What We’ve Heard

a graphic displaying the themes of what we have heard in the silver spring downtown plan's listening phase. Graphic shows icons to match the themes.

What We’re Hearing

We’ve begun engagement for the Silver Spring Downtown and Adjacent Communities plan and we’ll be sharing who we’ve heard from and what we’ve heard throughout the planning process. If you haven’t yet shared your thoughts with us, complete our online survey or sign-up for our e-letter to receive updates about events.

Updated, as of 10/15/20: We have heard hopes, concerns and thoughts about the future of Silver Spring from over 400 community members through Listening Sessions, office hours, completed our online survey or attended neighborhood meetings.  See below for frequent responses to the questions we asked.

What do people like most about Silver Spring?

  • Diversity; different cultures, kinds of people, different restaurants to enjoy
  • Variety of high-quality transit options
  • Ability to walk to vibrant services, shops and entertainment
  • Streets that are closed to cars
  • Ability to get around without a car
  • Access to parks and trails, like Sligo Creek
  • Proximity to DC and central location in the region
  • Access to performing arts and entertainment
  • Diverse, unique retail options
  • Access and inclusivity
  • Small-town feeling

What do you want to see happen in Silver Spring in the future?

  • “Save the funk”
  • Help current residents stay in Silver Spring
  • Redevelop the parking garages; seems like there is excess parking
  • Create initiatives to help people experiencing homelessness
  • Preserve the character of the residential neighborhoods
  • Preserve small businesses, especially restaurants
  • More independent, local shops and restaurants
  • Maintain the character of Fenton Village
  • More affordable housing
  • Diverse housing types that reflect the architectural character of the neighborhood
  • More trees within commercial core, preserve trees in surrounding neighborhoods
  • Improve pedestrian and bike infrastructure, continuous sidewalks, continuous bike lanes
  • Make Georgia Ave, Colesville Road, E-W Hwy more walkable
  • More connections across the railroad track and to DC
  • More pedestrian-only streets
  • Growth of the local art scene
  • More employment and jobs
  • Improve existing parks and create more parks, especially playgrounds/active recreation for kids and dog parks
  • Growth that preserves the current diversity

What is your biggest concern about the future of Silver Spring?

  • Expansion of the downtown core into surrounding neighborhoods
  • Less housing affordability in the future, as Silver Spring grows
  • Have to leave, because of increased rents and housing costs
  • Displacement of small businesses
  • Displacement of current Silver Spring residents
  • Fewer trees and more vehicles will adversely impact climate
  • Losing the small-town feel; too much congestion and noise
  • Lack of community services to support increase in residents
  • That planning team will not really include stakeholders
  • There will be too many multi-family units; hard to build community
  • The downtown will become a concrete jungle of high-rise apartment buildings
  • That open space will be traded for housing units
  • Overcrowded schools, due to development and increased density
  • Becoming Bethesda
  • More crime
  • Continued segregation of schools

This plan will be a success if…

  • Silver Spring becomes a place for all
  • It results in a strong and sustainable community
  • There is collaboration between all parties involved
  • If businesses want to locate in Silver Spring
  • It comprehensively addresses the increase in density to the benefit of the surrounding community to create an affordable place to live and work for people of all incomes
  • Affordable housing and diversity are prioritized
  • Broad range of transportation options are prioritized
  • Environmental issues like water quality, loss of trees, stormwater treatment, and improvement of natural environment are addressed
  • It addresses the impacts of climate change as addressed in Thrive 2050
  • It achieves Vision Zero; people can walk and bike safely
  • The affordable housing is concentrated only in the downtown; do not ruin the neighborhoods
  • It preserves neighborhood character
  • It preserves economic and racial diversity of residents
  • It remains walkable
  • Parks are preserved and improved
  • Small businesses are able to remain and succeed
  • The plan finds a way to make missing middle housing affordable in Silver Spring
  • Everyone is heard; ALL residents are included and valued; community input is heard; underrepresented members of our Silver Spring community feel fully engaged

We’ve also categorized all of the comments we heard during the first round of Listening Sessions:

Review all of the comments heard during the first round of Listening Sessions.

Review comments from the October Listening Sessions.

Who We’re Hearing From

Updated, as of 10/15/20: So far, over 400 Silver Spring community members have participated in Listening Sessions, office hours, completed our online survey or attended neighborhood meetings. Of those community members, 244 have shared their demographic information and engagement preferences with us. We will continue to update this page throughout the plan.






We are adapting our engagement strategy to meet engagement preferences shared by community members, as well as the current COVID-19 public health crisis. So far, we’ve learned that:

  • For future engagement events, 65% of participants prefer weekdays and 41% prefer weekends. Most participants prefer evening events.
  • For future types of engagement, most participants requested online surveys as well as more Listening Sessions.
  • Email is the best way to reach participants who completed the survey. We’ve heard from other partners that WhatsApp and Nextdoor will be helpful in reaching community members less engaged with the Planning Department.

Past Meetings and Events

  • July 13, 2020: EYA (Missing Middle research)
  • July 14, 2020: Arlington County (Missing Middle research)
  • July 27, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • August 6, 2020: Office Hours (open to public)
  • August 13, 2020: Office Hours (open to public)
  • August 27, 2020: Office Hours (open to public)
  • July 29, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • August 4, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • September 3, 2020: Fenton Village Inc.
  • September 16, 2020: Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation
  • September 21, 2020: DC Office of Planning
  • September 30, 2020: Walking Tour with South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association
  • September 23, 2020: Kellee James, founder and CEO of Mercaris
  • September 23, 2020: Seven Oaks Evanswood Citizens Association
  • September 30, 2020: Councilmember Hucker
  • October 1, 2020: Haroon Mokhtarzada, Founder of Truebill
  • October 7, 2020: Woodside Civic Association
  • October 5, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • October 8, 2020: Steve Sidel, Founder & CEO of Mindoula
  • October 15, 2020: Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
  • October 13, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • October 15, 2020: Montgomery Housing Partnership
  • October 15, 2020: Department of Health and Human Services
  • October 16, 2020: Upper Georgia Ave Main Street
  • October 16, 2020: Kit Gage, Friends of Sligo Creek
  • October 20, 2020: Shepherd Park Citizens Association
  • November 2, 2020: Harvey Maisel
  • November 4, 2020: Washington Property Company
  • November 4, 2020: Lee Development
  • November 4, 2020: Newell St. Self Storage
  • November 5, 2020: 8551 Fenton Ave Properties
  • November 10, 2020: Montgomery College students
  • November 12, 2020: Transportation Management District
  • November 13, 2020: Montgomery County Food Council
  • November 16, 2020: East Silver Spring Citizens Association
  • November 16, 2020: Progress Place/Shepherd’s Table
  • November 16, 2020: Silver Spring Village
  • November 17, 2020: 8700 Georgia Ave
  • November 18, 2020: Montgomery College, facilities planning staff
  • November 18, 2020: Silver Spring Arts and Entertainment District
  • November 18, 2020: Ethiopian Community Leaders
  • November 20, 2020: GoBrent (Missing Middle research)
  • November 24, 2020: Orion Condo Board
  • November 30, 2020: Eastern Village Co-Housing
  • December 1, 2020: GLW Planning (Missing Middle research)
  • December 3, 2020: Park Hills Civic Association
  • December 4, 2020: Listening Session with planning staff
  • December 8, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • December 8, 2020: CASA
  • December 8, 2020: Everyday Canvassing
  • December 9, 2020: Woodside Park Civic Association
  • December 10, 2020: Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce
  • December 14, 2020: Listening Session (open to public)
  • December 15, 2020: South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association
  • December 15, 2020: NAIOP (Commercial Real Estate Development Association)
  • December 17, 2020: Tower Companies
  • January 4, 2021: Downtown Silver Spring Executive Staff
  • January 11, 2021: Steve Silverman
  • January 12, 2021: Silver Spring Historical Society
  • January 12, 2021: Friends of Sligo Creek
  • January 25, 2021: Harvey Maisel, property owner
  • January 26, 2021: Ethiopian community leaders
  • February 9, 2021: Montgomery County Department of Transportation
  • February 9, 2021: Existing Conditions presentation (open to public)
  • February 16, 2021: Office of Community Partnerships
  • February 23, 2021: Arts and Entertainment District
  • February 23, 2021: Sierra Club
  • March 1, 2021: Listening Session with Restaurant Owners (open to public)
  • March 2, 2021: Montgomery County Department of Transportation
  • March 2, 2021: Listening Session with Retail Owners (open to public)
  • March 3, 2021: Listening Session with Restaurant Owners (open to public)
  • March 3, 2021: Woodside Civic Association
Last Updated: March 8, 2021