The letter below was sent to the Montgomery County Council to ensure funding is available for the long proposed Georgia Ave improvements. Please consider sending a letter to help us secure the funding:
February 5, 2020
Montgomery County Council
Council Office Building
100 Maryland Avenue, 6th Floor
Rockville, MD 20850
Sent via email to:
Re: County Budget: MD 97 Georgia Avenue Improvements in Montgomery Hills and Forest Glen
Dear Council President Katz and Councilmembers,
The following named Civic Associations and Advocacy Groups urge you to include funding in the FY 21 Capital Improvements Plan budget for the proposed reconstruction of Georgia Ave between 16th Street and Forest Glen Road. These associations and groups consist of well over 10,000 households and represent the neighborhoods that surround the Montgomery Hills/Forest Glen project planning area.
The SHA Georgia Ave road improvement project enjoys widespread, unparalleled support from the surrounding residents, local businesses, and myriad community organizations. These improvements have been recommended in the County’s Approved and Adopted Master Plans continuously since 1978, including, once again, in the current draft Sector Plan now before the PHED Committee. While SHA has made significant progress over the past year, notably securing federal NEPA approval for Alternative 5B, we remain in need of a firm commitment for construction funding.
In past meetings, the County Executive assured us that the County would cost share a percentage of the construction costs with the State. In fact, at our last meeting with Maryland DOT Secretary Slater, (then SHA Administrator), he noted the County’s $10 million commitment would be an important factor in having this project proceed from design to construction. We are very appreciative of the County’s previous commitment, realizing it may be the linchpin for the project to proceed. Unfortunately, we did not see this funding commitment reflected in the proposed CIP budget. Consequently, we urge the Council to include the funding in the FY 2021-2026 Capital Improvements Program, specifically dedicated in FY 2021 and 2022.
We acknowledge that Georgia Ave is a State road – however, the vast benefits that will result from the road improvements will accrue to both County and State. The SHA Project Design with the cycle track will establish a balanced approach to transportation, improving pedestrian safety, provide a safe route for bicycles, and further leverage accessibility to the Red and Purple Line stations. Further, these road improvements will help small local businesses in the corridor to thrive and help to reverse the disturbing trend of increasing vacancies and businesses closing.
Without the improvements the corridor is unsafe for all users: vehicles, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Commuters and residents alike cannot travel through the area easily, and the existing conditions creates create an economically untenable environment for most businesses.
We urge you to commit the County’s share of funding in the CIP to demonstrate to the State the County’s willingness to be an active partner in the road improvements.
We appreciate your time and consideration of our request. Should you desire any additional information, please don’t hesitate to contact any of the representatives listed below.
Michelle Foster, Geoff Gerhardt, Ted Martin, Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills
Alison Gillespie, President, Forest Estates Community Association
Phil Olivetti, President, Linden Civic Association
David Cox, President, North Woodside Citizens Association
Bill Scanlan, President, Woodside Civic Association
Dan Hattis, President, Woodside Forest Civic Association
L. Adriana Gonzalez, President, Woodside Park Civic Association
Peter Gray, Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA)
County Executive Marc Elrich, firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Conklin, Director, Montgomery County Department of Transportation, email@example.com
Greg Slater, Maryland DOT Secretary, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Smith, MDOT SHA Acting Administrator, TSmith2@mdot.maryland.gov