A conversation with Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright on the newly renamed Josiah Henson Parkway
By Gwen Wright and Karen Blyton
On March 4, 2022, community members and government leaders witnessed history as street signs were installed one week after the Montgomery Planning Board approved a resolution to rename Montrose Parkway in honor of the Rev. Josiah Henson. The new Josiah Henson Parkway in North Bethesda runs through the former plantation property of Isaac Riley, where Henson was enslaved for many years before escaping to freedom in Canada. Just a few blocks south of Josiah Henson Parkway is the Josiah Henson Museum and Park, which is also part of the Riley property and is operated by Montgomery Parks.
Celebrating female planning leaders at M-NCPPC in Montgomery County
Women are an integral part of the workforce at The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). As of Fiscal Year 2021, the latest data available, women made up 50.4% of M-NCPPC employees compared to 49.6% male employees. In the same fiscal year, M-NCPPC female career employees earned about $7,266 more annually than male employees on average—nationally, women still earn just 82 cents for every dollar a man earns.
In honor of Women’s History Month, we sat down with female planning leaders at M-NCPPC. We spoke with Montgomery County Planning Board Commissioner Tina Patterson, Commissioner Carol Rubin, Montgomery Planning Director Gwen Wright, and Deputy Planning Director Tanya Stern. Find out … Continue reading
This piece was originally published on brookings.edu on February 16, 2022.
By Jesse Cohn McGowan (Transportation Planner Coordinator), Lauren Pepe (Senior Planning Associate), and Juan Jose Castro Cerdes (Senior Planning Associate), Montgomery County Planning Department
Transit has the potential to connect people to places in a sustainable, affordable manner—but only if riders can access it. Transportation planning must take into account not only where transit services are located, but how people traverse the built environment to access such services. Lower-income, majority-minority neighborhoods often lack the basic infrastructure for walking (such as sidewalks and crosswalks) and are more likely to have had their neighborhoods cut off by highways—resulting in disproportionate numbers of pedestrian crashes, injuries, and fatalities in these areas … Continue reading
When it comes to environmental resilience, it’s in there!
By Casey Anderson and Steve Findley
What does Thrive Montgomery 2050 say about the environment? To quote from an old ad for a popular brand of spaghetti sauce, “It’s in there!” From climate change to improving air and water quality, preserving habitats and improving biological diversity, managing stormwater and protecting watersheds, the environmental goals and guidance in Thrive Montgomery 2050 are woven throughout the Plan.
As outlined in our last blog post, the wedges and corridors land use pattern retained from Montgomery County’s first General Plan provides two critical components that help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create resilience: compact growth and natural resource preservation. These components are linked: the … Continue reading
Thrive Montgomery 2050 builds on the ideas laid out in the Wedges and Corridors plan to reinforce anti-sprawl policies and incorporate new insights about sustainability and development. This post explains the environmental benefits of the compact growth footprint established by the Wedges and Corridors plan and updated by Thrive Montgomery 2050 – and why any alternative path would chew up more land, cut down more trees, and undercut efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impact of climate change.
Reaffirming and updating the Wedges and Corridors commitment to compact form
The Wedges and Corridors plan laid the groundwork – no pun intended – … Continue reading
It has been quite a year and I wanted to share some of the highlights from Montgomery Planning’s accomplishments from 2021.
While the update to the county’s General Plan, known as Thrive Montgomery 2050 is working its way through the County Council process, I wanted to reflect on 2021 with the lens of the three main outcomes included in Thrive – which I think of as the “three E’s”: economic health, community equity and environmental resilience.
It’s important to note that much of what is in Thrive is not new but rather reflects how we have been evolving as a county and how we have been planning the county for the past decade. For example, the whole idea of … Continue reading
Community input sheds light on Montgomery County history
By Kacy Rohn, in collaboration with Montgomery History
Over the summer, we published a blog post seeking input on an unanswered question about an abbreviation used on Martenet & Bond’s 1865 Map of Montgomery County. The map frequently used the letter “P” following individual’s names but didn’t indicate what that meant. Without a key to the map, we considered several meanings: could it be “place,” “principal,” “plantation,” or “pump?” This was a mystery even to the original mapmaking company, S.J. Martenet & Co., whose records of the map’s production were lost in the Great Baltimore Fire of 1904.
In partnership with Montgomery History, we put out a call for suggestions and received nearly 100 submissions. … Continue reading
By Sarah Reddinger, Vice President of Community Development, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland
In September 2020, Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland was approached by the City of Takoma Park to partner on the redevelopment of a single-family home into an affordable homeownership opportunity. The home happened to be located in a zone that allowed for duplexes, which is rare in Montgomery County, so we saw this as the perfect chance to demonstrate how duplexes can fit into existing single-family neighborhoods while also driving down the cost per unit. The City assigned its Right to Purchase to Habitat and generously provided $200,000 to from its Housing Reserve Fund to help subsidize the project. And so, the Garland Ave Duplex project … Continue reading
Parks, recreation, and open space are the motherhood and apple pie of land-use planning and local government, with just about everyone agreeing on their value and appeal. But if you’ve ever been to a public meeting about a dog park or skateboard facility (or even a soccer field) you know that the consensus starts to break down when decisions are made about how parks and public spaces will be used and where the amenities to support them will be located.
Montgomery County has long been a leader in adopting forward-thinking policies to preserve land for parks, recreation, agriculture, and resource conservation. Thrive Montgomery 2050 builds on this legacy, partly by recommitting to state-of-the-practice environmental … Continue reading
During debates and testimony about the proposed Attainable Housing Strategy, multiple participants have wondered about the housing landscape following the COVID-19 pandemic and the need to allow for more housing in established single-family zones. Will people want to live in denser housing? Will we be able to satisfy our housing needs with the empty units sitting in our downtowns? Certainly the headlines from newspapers like The New York Times and The Washington Post gave that impression: “America’s biggest cities were already losing their allure;” “The Pandemic is making people reconsider city living.” These newspapers even verged on fearmongering: “Which cities are renters fleeing, and where are they going?;” “They can’t leave the Bay Area … Continue reading