2023 North Bethesda (White Flint) Biennial Monitoring Report presented to Montgomery Planning Board
October 19, 2023
Report updates plan implementation progress and development activity in North Bethesda since 2021
WHEATON, Md. – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), briefed the Montgomery County Planning Board, also part of The M-NCPPC, at its October 19 meeting on the 2023 Biennial Monitoring Report for the North Bethesda (White Flint) Sector Plan area. The report is a comprehensive update on development, infrastructure, and staging requirements, which ensure that new infrastructure is implemented with new development. The report also provides recommendations on mobility, infrastructure, and public facilities and amenities necessary to further implementation of sector plan recommendations.
This monitoring report is completed and presented to the Planning Board every two years and transmitted to the Montgomery County Council and the County Executive for review.
Combined, the 2010 North Bethesda (White Flint) Sector Plan and the 2018 North Bethesda (White Flint 2) Sector Plan encompass 430 acres surrounding Rockville Pike/MD 355 in North Bethesda between the former White Flint Mall site to the south and where Randolph Road and Montrose Parkway intersect to the north.
Key North Bethesda Monitoring Accomplishments
- The roadway realignment of Executive Boulevard, Grand Park Avenue, Old Georgetown Road, and Towne Road was completed in December 2022, creating a new street grid east and west of Rockville Pike/MD 355. Completing the Western Workaround, which creates new streets around the Bethesda North Conference Center, implements a significant sector plan recommendation.
Institute for Health Computing
- In November 2022, the County Executive announced the formation of the Institute for Health Computing at North Bethesda. The institute will leverage advances in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and clinical analytics research to create a premier learning healthcare system. The University of Maryland, Baltimore, the University of Maryland, College Park, the University of Maryland Medical System, and WMATA are included in this partnership.
Pedestrian and Bicyclist Improvements
- The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has completed the first phase of pedestrian enhancements at Rockville Pike and Old Georgetown Road, including new sidewalks and landscape buffers. The second phase, which will remove the slip lanes or ‘hot’ rights at this intersection, will be completed in 2024.
- A new protected bikeway has been installed along Towne Road between Old Georgetown and Josiah Henson Parkway. In addition, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) installed buffered bike lanes along Old Georgetown Road between Nicholson Lane and the Capital Beltway (I-495).
- A protected bikeway is anticipated later this year or in 2024 along Marinelli Road between Rockville Pike and Nebel Street.
- The approved Grand Park development, at the northwest and northeast intersection of Grand Park Avenue and Banneker Street, has dedicated approximately half an acre of open space for a portion of the sector plan’s recommended civic green. Montgomery Parks is in the process of acquiring an adjacent property for the civic green.
- The new Woodward High School is anticipated to open by summer 2026.
- No new development activities have taken place on properties recommended in the sector plan for an elementary school.
Metro Station Name
- In September 2022, the White Flint Metrorail Station was renamed the North Bethesda Metrorail Station.
2023 Biennial Monitoring Report Recommendations
The following mobility and public facilities projects are recommended to achieve further implementation of the sector plan:
- Per Phase 1 staging requirements, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) should fund streetscape and bikeways improvements for Marinelli Road and Nicholson Lane, which are within a quarter mile of the North Bethesda Metrorail Station.
- MCDOT should implement a coordinated bikeway plan for Old Georgetown Road between Towne Road and Nebel Street.
- The existing Nebel Street protected bikeway should extend to Nicholson Lane to further implement the bikeway network.
- Additional public funding must be provided for the future construction of the north entrance to the North Bethesda Metrorail Station for improved access.
Public Facilities and Amenities
- Upon future property acquisition for the civic green, Montgomery Parks should develop a facility plan to implement the civic green.