Georgia Avenue & Montgomery Hills: How to Get from a 1955 Suburban Design to a 2020 Neighborhood Complete Street

Please join the Transportation, Energy, and Environment (TREE) Committee of the Silver Spring Citizen’s Advisory Board (SSCAB) for a presentation and discussionIMG_2968 RESIZED (1)With Greg Slater, Administrator, Maryland State Highway Administration, Katie Mencarini, Senior Planner, Montgomery County Planning Department, and Gary Erenrich, Special Assistant to the Director, Montgomery County DOT

Monday, January 28th 7:00 pm

Silver Spring Civic Building

Georgia Ave serves as a gateway to downtown Silver Spring, and the section between the Beltway and 16th Street is one of the most highly-traveled, congested, and unsafe corridors in Maryland. SHA’s Purpose and Need Study reports crashes of all types occur at rates significantly higher than the statewide average for those crash types on similar roads. The current design of the roadway and intersections is both unsafe and unwelcoming to pedestrians and bicyclists, and therefore even with two nearby Metro Stations (Forest Glen and Silver Spring) few dare to walk or bike. The volume of vehicles, minimal pedestrian or bicycle safety measures, lack of greenery, hodgepodge of traffic signage, and overhead clutter make the area ugly and unwelcoming leading to stagnation of the neighborhood retail area and making it hard for businesses to thrive and for redevelopment to occur.

SHA, and Montgomery County Planning, and MCDOT have been working on a redesign of Georgia Ave that would create a pedestrian-scaled streetscape with improved sidewalks, a tree-lined median, and dedicated bike facilities. Efforts to improve traffic flow are also being studied, but within the context of prioritizing safety for all modes. Please come out and hear from Administrator Slater and Senior Planner Mencarini as they present interim- and long-term proposed roadway improvements and discuss the estimated timeline for implementation.

We hope you can join us.

December First Friday Neighbor Night

Tired of winter already and want to escape to more tropical climes?

Ever wonder what “mofongo” means? 

Pleased to see some pedestrian-friendly action taking place on Dale Drive and want to have a celebratory drink with the crew who’s behind it? 

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions (and even if you didn’t), please join Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hill’s second First Friday Neighbor Night this Friday, December 7, from 5-7:30 pm at La Casa del Mofongo (9441 Georgia Ave).

Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills will have information about what is happening with Georgia Avenue – including an update on the Planning Department’s preliminary recommendations that will be presented to the public on Tuesday, December 4 (and then to the Planning Board on Thursday, December 6). We will also be able to share our sense of the timing for the study’s conclusion (the expectation is that SHA will announce their preferred alternative by the end of the year). So … lots going on that could affect our neighborhoods & quality of life!

There won’t be presentations – this is just a fun opportunity to connect with neighbors, learn about work to #FixGeorgiaAve, have a beer (and some mofongo), and support a local business. Kids are welcome. We hope to see you there!

Help #FixMontgomeryHills

IMG_2968 RESIZED (1)Our neighborhood has a remarkable opportunity to influence the redesign of a geographic area we all know well: the stretch of Georgia Avenue running through the area officially known as Montgomery Hills. For the first time in a very long time, planners and elected officials want to hear from us: people living in communities along this area. What works? What doesn’t? What needs to be done to improve it? Let’s show them that we care, and that the Georgia Avenue Redesign is a project that merits funding and attention.

Here’s how: join us on Sat. Sept. 29, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., on Columbia Blvd — the stretch running from Seminary Road to 16th Street — for the Montgomery Hills Street Fest.

Please help to make this a success. We need you! Take a look — here’s a link to the Montgomery Hills Street Fest sign up genius. It’ll be a terrific event, and we’d be grateful!

Support Funding of the SHA Georgia Ave Redesign

While we are compiling all of the great ideas from last week’s charrette, please sign the petition to show your support for SHA funding of the Georgia Ave design and implementation.  SHA has stated they will fund the project; however, we know competition for funding is fierce and this project has a history of being delayed.

Every signature helps us get closer to realizing our vision for the neighborhood!

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Montgomery County Elections

Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills Edition!

Montgomery County wields control over the space beyond the Georgia Ave roadway. The County has authority that significantly affects land use and economic development, such as zoning and other regulations, incentives, and measures that can help or hinder revitalization. The Montgomery County Planning Department is looking at developing recommendations to improve the Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills neighborhoods in the update to the sector plans.  Further, the County has the ability to help shape Georgia Ave design decisions as well as help ensure that the redesign and implementation is funded by the State.

Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills sits squarely in Montgomery Council District 5 represented by Tom Hucker.  Montgomery Hills is also represented by four At-Large Councilmembers: Hans Reimer, Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal, and Marc Erlich.  Councilmember Floreen is not seeking re-election.  Councilmembers Levelthal and Erlich are running for County Executive, along with four additional candidates.  Councilmember Hans Reimer is seeking reelection in a field with thirty-three contenders for the four At-Large seats.

Here is what the County elected officials and candidates have had to say about our efforts to #FixMontgomeryHills.

Montgomery County Executive

Neighborhoods are about people – not cars.  There is much potential for Montgomery Hills to become a vibrant and attractive place, and I applaud the Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills for building community support for such a vision. That support will be crucial as we work with residents, various government agencies, and property owners to turn potential into reality. District 1 Montgomery County Councilmember Berliner, Chair of the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee

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Councilmember Roger Berliner

For too long the Georgia Ave corridor between 16th Street and Forest Glen has been the subject of great plans, but no action.  I am committed to moving from plan to action, so that we can transform Montgomery Hills and Forest Glen into a vibrant community destination. At-Large Montgomery County Councilmember George Leventhal

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Councilmember George Leventhal

Montgomery Hills can thrive as a neighborhood center if we provide safe pedestrian access to shopping areas, transit, and community facilities with wide, tree-lined sidewalks and a median along Georgia Ave. I am committed to safety and a streetscape for all users. Montgomery County Executive Candidate David Blair

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County Executive Candidate David Blair

Montgomery County District 5

I’ve been working with our county Planning staff and State Highway Administrator Greg Slater to transform this 0.7-mile stretch of Georgia Avenue in Montgomery Hills. It’s become a vehicle-centric commuter roadway with the highest non-Interstate traffic volumes in Maryland and a collision rate significantly higher than statewide averages. As it is, the road contributes little to residents’ quality of life or to retailers’ prosperity, and traffic volume is expected to increase 15 percent in the next 20 years. What we need is a bike- and pedestrian-friendlier approach that’s safer and enhances – not degrades — this neighborhood. District 5 Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker

 

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District 5 Councilmember Tom Hucker

Montgomery County Council At-Large

Our county is a special place and Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills represent the future of our county – how we grow, flourish, and continue to be a great place to live.  In order to do that, we must dedicate resources and make sure that our neighborhoods just don’r change for the sake of change – but grow as vibrant communities that serve the people.  At-Large Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Reimer

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Councilmember Hans Reimer

The time has come for Montgomery Hills and the surrounding residential neighborhoods to be a place where people are encouraged to walk or bike, rather than drive. We need to leverage our unique location inside the beltway to include the instillation of bike lanes on Georgia Ave that protect both riders and drivers. As the former chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, I will continue to be a champion for the redesign of Georgia Ave so that is safer for all users.  At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Evan Glass

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At-Large Candidate Evan Glass

With all the convenience that this location offers, Montgomery Hills should be an attractive, accessible neighborhood center that serves the local community and where local businesses can thrive. This problem is within our ability to resolve as elected officials and responsible government. We must redesign Georgia Ave to accommodate walking, biking, and access to our transit systems. When residents can walk and bike safely through the area, local small businesses will thrive.  This is how you improve livability. At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Will Jawando

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At-Large Candidate Will Jawando

There are wonderful neighborhoods and local businesses in the areas adjacent to Georgia Avenue between 16th Street and Forest Glen – but our lack of investment in this corridor makes it harder for people to discover and access these places. We need to make Montgomery Hills safer for pedestrians, cyclists and transit users, and support residents and business owners in creating a stronger sense of place through streetscape and roadway improvements. At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Brandy Brooks

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At Large Candidate Brandy Brooks

 

County support will help Montgomery Hills and Forest Glen residents and businesses transform their community – a stretch of Georgia Avenue with huge potential – into the walkable, bikeable, safe, and attractive commercial district we know it can be. We will use zoning and planning tools, economic incentives and business assistance programs, and community good will, talents, and advocacy to turn this vision into reality, soon. At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Seth Grimes

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At Large Candidate Seth Grimes

Montgomery Hills is less than ten minutes from my home. Over the last twenty-five years as both a cyclist and driver, I’ve experienced the difficulties of accessibility and congestion in the Montgomery Hills corridor. Seeing the well-planned, community-centered, walkable and accessible developments in other areas of the county, I know we can do better for Montgomery Hills–and I look forward to the exciting next steps! At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Jill Ortman-Fouse

Jill Ortman-Fouse
At-Large Montgomery County Candidate Jill Ortman-Fouse