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Apr 23 15

Updated Westbard Sector Plan Presented at April 22 Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Westbard Logo
County planners discuss transportation, schools and environment.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, held a community meeting on April 22 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Walt Whitman High School to present the latest refinements to the Westbard Sector Plan, which was last revised in 1982. The Sector Plan is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area. Its recommendations aim to enhance the experiences of people who live in the Westbard area by providing for more choices of retail and housing, new parks and open spaces, and greater environmental sustainability.

At the April 22 meeting, planners focused on issues related to transportation, noting that recent traffic studies show no failing intersections and no need for road widening in the area. Staff’s recommendations include curb cut consolidation along River Road to minimize traffic stresses and improve safety. They also call for creating a new road connecting Westbard Avenue and River Road, and cycle tracks on those streets, along with upgraded sidewalks for pedestrians.

In addition, possible options for additional public school facilities serving the Westbard area and improvements to environmental quality were addressed at the session. Converting the Willett Branch from a concrete storm drain into a green community amenity was recommended, along with increasing the number of open spaces in the Westbard area. A central civic green proposed near Giant Food would provide a place for community gatherings and events.

Review the April 22 presentation.

Since the PlanWestbard charrette, a weeklong brainstorming session held in November 2014, planners have been revising the Sector Plan to address community concerns. Refinements include lower heights for new buildings, more open spaces and bike paths, and placemaking strategies that relate to Westbard’s rich history. The vision for the Sector Plan now concentrates on smaller scale buildings, appropriate density, diversity of housing, mixed uses, affordability and community amenities.

Feedback from the April 22 meeting will be incorporated into the Westbard Concept Framework Plan, which will be presented to the Montgomery County Planning Board on April 30, 2015 for review and approval.

Learn more about the Westbard Sector Plan.

Apr 23 15

Bicycle Master Plan Previewed on April 20 at Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus

by Bridget Schwiesow

Bike Collage

Initial planning effort focuses on the area surrounding the future Corridor Cities Transitway.

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), hosted a community meeting on Monday, April 20 from 7-9 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus to kick off an update to the Bicycle Master Plan, particularly as it relates to the planned Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit line extending from Shady Grove to Clarksburg.

At the meeting, County planners explained that they will be focusing on the areas surrounding the future Corridor Cities Transitway over the next few months to ensure the latest thinking in bicycle planning is reflected in the many projects now underway in the area. The goal is to develop a regional bikeway network plan for the Great Seneca Science Corridor area to maximize the coordination, connectivity and effectiveness among the various transportation modes.

The Master Plan will recommend ways of providing access by bike to Phase 1 of the Corridor Cities Transitway, extending from the Shady Grove Metrorail Station to Metropolitan Grove. This planning work will be coordinated with the Life Science Center Loop and future development applications reviewed by the Montgomery County Planning Board.

The Life Sciences Center Loop is being proposed as a shared-use path, following recommendations in the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan. A critical piece of the non-auto transportation and recreation infrastructure, the LSC Loop connects the districts and destinations within the Life Sciences Center to each other and to the surrounding communities. A design is being created for the LSC Loop that will elevate the facility from a simple asphalt path to a distinctive placemaking feature that encourages non-auto commuting and healthy exercise, and helps provide connections to the Corridor Cities Transitway stations within the LSC.

At the April 20 meeting, planners discussed the methods being used to develop and evaluate different types of bikeways being considered for the Bicycle Master Plan. Part of this effort involves gaining a better understanding of cyclists’ needs by studying the stresses imposed on cyclists by motorized traffic on road segments, intersection approaches and intersections. To do this, planners are using an analytic tool set forth in a 2012 report from San Jose State University’s Mineta Transportation Institute that analyzes the causes of these stresses, including higher volume and higher speed traffic, frequent parking turnover and bicyclists’ experiences in crossing major roads at intersections.

An initial analysis of the Life Sciences Center Area found that for cyclists who can tolerate high stress, the entire road network, minus the interstates, is available to them. The bicycling network for low and very low stress-tolerating groups, however, is more limited and disjointed, and includes residential streets and higher volumes streets with separated bikeways. These low stress-tolerating groups account for about 60 percent of the County’s population and would be unlikely to bicycle to many of the planned CCT stations without a network of separated bikeways, so planners are looking into ways of creating such a system.

Starting July 1, 2015, the comprehensive update to the Bikeways Master Plan will be launched for the entire County. The planning process will provide ample opportunities for the community to get involved and offer feedback. Check out the Bicycle Planning web page to learn more.

For more information about the Bicycle Master Plan, contact:

David Anspacher
Functional Planning and Policy Division
Montgomery County Planning Department
david.anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
tel. 301-495-2191

Learn more about Bicycle Planning in Montgomery County.

Apr 16 15

County Planning Board Supports New Maryland Law on Designating Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority Areas

by Bridget Schwiesow

GovHoganBPPA

Governor Larry Hogan signs bill requiring timely confirmation by State Highway Administration of areas needing improved bicyclist and pedestrian safety and access.

SILVER SPRING, MD –The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, helped to initiate a new Maryland law requiring the State Highway Administration to act within one year on local designations of Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas. Work on the newly enacted law began with a collaborative effort among County Transportation Planner Larry Cole, Maryland House Delegate Alfred Carr, Jr. and Kelly Blynn of the DC regional Coalition for Smarter Growth.

Maryland Senator James Rosapepe introduced the bill on February 6, 2015 and, on February 12, 2105, the Planning Board voted to support it. The final Senate Bill 371 was signed by Governor Larry Hogan on April 14, 2015: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2015RS/bills/sb/sb0371T.pdf

The designation of Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas is intended to ensure that the needs of bicyclists and pedestrians are taken into account during all phases of transportation planning, design, construction or expansion.  The aim is to provide for greater safety and access through bike lanes, paths, sidewalks, crosswalks and other physical road improvements and traffic control devices. Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas have become an integral part of Montgomery County’s recent Master Plans, developed by the Planning Department to promote multi-modal transportation in the more densely developed areas of the County.

The passage of the bill is timely as Planning staff is currently updating the Master Plan of Bikeways, which has not been done for more than a decade and is being renamed as the Bicycle Master Plan. This planning effort will initially focus on developing a high-quality bicycle network that facilitates access to stations planned in the Great Seneca Science Corridor area of the Corridor Cities Transitway, a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line proposed to run from the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg to the Shady Grove Metrorail Station. The first public meeting introducing the Bicycle Master Plan will be held on April 20 from 7-9 p.m. at the Academic and Research Building of the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus (9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850).

The White Flint Sector Plan area in North Bethesda was confirmed by the State Highway Administration (SHA) as a Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Area in 2011 and is currently the only one  in the State of Maryland. More than two dozen other areas in Montgomery County, such as the Silver Spring and Bethesda Central Business Districts and the areas around Metrorail and Corridor Cities Transitway stations, are now awaiting SHA approval. The Planning Department looks forward to working with the SHA on the plan of improvements for each of these Bicycle-Pedestrian Priority Areas after confirmation of the designations.

Apr 16 15

Newest Concepts for Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Presented at April 29 Community Meeting

by Bridget Schwiesow

Brand Only
Residents and business owners invited to provide feedback on planning framework.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a community meeting to discuss the concepts for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on Wednesday, April 29, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Recreation Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD).

RSVP for the April 29 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Community Meeting.

Since the last public meeting on January 21, staff has been refining the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan to reflect community feedback about specific areas and will present those changes as well as a recap of the planning process at the April 29 event. Improved pedestrian and cyclist paths, changes to zoning and density, and affordable housing will be discussed. Participants will have the opportunity to comment on the plan concepts before they are presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, May 7.

Learn more about the latest developments in the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on our website. Please check out the site for additional details and the meeting agenda.

Apr 13 15

Bicycle Master Plan Preview Kicks Off With April 20 Meeting at JHU Montgomery County Campus

by Bridget Schwiesow

bike_masterplan
Community invited to learn about the upcoming Bicycle Master Plan beginning with a special focus on the Corridor Cities Transitway station areas.

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is hosting a community meeting on Monday, April 20 from 7-9 p.m. at the Johns Hopkins Montgomery County Campus (9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850; Academic and Research Building, Room 106-110) to kick off the update to the Bicycle Master Plan as it relates to the planned Corridor Cities Transitway.

At the April 20 meeting, planners will present their approach to the plan, milestones of the process and provide opportunities to give feedback and engage in person and online. RSVPs are encouraged but not required.

RSVP today for the April 20 meeting.

Planners will work from April 2015 until July 1, 2015 on developing a high-quality bicycle network that facilitates access to the planned Corridor Cities Transitway stations from the surrounding communities and ensures coordination and compatibility with the Life Science Center Loop, an off-road trail currently under design by the Planning Department. The goal is to develop a regional bicycle network plan for the Greater Seneca Science Corridor area to maximize the effectiveness of transportation systems currently being planned, and to coordinate these efforts with the City of Rockville and City of Gaithersburg.

Review a map of the Montgomery County Bicycle Master Plan CCT Phase 1 Corridor special focus area.

Starting July 1, 2015, the comprehensive update to the Bikeways Master Plan will be launched to consider the County’s complete bicycle networks and recommendations for access and mobility. The planning process will provide ample opportunities for the community to get involved and offer feedback. Check out the Bicycle Planning web page to learn more.

FAQs:
What is the Bicycle Master Plan all about? Why do we need to revise it?
The goal is to develop a high quality, low stress bicycling network in Montgomery County. The Bicycle Master Plan, first created in 1978, has been subsequently revised in area master plans with the last comprehensive update to the Bicycle Master Plan completed in 2005.

The newest changes to the Plan will focus on the Greater Seneca Science Corridor because development is poised to happen soon in that area. By planning for a high quality bike network now, a higher quality of life will be an option for the Montgomery County community. The Bicycle Master Plan aims to make bicycling a viable option for everyone in the County.

What is the Corridor Cities Transitway? How does it relate to bicycling?
The Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) is a 15-mile bus rapid transit (BRT) line operating from the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg to the Shady Grove Metrorail Station. The first phase of the project is 9 miles from Metropolitan Grove to Shady Grove, and is currently proceeding with engineering and environmental analysis. The second phase would extend from Metropolitan Grove to the COMSAT facility, and will be developed as land uses mature and additional transportation funding becomes available.

The CCT project will provide transit service to communities such as King Farm, Crown Farm and Kentlands; and institutional hubs, including the Life Sciences Center and Universities at Shady Grove. The transitway will connect to the District of Columbia and other regional destinations by way of the MARC Brunswick Line at Metropolitan Grove and the Metrorail Red Line at Shady Grove. A high quality bike network can get more people to the transitway stations, allowing for greater mobility. 

What is the duration of the planning process?
The update to the Bicycle Master Plan is scheduled to be completed by September 2017. Review the full schedule for this plan:

March 31, 2015

Council Review of Work Program
July 1, 2015 Start Work
September 2015 Planning Board Approves Scope of Work
March 2016 Methodology Report to Planning Board
November 2016 Staff Draft
February 2017 Planning Board Work Sessions
April 2017 Planning Board Draft
September 2017 Council Approval

What will be the final product?
A Bicycle Master Plan will be the final product that will look at the network of bikeways and locations for bicycle storage. It will serve as a guide to facility planning studies and the development approval process.

How can I get involved?
Attend meetings, talk to staff, send us your comments. Contact:

David Anspacher
Functional Planning and Policy Division
david.anspacher@montgomeryplanning.org
301-495-2191

Learn more about Bicycle Planning in Montgomery County.

Apr 13 15

Montgomery Parks Issues Request for Proposals to Find a Tenant for the Historic Darby Store

by Melissa Chotiner

Mandatory pre-bid meeting will take place Tuesday, April 21 at 10 a.m.

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has just issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to select a tenant for the Darby Store, located in the Beallsville Historic District at 19801 Darnestown Road, Beallsville, MD 20839. Montgomery Parks is seeking a tenant to reinvigorate the building while keeping in mind its historic character.

 

A mandatory Pre-Bid Meeting will take place on April 21, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. at Owens Local Park Activity Building, 19900 Beallsville Road, Beallsville, MD, 20932.  Parks staff will discuss the RFP process, outline conditions for use of the historic site and answer questions. The Darby Store will be open directly following the meeting for interested parties to inspect. All potential tenants must attend the pre-bid meeting.

 

Interested parties may download the Darby Store Leasing RFP (#P35-127). The application deadline is June 8, 2015.

darby.store.front

About the Darby Store
The Darby Store is significant as one of the few existing examples of a rural, vernacular general store in Montgomery County. The Darby Store was important to the community as it supplied area farmers and residents for over 50 years selling a variety of goods, feed, and groceries.

 

For questions about the RFP or to obtain a copy, please contact Jana.Harris@MNCPPC.org. For general information about the Darby Store and the proposal please contact Julie Mueller at Julie.Mueller@MontgomeryParks.org or by phone at 301-650-4390.

 

 

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

 

 

Accessibility

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities. Contact us a minimum of five business days in advance of the program start date or public meeting date to request a disability accommodation. CONTACT INFO HERE.

 

 

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Apr 13 15

Montgomery Parks Hosts Free Family Festival to Celebrate Better-Than-Ever Black Hill Visitor Center

by Melissa Chotiner

Ribbon cutting and celebration to take place April 18, 2015, 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. featuring tons of fun, educational activities, games and more.

SILVER SPRING, MD—Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) invites the public to a free family-friendly festival at the Black Hill Visitor Center on April 18 from 12:00 – 3:00 p.m. The Black Hill Visitor Center is located in Black Hill Regional Park, 20926 Lake Ridge Drive, Boyds, MD 20841. The event celebrates a variety additions and updates made to the center including:

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  • A new Kids Corner featuring natural and recycled toys, puppets, children’s books, bio-facts (real animal skins, bones, etc.), art materials, board games, puzzles and more! The corner activities will change with the seasons.

 

  • Revamped displays including the center’s new milk snake, Woodstock

 

  • The first Earth Bench in Maryland made from old plastic bottles, plastic bags, harvested invasive plants and other natural materials found in our park, then made beautiful with a glass mosaic mural.

 

In addition to the new amenities at the visitor center, a new water trail – the first in Montgomery County will open to the public at the event. A naturalist will lead participants in kayaks and/or canoes on tours of the trail which explores the Cabin Branch section of Little Seneca Lake.

 

The event begins at noon. There will be ongoing games and activities taking place in the Outdoor classroom as well as the following scheduled activities:

 

1:00 p.m.                      Ribbon cutting

 

 

1:00-2:00 p.m.            Wild Encounters with Elmore Brown*: See and touch live frogs, toads, lizards and snakes from all over the world!

 

 

1:30-2:30 p.m.            Natural Yogis: Frog and the Great Metamorphosis*: Free nature-themed yoga class with Child Light instructor Lanie Lile for 2-5 year olds and their parent/s.

 

2-3pm                         Naturalist-led Water Trail Tour: Free canoe and kayak rentals while supplies last. Please sign up inside the Visitor Center, and meet at the kayak shack.First-come, first-served.  

 

*Advance registration required for these activities.  For more information, please visit our website.

 

For more information about the Black Hill Nature Programs please visit www.BlackHillNature.org or call 301-528-3492.


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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Apr 7 15

Montgomery Parks History in the Parks Season Opens April 10 – 12, 2015 with a Host of Free, Educational Activities and Tours

by Melissa Chotiner

Season opening kicks off Friday, April 10, with Special Guided Night Hike of the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor.

 

SILVER SPRING, MDMontgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) starts the History in the Parks season with opening weekend celebrations April 10 – 12, 2015. Special events and tours are scheduled all weekend long at several of the parks signature historic sites.

Montgomery magazine photo 2

Join trained “conductors” on Friday night, April 10 at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park for a special night hike on the Underground Experience Trail.

 

“We are always excited about Opening Weekend. It’s a great way to get an introduction to a life-long lesson in culture, community and connections,” said Shirl Spicer, Museum Manager for Montgomery Parks. “We hope that these events serve as a starting point to engage people in the important history that is accessible right here in Montgomery County.”

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Join Montgomery Parks on Sunday, April 12 from 1 – 4 at the season opening of Kingsley Schoolhouse, a late 19th century one-room school house in Little Bennett Regional Park.

 

The weekend events are part of Montgomery Parks’ History in the Parks programming and include:

  • Friday, April 10: Special Night Hike of the Underground Railroad Experience Trail at Woodlawn Manor (7 PM | $5 pp)
  • Saturday, April 11: Tours and African Dance Workshop, “Celebration of African Rhythms through Dance & Song” (Starting at 12 PM | Free)
  • Sunday, April 12: Free events located at Josiah Henson Park, Harper Cabin, and Kingsley Schoolhouse

 

Historical education in Montgomery County continues to be an important vehicle for understanding the past to build the foundation for a future. With the facilities officially opening, county residents and visitors can explore their heritage throughout the seasons. Operating months are April through November. Please visit HistoryInTheParks.org to get event details and site information. Group/school tours or volunteer opportunities are also available.

 

 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

 

Apr 6 15

Community Meeting on April 22 Will Address Newest Concepts for Westbard Sector Plan

by Bridget Schwiesow

 

Westbard Logo

Community Meeting on April 22 Will Address Newest Concepts for Westbard Sector Plan
Residents and business owners invited to provide feedback on planning framework.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a community meeting to discuss concepts for the Westbard Sector Plan on Wednesday, April 22, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Walt Whitman High School cafeteria (7100 Whittier Blvd., Bethesda, MD). Anyone who lives and works in the area or has an interest in the future of the Westbard community is invited to attend this event.

RSVP for the Westbard Plan Concepts Community Meeting.

The updated Sector Plan seeks to transform part of Westbard from an area focused on older commercial centers and light industrial uses into a more pedestrian-friendly town center that preserves the local services on which the community depends. At the April 22 session, planners will present the newest plan concepts and provide an opportunity for attendees to comment and ask questions. This meeting will serve as a valuable “feedback loop” for planners before they present the Westbard Concept Framework Plan to the Planning Board on April 30, 2015.

The meeting will provide stakeholders with an opportunity to review the evolving development of the plan concepts since the November 2014 charrette, when planners met with state and local agencies, citizen associations, business owners and residents from the Westbard area. Feedback from the weeklong workshops helped to shape preliminary ideas for building density and heights, public facilities, transportation improvements, parks and open space as well as environmental recommendations.

History of Westbard Planning:
The 1982 Westbard Sector Plan is now being updated at the direction of the Montgomery County Council to keep pace with the times and changes in the area. Some of that plan’s recommendations were never realized, including design concepts aimed at improving the public realm, such as:

-Implementing streetscape improvements on River Road and side streets.
-Providing gateway features into Westbard.
-Improving the existing Willett Branch stream valley that runs through the Sector Plan area.
-Creating an urban park at the corner of Westbard Avenue and Ridgefield Road.
-Creating a major commercial/retail development on Westbard Avenue.
-Improving environmental features of the Westwood Shopping Center.

Some of these ideas are being addressed in the updated Westbard Sector Plan and will be discussed at the April 22 meeting.

Apr 6 15

Planners Will Present Newest Concepts for Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan at Community Meeting on April 29

by Bridget Schwiesow

Brand Only
Residents and business owners invited to provide feedback on planning framework.

SILVER SPRING, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will hold a community meeting to discuss the concepts for the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on Wednesday, April 29, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Recreation Center (2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD).

RSVP for the April 29 Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan Community Meeting.

Since the last public meeting on January 21, staff has been refining the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan to reflect community feedback about specific areas and will present those changes as well as a recap of the planning process at the April 29 event. Participants will have the opportunity to comment and make suggestions about the proposals before the plan concepts are presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, May 7.

Learn more about the latest developments in the Greater Lyttonsville Sector Plan on our website.