Montgomery Planning Staff Will Present Innovative Work at American Planning Association’s 2019 National Conference in San Francisco

March 8, 2019

Five department-led sessions will examine placemaking, urban resilience, Vision Zero policy, public spaces and bicycling in the suburbs during conference held from April 13 to April 16

Silver Spring, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), has been selected to present its innovative plans and projects at the American Planning Association’s national conference, to be held from April 13 through April 16, 2019 in San Francisco. Staff will lead and participate in five sessions as follows:

Access and Experiences, Not Acres – Chris McGovern of Montgomery Planning’s Information Technology and Innovation Division and landscape architect Christina Sassaki of Montgomery Parks will explain the innovative Energized Public Spaces Functional Master Plan and Park Rx Program for improving health through outdoor activities. They will show how the plan relies on data-driven analyses to consider walking access to amenities compared to the populations served. The intent is to provide a balance of public spaces for social gatherings, active recreation and contemplative relaxation.

Countywide Bicycle Plans – Riding the Momentum: In this session, Montgomery Planning’s David Anspacher, who led Montgomery County’s Bicycle Master Plan, and Peter Gray from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association will join planners from Silicon Valley to highlight their approaches to suburban bicycle planning. Making the vision a reality requires collaboration, and this session will showcase the critical role of local employers, developers, community members and advocates in contributing to the culture shift.

Enhancing Community Resilience Through Comprehensive Planning: Deputy Director Tanya Stern and her former colleagues at the DC Office of Planning will discuss the creation of new resilience policies as part of the Comprehensive Plan Amendment Cycle underway. Washington, DC has added more than 110,000 residents since its comprehensive plan was last adopted in 2006. The city also is vulnerable to natural and human-made hazards, and chronic stresses, such as access to affordable housing. Session participants will share lessons learned in combining comprehensive planning, climate adaptation, social equity and community resilience into an effective strategy.

From Parking Lots to Places: This session focuses on the power and possibilities of the collaborative placemaking process in transforming suburban parking lots and strip malls into exciting, people-oriented places. Area 2 Chief Planner Carrie Sanders and planner Atul Sharma will relate their experiences in creating memorable places in Montgomery County. Through events such as the 2018 White Flint Placemaking Festival, they will show how placemaking can be used to reinforce community identity, inspire innovation in design and planning, and improve the quality of development.

Vision Zero: Suburban Challenges, Suburban Solutions: This session will present strategies for applying Vision Zero policies to suburban communities, where traveling quickly over long distances has been prioritized in the past. David Anspacher and Jessica McVary from Montgomery Planning and Andrew Tsai from Montgomery Parks will draw on their experiences to recommend ways of improving safety and eliminating traffic fatalities and severe injuries. They will discuss implementing short-term solutions to address immediate safety concerns and long-range community improvements through the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan and the Capital Crescent Trail Crossing at Little Falls Parkway.

For more information about the sessions at the APA’s 2019 National Conference, consult the organization’s website.