Plans for central Montgomery County are now being realized through urban-style, mixed-use developments
In central Montgomery County, vibrant parks, walkable streets, centers of activity and new buildings are arriving in areas that were once a sea of asphalt. The movement began with the 24-acre Pike & Rose district that replaced the 1960s Mid-Pike Plaza at Old Georgetown Road and Rockville Pike.
Opening in 2014, this ambitious project led by Federal Realty is one of the first developments in the nation to transform a strip center into a vibrant community. It is planned to have more than 1,500 housing units, with 864 already built, and 12.5 percent of the units will be moderately priced dwelling units.
Pike & Rose is … Continue reading
First session of Winter Speaker Session focuses on infill possibilities as land becomes scarce for conventional developments.
Here is a question to discuss over your next dinner party: where can Montgomery County fit an additional 87,100 households?
Our county, like many jurisdictions across the nation, has a housing problem. Demand for homes is persistent and space for new dwellings is limited, forcing families to consider too many tradeoffs, such as paying higher housing costs or selecting homes in communities far from their employment.
The good news is that there are solutions to this problem that can be applied in Montgomery County, as revealed in the first session of the Planning Department’s Winter Speaker Series on the Economic Future … Continue reading
The Planning Department’s Research and Special Projects Division undertakes cutting-edge studies to influence important decisions about the county
Our plans rely on accurate data about demographics, housing, commercial real estate and the economy to inform recommendations and decisions about land use. This information is carefully gathered by a dedicated group within the Planning Department – the eight staff members of our Research and Special Projects Division – who help us get ahead of the planning curve with their ongoing investigations.
We like to call this division “the think tank for the county” because it provides a wealth of intelligence for the County Council and various government agencies. Currently, the research staff is hard at work on several important studies … Continue reading
Changes in work patterns and population growth are leading to new types of schools
Walking past 8000 Jones Branch Drive in Tysons Corner, it is easy to assume that offices occupy this regular, three-story building. Entering its light filled atrium, however, does not reveal a corporate lobby or water cooler talk, but a gathering space where hundreds of chattering students dart between classes and engage in extracurricular activities. Welcome to Basis Independent School, a new type of center for learning.
Basis Independent is a private K-12 school that sits within the 120,000 square feet of this former Tysons Corner office building. This renovation project was designed by the DC architecture firm Perkins Eastman with Gilbane as the design-build partner. … Continue reading
Planning Department’s annual awards will be announced on October 19
The Montgomery County Planning Department is finalizing preparations for its third annual Design Excellence Award celebration on October 19, 2017 at the Silver Spring Civic Building. This event will be held from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. in conjunction with the American Institute of Architects Potomac Valley Chapter’s design awards program.
This year, the Planning Department will recognize two top awards, one for excellence in architecture and urban design, and a second for great spaces and landscapes. More than 25 exceptional works of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design completed in Montgomery County over the past decade have been submitted for review in September 2017 by another outstanding independent jury … Continue reading
More housing choices are needed to bridge affordability gaps and transition between commercial and residential areas
Until I was 10 years old, I lived on a block where there were single-family homes, a house split into two apartments and a small quadruplex apartment building. It was a very close-knit neighborhood with frequent visits to the neighbors. My best friend lived – with his mom, dad and baby sister – in one of the apartments in the house and I befriended an elderly couple who lived in one of the quadruplex apartments. In fact, I still have a beautiful china tea cup that they gave me.
It used to be that there were housing choices other than what we usually … Continue reading
Small but extremely destructive bugs from Asia are causing major disruptions to our tree canopy.
In 2016, the Montgomery County Department of Parks started removing potentially hazardous ash trees from parkland owned by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. These trees had to be cut down because they were infected by an exotic, invasive insect known as the emerald ash borer.
The larvae from this metallic-green beetle can quickly bore into an ash tree, feed on its inner bark and kill it in one to three years, so the dead tree becomes dangerous to people and property. Insecticide treatments cannot save the tree, so the best strategy is to remove it and get rid of the infected wood.
… Continue reading
These requests were just a few of the comments captured by a graphic artist during the second community meeting for the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan. Community residents and stakeholders were invited to the March 29 session to brainstorm the opportunities and constraints within neighborhoods along Veirs Mill Road, from Wheaton to Rockville.
Separated into small groups, the participants discussed the positive and negative aspects of their neighborhoods. They cited the need for future improvements, ranging from bus shelters to improved maintenance of sidewalks and roads.
Representatives from each group then shared highlights of their discussions with the larger audience. As they spoke, their feedback was recorded in words and pictures by graphic artist Lucinda Levine of Crowley … Continue reading
Transit-served locations, less parking and affordability in urban centers are behind the successful recycling of offices into residences and other uses
Walking past the Octave 1320 on Fenwick Lane in Downtown Silver Spring, it is hard to imagine that not too long ago, this glimmering, 102- unit condominium housed vacant offices and a greasy spoon eatery in its basement. The transformation of the 10-story building, developed by Promark Real Estate Services of Rockville and designed by Washington, DC-based BKV Group, is impressive and likely to become the norm rather than the exception in Montgomery County’s urban centers. Several factors are influencing such conversions of aging office structures to other uses:
Our downtowns are mostly built up with high density … Continue reading
Will they make urban communities more livable or extinct?
As you read this blog, a nondescript Toyota Prius is logging mile after mile on highways across California. And while it looks and travels like any other car, this vehicle is without a driver.
The autonomous Prius represents the relentless pursuit by researchers and corporations to realize the dream of self-driving cars. Google has clocked upwards of 1.5 million self-driven car miles. The 2017 Detroit auto show focused on test drives of self-driven vehicles and introduced the VW autonomous minivan of the future. It is only a matter of time before driverless vehicles become ready for mass adoption.
As is the case with most new technologies, various claims are being … Continue reading