Montgomery Hills: The Forgotten Space In-Between

Montgomery Hills has an identity crisis. To be honest, it has a lot of other problems more important than an identity crisis; but it is perhaps because of its utter lack of place that it has been in a 50-year spiral of decline.

Wait – Montgomery where, you ask?  That is exactly the problem.  Montgomery Hills is the retail/commercial corridor that runs along Georgia Ave in Silver Spring, north of 16th Street until the Beltway.  It is surrounded by some of Montgomery County’s neighborhood jewels: Woodside Forest, Woodside Park, North Woodside, Woodside, Linden; and Forest Glen.  And while it is home to some of the most beloved Silver Spring institutions such as Snider’s Super Foods, the Woodside Deli, Goldberg’s bagels, and Jalal’s (formerly Natale’s) Barbershop, it is far better known as a place to drive through on the way to somewhere else, then a destination.  And it is no wonder. More cars, busses, and trucks move through this stretch of Georgia Ave than any other non-interstate road in the County.  “Move” is relative.  Mostly traffic crawls. Traffic planners have assigned failing or near failing grades for almost every intersection for both existing conditions and for anticipated future traffic growth.  And traffic collides.  Rear-end, sideswipe, left-turn, angle, pedestrian, and truck-related crashes occur at rate significantly higher than statewide average for those crash types on similar roads.  Which means that the road is unsafe not only for those driving, but for anyone who trys to walk or bike.

It is a rare sight to see pedestrians walking to any of the businesses or to the Forest Glen Metro which is less than ¼ mile away.  Given the proximity to both the Forest Glen and Silver Spring Metro Stations, it is even more surprising that Montgomery Hills is such a blighted community space.

So why hasn’t anything been done to improve the situation in over 50 years? While Montgomery Hills is bolstered on every side by well-organized residential neighborhoods, it’s utter lack of place means that it stands apart rather than belong to any of these communities.  Furthermore, with a few notable exceptions, the commercial landlords and business owners mostly live outside of the surrounding areas.

We can do better.  The State and County can improve Georgia Ave so that it is welcoming and safe to all users.  With a safe and walkable corridor, we can help local businesses not just survive, but thrive.  If businesses that serve the local community prosper, this will encourage more local businesses to see Montgomery Hills as a viable location.  Last, when residents can walk through and between the corridor safely, successful businesses will invest in building improvements.

Help us make Montgomery Hills a place to call our own.

MH Lack of Place

Concept Framework to be presented at Planning Headquarters

FGMHlogobannerYou’re Invited to Attend a Community Meeting on Monday, June 4
Concept Framework to be presented at Planning Department Headquarters 
On Monday, June 4, 2018, Planning Department staff will host a community meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Department’s auditorium (8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD) to provide an update on the Forest Glen/Montgomery Hills Sector Plan process. Staff will give an overview of the consultant’s findings and share a draft of the Concept Framework Plan. The Concept Framework Plan is a collection of comments and suggestions we have heard from residents, business owners, land owners, County and State agencies. The Concept Framework Plan will help to define the basic organization, structure and evolution of the Sector Plan recommendations. A draft will be presented at the June 4 meeting and will be refined throughout the Summer. RSVPs are recommended, but not required.
The schedule of the Forest Glen/Montgomery Hills Sector Plan has been updated to reflect ongoing collaborations, most notably with Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) and the Planning Department’s work program with the Montgomery County Council. Major milestones include:
  • Working Draft delivered to the Planning Board in February 2019.
  • Transmittal of the Planning Board Draft to the County Council and Executive in Fall 2019. You can find the complete schedule on the Forest Glen/Montgomery Hills webpage.

Make Montgomery Hills Safer, Smarter

The stretch of Georgia Ave that runs from 16th Street to the Beltway is one of the busiest segments in the entire state.  And one of the most unsafe in Maryland.  Rear-end, sideswipe, left-turn, angle, pedestrian, and truck-related crashes occur at a rate significantly higher than statewide average for those crash types on similar roads.  In a nutshell, it isn’t a very safe place to drive.  But it isn’t a safe place to walk or bike either, and even if one could walk safely, there aren’t many places that you would want to walk to.  But Maryland SHA has a plan to make Montgomery Hills safer and smarter.

You can read more about SHA’s plan to transform Georgia Ave into a corridor to walk, bike, and drive safely. But we need SHA to fund their plan. Support SHA funding for the MD 97 Plan.  Together we can #FixMontgomeryHills.

Make Montgomery Hills Smarter Safer.

County’s Transportation Committee recommends Forest Glen’s 2nd entrance!

The County Council’s Transportation Committee voted 2-1 (Berliner, Hucker -YES, Floreen – NO) to approve funding for the Forest Glen 2nd entrance with the bulk of the $20 million being available FY21 and construction completed in FY25.

Let the County know today that you support this recommendation ahead of the March 20th vote!

Check out below the discussion on the 2nd entrance and the vote on the proposal.

We need your SUPPORT!

The County Council is deciding on whether to fund the Forest Glen 2nd metro entrance on the East side and we need to have our voices heard.

Please EMAIL the Council and let them know that you want better pedestrian safety and kill the wasteful Montrose Parkway East (you can read more about that here).

We are getting close but we need your support!

A very special shout-out to our community members that came out and supported this very important endeavor (pics below!).