Montgomery in Focus Masthead
May 2012

 

Council Tentatively Approves Wheaton Redevelopment Plan

Wheaton signWe gave a unanimous nod the Wheaton Redevelopment Program, which will guide revitalization of Wheaton’s downtown area, with more than $66.1 million committed to create a civic core in the heart of downtown Wheaton. This plan gets Wheaton moving by providing a new employment presence, green space and a long-term commitment to doing what it takes to make Wheaton shine.

One significant part of the plan is the County’s commitment to build an office building (which will house the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission), underground parking, and a large town square with ample green space on what is known as Parking Lot 13 near Triangle Lane. We expect that a new government office building will bring more than 400 employees and visitors to downtown Wheaton each day. These feet on the ground will help achieve the active presence that will support Wheaton’s exciting future.

Over the next two years, the County will conduct a series of studies to prepare for redevelopment and begin designing the government-owned building and the town square. The plan also includes funding to study and begin planning construction of a platform above the WMATA (Metro) bus bay site at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Veirs Mill Road.

The Wheaton Redevelopment Program was established in 2000, with the goal of encouraging private reinvestment through targeted, complementary public investment. The Council will formally approve the plan when it approves the six-year Capital Improvements Program in late May.


 

Second Glenmont Garage Now Open

Glenmont Garage groundbreaking ceremonyIt seemed fitting that we got such a beautiful spring day for the much-anticipated grand opening ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage. It is a welcome addition to the very popular station as it nearly doubles the amount of parking.

The new garage is on the west side of Georgia Avenue and replaced one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots. It adds 1,200 parking spaces, bringing the total number of parking spaces at Glenmont to 3,000.

A canopy connects the garage entrance to the Metrorail entrance. The garage features customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras and a police room to enhance security. Parking at the garage costs $4.75, and you can use a SmartTrip fare card or credit card for payment.

Most end-of-line Metro stations have at least 3,000 parking spaces to encourage commuters coming from areas with fewer transit options to use alternative transportation for at least part of their trip. The lack of available parking at Glenmont caused many commuters who wanted to take transit to actually drive farther to find space in another parking garage, or even forgo the use of transit altogether.

Metro managed the design/build project for the County and contracted with Forrester Construction Company, a local Rockville firm. The garage will be operated and maintained by Metro.

The Glenmont Metro Station first opened in 1999. With an average of about 6,000 weekday boardings, the station has the fifth highest ridership of transit stations in Montgomery County.


 

What Do You Think about the Proposed Budget?

It is not too late to let us know what you think about the recommended operating budget for FY13. Although we already held our public hearings on the budget, you can still weigh in by sending your comments to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Over the coming weeks, we will continue to analyze the recommendations, and we will adopt the FY13 budget in late May. The budget will take effect on July 1. You can watch many of our committee meetings and all of our full Council meetings live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). You can get our agendas on our Web site.


 

StartRight! Women's Business Plan Competition

Sharpen your pencils for the 2012 StartRight! Business Plan Competition, designed to give new businesses a boost with cash prizes, publicity and an opportunity for review and recommendations from an experienced panel of judges from area businesses, financial institutions, organizations, government agencies and colleges. To be eligible, your business must be at least 51 percent women owned and must be in business for two years or less (or even pre-operational). To learn more, visit Rockville Economic Development, Inc. The deadline for executive summaries is June 6.


 

Fast Fact

Check out M-NCPPC’s short and very informative video, What is Zoning? to find out what zoning means for our community and what it means for you.


 

Green Tip of the Month

Have you ever wondered if you could make your commute by bike? Here's your chance to give it a try with a little help from Montgomery County Commuter Services. Montgomery County is joining jurisdictions nationwide for Bike to Work Day on May 18, and I'll be at one of the pit stops, so I hope to see you there. Bike commuting not only has exercise benefits; it also is an effective way to improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and noise, and conserve energy. For most trips of less than five miles, commuting by bicycle may take about the same amount of time as traditional transportation options. For longer trips, you can combine Ride On, which has bike racks on the front of all buses, with bicycle commuting.


 

Let's Talk

Is your community organization hosting a public meeting?  Please let me know how I can help. I am happy to assist residents in understanding pending bills or in finding ways to get involved in the political process. Even more important, I want to hear about what matters to you.  Send your meeting notices to councilmember.floreen@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-7959 if you would like me to address a particular topic with your group.