Montgomery Planning Recognized for Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan with National Award

May 4, 2020

Veirs Mill Corridor Plan Logo
National planning groups chose the plan for recommendations on improved connectivity, multimodal safety and enhanced communities along Veirs Mill Road from Wheaton to Rockville

Silver Spring, MDMontgomery Planning, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, was recently recognized with an award from the American Planning Association County Planning Division and the National Association of County Planners for their work on the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan. The plan received an Award of Merit in the Small Area Plan/Special Planning Area category for demonstrating “innovative planning principles and measures that create sustainable communities that have lasting value.”

Each year, the groups recognize outstanding planning projects in seven categories from counties around the country with two types of awards–an Award of Excellence and an Award of Merit. Montgomery Parks was also recognized this year with an Award of Excellence in the Best Practices category for their work on the Energized Public Spaces Functional Master Plan and Tool.

“Having our peers recognize us with this award highlights the meaningful, real-world impact that this plan has on supporting a walkable, transit-oriented community of the future, which will create a better, safer experience for all modes of transportation,” said Planning Director Gwen Wright.

“This plan was envisioned and supported by the Veirs Mill community, Planning Board and the County Council,” said master planning supervisor Jessica McVary. “We look forward to seeing the vision turn to reality to improve connectivity through and around this important corridor.”

The Veirs Mills Corridor Master Plan, which the Montgomery County Council unanimously approved in April 2019, presents short- and long-term recommendations for transforming the experience along Veirs Mill Road from one that is unsafe for pedestrians, bikers, transit riders and motorists into a multimodal complete street that better serves all users.

The plan drew attention from the awards committee due to planning staff and community groups’ efforts to reimagine the role of major transportation corridors in the county, such as Veirs Mill Road. The plan re-envisions Veirs Mills Road from a road centered around vehicle travel, to that of a complete street– designed, operated and maintained to provide safe accommodations for all users, including people who walk, bicycle, use transit and drive motor vehicles.

This plan further reimagines Veirs Mill Road as an integral component of the adjacent communities that safely connects residents to transit, neighborhood uses and community facilities. The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan is the first plan to be developed following Montgomery County’s adoption of the Vision Zero policy to reduce pedestrian vehicle fatalities in 2016.

About the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan

The Montgomery County Planning Department, under the guidance of the Montgomery County Planning Board and Montgomery County Council, initiated the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan in January 2017. In developing the plan, staff received feedback from the community and reviewed current land uses and existing conditions in order to make recommendations for improvements in the area.

The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan extends approximately four miles, from the City of Rockville to the Wheaton Central Business District and Vicinity Sector Plan boundary. The plan boundaries roughly correspond to a ¼-mile area around each of the bus rapid transit (BRT) stations identified in the 2013 Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan.

The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan is the first plan to be developed following Montgomery County’s adoption of Vision Zero policy in 2016.  The plan seeks to reimagine busy Veirs Mill Road as an integral component of the surrounding neighborhoods by improving connectivity and safety in the public realm. This plan advances Vision Zero through short-term and long-term strategies to improve safety for everyone, whether they travel by foot, bicycle, transit or car.

The plan’s vision, goals and recommendations are reflective of an inclusive dialogue with community residents, property owners, stakeholders and agency partners. The engagement strategies employed through the planning process were awarded the 2018 Harold Foster Award for Distinction in Community Outreach by the National Capital Area Chapter of the American Planning Association.

The feedback and community advocacy initiated through the plan’s engagement activities have led to important recommendations regarding the role of major transportation corridors, such as Veirs Mill Road, in the county as well as identified strategies to improve safety, connectivity and livability in the neighborhoods that line these corridors. If fully implemented, this plan, with its Vision Zero focus, has the potential to make safety the number one priority and serve as a model for other corridors in our county.

The plan was approved by the Montgomery County Council on April 23, 2019 and adopted by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission on June 19, 2019.

For more information, contact lead planner Jessica McVary at Jessica.McVary@montgomeryplanning.org.