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Planning Staff to brief Planning Board on recommendations of the Advancing the Pike District Project at its December 17 Meeting

December 11, 2020

advancing the pike district
This first report from the study identifies short-term solutions to advance recommendations of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.

WHEATON, MD – The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), will brief the Montgomery County Planning Board on Development Trends, Infrastructure Update and Short-Term Solutions, the first report from the Advancing the Pike District project at its December 17, 2020 meeting. The report documents the development of the Pike District in the 10 years since the adoption of the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, and identifies potential short- and-medium-term initiatives, policies and/or investments to accelerate the pace of growth and implementation of the Sector Plan’s vision.

This report is the first of a series of reports that will be a result of this project. The remaining reports will be released in spring or summer 2021. Read the full report. The comprehensive list of key findings is contained in Chapter 1 of the report.

Short Term Solutions

This report identifies a menu of potential solutions, guided by four key strategies, focused on feasible short- and medium-term adjustments to Montgomery County’s approach to investment in and activation and addition of amenities to the Pike District. The four key strategies are:

  1. Prioritize short-term physical improvements to make the area more walkable and attractive for new development.
  2. Facilitate the formation of a business improvement district (BID) that will energize the area by actively programming public spaces to support economic development, attract new businesses and manage branding, programming and maintenance.
  3. Support new development in the Pike District by streamlining regulatory review, providing clear street design standards, and coordinating upcoming infrastructure improvements with property owners.
  4. Reprioritize transportation improvements and evaluate alternative financing mechanisms to advance infrastructure implementation.

Solutions are nested within the four key strategies. A selection of the most significant potential solutions is listed below; please review Chapter 1 of the report for the complete list of solutions in their entirety.

  • Work with the Maryland State Highway Administration (MD SHA) and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) to modify Rockville Pike from Rose Avenue to Edson Lane, within the existing right-of-way, to create a safer, more accessible corridor.
  • Install temporary recreation paths and pedestrian connections such as the “Pike District Connector” between major destinations and on vacant and undeveloped sites in the Pike District to provide more space for residents to safely recreate during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
  • Establish a provisional entity in the Pike District that builds on the existing programming managed by the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center and the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee, prior to the legal formation of a BID.
  • Support transformative projects that will attract a large number of high-quality jobs and fuel a renewed cycle of development in the Pike District. Consider shortening the development review process for such projects and establishing a development task force to expedite interagency review.
  • Collaborate with WMATA to reevaluate the development approach for the White Flint Metro station’s northern entrance, such as integrating the new entrance into a future building.
  • Develop Streetscape Guidelines for the Pike District that prioritize safety for all road users through attractive landscaping, appropriate bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and flexible street designs that expand outdoor dining, parklets and recreation.
  • Evaluate alternative revenue generation mechanisms to support implementation of the Sector Plan, such as adjusting the rate and applicability of the special tax assessment, utilizing project-based tax increment financing (TIF) to finance infrastructure improvements for large sites in the Pike District, and advancing infrastructure projects to final design/engineering to be competitive for potential state/federal stimulus funding.

About Advancing the Pike District

Advancing the Pike District is a Montgomery Planning initiative to accelerate the transformation of White Flint’s core into a walkable, mixed-use district by identifying short- and medium-term implementation-focused solutions that build on the Sector Plan’s recommendations, enhance mobility, and promote economic development, urban design and placemaking. The project revisits and builds upon the recommendations from the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan, which has guided infrastructure improvements and development in the White Flint area over the past decade, with the goal of accelerating White Flint’s transformation. Other goals include:

  • Provide an up-to-date Progress Snapshot: Summarize development patterns and trends to date, identify challenges inhibiting development around the White Flint Metro Station area and highlight successful planning and development practices and lessons learned since the Sector Plan’s adoption.
  • Implement Vision Zero in White Flint’s Core: Integrate Vision Zero concepts and principles to reduce conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians and create a safe environment for all modes of transportation around the Metro Station area.
  • Position the Pike District for transformative development: Create an urban design framework and common vision that maximizes development for large sites in the Pike District.
  • Create an identity for the Pike District through Placemaking: Host a community event in coordination with the Better Block Foundation and the Pike District rebranding campaign.

View the project’s scope of work and the  March 12 presentation to the Planning Board. Watch an interview with the lead planners on the project.

For more information about Advancing the Pike District, contact Walker Freer at 301-495-4651 or by email. Sign up for the project’s eletter to stay informed.