Maryland Landscape Architect Group Recognizes Silver Spring Streetscape Standards with Second-Highest Award

October 15, 2020

Silver Spring Streetscape Standards cover
Awards panel calls the standards, approved last December, “forward-thinking and “comprehensive”

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), is pleased to announce that it recently received the Honor Award from the Maryland chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (MD ASLA) for its 2019 Silver Spring Streetscape Standards.

Each year the MD ASLA, which has a membership of 335 professional landscape architects, presents its Honor Award in recognition of excellence in landscape architecture. This year the group held their awards ceremony virtually on Thursday, October 8 and presented its second-highest award to Montgomery Planning.

In reviewing the 2019 Silver Spring Streetscape Standards submission, the awards panel called it, “forward thinking” and was impressed at its comprehensive nature.

“We are extremely proud of the innovation and creativity that went into this project. It is an honor to be recognized by our peers for our commitment to designing excellent spaces in every area of the county,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright.

“This was a big team effort,” said John Marcolin, who led the planning process. “There were a lot of really cool innovations that came from our consulting team such as more expressive paving and furnishings at major intersections.”

The Silver Spring Streetscape Standards was last updated in 1992. Planners kicked off work revising the standards in 2017 and spent the next two years working with the community along with landscape and urban design consultant, Rhodeside and Harwell, Inc. of Alexandria, VA, to update the standards.

The goal of the update was to provide guidance for public and private development in the downtown business district of one of the county’s largest urban areas.

In December 2019, the Montgomery Planning Board approved the updated standards that now reflect the latest best practices for an attractive, cohesive and safe environment with comfortable and accessible sidewalks, street trees, paving and planting details.

In addition to updating the plan to fit an evolving downtown area, planners moved away from single-species street trees and toward an urban forest concept that calls for a diverse array of native trees adapted to urban environments. Planners say diverse flora would create a healthier biosystem and better withstand disease that would decimate a monoculture street tree planting.

The Silver Spring Streetscape Standards will be used by developers in the development of streetscape associated with new development in downtown Silver Spring. Planners recently kicked off the first phase of the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities Plan to evaluate ways to improve the downtown area and surrounding community.

Visit the Silver Spring Streetscape Standards Update page to learn more, and visit  marylandasla.org to learn more about MD ASLA.