By James Hedrick, Commissioner, The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission
Montgomery Parks Summer Adventure Challenge with Kids
I don’t know anything about parks.
I’m a Commissioner on the Montgomery County side of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), and I really don’t know anything about parks.
My background is in affordable housing and development – the planning side of the Commission. Most of what I know about parks is limited to about a decade of taking my kids to parks hoping that they will wear themselves out before bedtime.
Given my need to expand my knowledge of Montgomery County’s parks system, the Commission’s August recess offered a good opportunity to become more familiar with at least … Continue reading
This content was originally posted as an opinion piece by guest contributor Miti Figueredo in Greater Greater Washington on March 28, 2023 and is posted to The Third Place with permission.
Around the country, some pandemic-era changes have been widely accepted and made permanent, while others have been abandoned or scaled back. On Thursday, March 30, the Montgomery County Planning Board held a public hearing on whether to keep a half-mile road diet on Little Falls Parkway or end the closure of two lanes to car traffic that made space for walking, biking, and play.
Testing out a road diet on Little Falls Parkway
Last summer, Montgomery Parks implemented a pilot project to study whether Little Falls Parkway … 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.
Yesterday the Planning Board discussed a draft Park, Recreation and Open Space Plan (PROS Plan) that lays out a strategy to ensure access to open space for County residents:
The purpose of the 2012 PROS Plan is to estimate the future needs for park and recreation facilities and natural, historic and agricultural resource preservation and to develop specific service delivery strategies to meet future needs through the year 2022 and beyond.
This broad-ranging Plan covers traditional park and trail facilities on public and private land, but also delves into preservation and enhancement of historic, cultural, and agricultural resources.
Like the recently created Parkscore system established by the Trust for Public Land, important parts of the PROS Plan … Continue reading
A report from the Brookings Institution: restrictive (read, “exclusionary”) zoning may lead to lower test scores for kids.
“As the nation grapples with the growing gap between rich and poor and an economy increasingly reliant on formal education, public policies should address housing market regulations that prohibit all but the very affluent from enrolling their children in high-scoring public schools in order to promote individual social mobility and broader economic security.”
An analysis by US Today shows the recession accelerated trends towards urbanization.
“The shift to more urban housing development has been growing slowly during the past couple of decades and thanks to the recession and housing crash, this trend has accelerated. It is probable … Continue reading
The second half of the High Line opened this summer and even though it’s a one-off, not likely to be funded in these straightened budget times or replicated in less dense environments, it’s still intersting to think about making parks out of places that are not traditionally green.
This past weekend, the Capitol Riverfront area celebrated the grand opening of the Yards Park.
The new park is located along the Anacostia River between 3rd Street SE and the Navy Yard. It was built as a public-private partnership between the developer of the Yards, the government of the District of Columbia, and the General Services Administration. It’s managed by the Capitol Riverfront BID.
A festival marked the opening this weekend. It included bands, artists, vendors, and more. I had the opportunity to stop by, and I snapped some photos. The park is very well designed, and I can only hope it is an example of future waterfront parks in the area.
Last night, Joan Almon, Executive Director of the Alliance for Childhood, reminded us of the importance of mud puddles.
She began by outlining the importance of play (that is, undirected messing around, preferably outside). It helps children develop negotiation and social skills, and coordination between their brains and hands. They learn to wonder, concentrate, and overcome challenges.
But these days, children 6-8 years old spend only 12 percent of their time outdoors. Children 10-16 spend only 12 minutes a day in vigorous physical activity, but 10 hours a day in sedentary activities (is that an oxymoron?). You won’t be surprised to learn that they spend a whopping 53 hours a week (about 7 hours a day) with media–whether its … Continue reading
THE THIRD PLACE
In planning, the third place is the social realm separate from home and the workplace.
It provides an inclusive forum for dialogue crucial for civic engagement and community building.