Montgomery County and other jurisdictions in the Washington DC region are in the midst of a transformation from wholly auto-dependent development to the creation of networks of walkable, bikeable, transit-oriented centers and neighborhoods. County Executive Leggett, the Montgomery County Council, and the Planning Board have committed to this vision and the market is responding with nearly unlimited demand to live and work in walkable, mixed-use, transit accessible locations. The CEO of Marriott recently created a stir when he unequivocally stated that the company would be moving to a Metro station location within the next five years. Not only do his young employees want to live and work near Metro, but according to a recent article, he too appreciates the convenience of walkable, mixed-use and transit.
The Friends of White Flint displayed the designs next to what the Sector Plan recommended. Together with the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the Friends group encouraged supporters of a more pedestrian-friendly road design to write to county officials. So far, more than 350 people have written emails calling for an Old Georgetown Road design that matches the Sector Plan, according to the group.
Stewart Schwartz of the DC-area’s Coalition for Smarter Growth contested the idea that street redesigns have to be put on hold. ”The traffic engineers are nervous about the interim period,” he said. “They don’t recognize that congestion always provides a feedback signal. If there’s congestion, people change the time of day of their commute; they change the mode of their commute; and you’re likely to see more transit riders. What this points to is the need to move faster in redesigning these places and incentivizing redevelopment.”