015.

Feedback Loop Schedule:

  • Weigh in online at www.bethesdadowntownplan.org using the Feedback Loop online from 12/8 until 12/19.
  • Watch the staff brief the Planning Board on the Plan Concepts on 12/11
  • Attend the Drop-In session on Thursday, January 28, 2015 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814).

Check out all the details on the Bethesda Downtown Plan: www.bethesdadowntownplan.org

Watch the video recording Bethesda Downtown Plan Online Property Owners Forum held on October 29, 2014. Review a map of “Properties Under Discussion” to understand the ideas for the longer term future of Bethesda as the sector plan update proceeds. Also, review a map of “Pending and Recent Project Approvals in/and around Bethesda.” This “Development Finder” map shows projects that are recently completed or are already moving forward through our Development Review process under the current 1994 Bethesda Central Business District Plan or the 2006 Woodmont Triangle Amendment to that plan.

Questions, comments?
Email: bethesdadowntownplan@montgomeryplanning.org