Montgomery County Community Wants Walkability for its Town Center
Danielle E. Gaines reports from the Montgomery County, Maryland community of Wheaton, which is making plans to redesign its downtown to join neighbors like Bethesda, Rockville, and Silver Spring in pursuing a more urban vision for the future.
A recent "What’s Next for Wheaton" forum gave residents a chance to consider the possibilities of the projects like the $180 million Wheaton Revitalization Project, "which will provide a government office building to serve as the new county Planning Department headquarters, 12,000-square feet of retail space, a below-ground parking garage, town square and park," according to Gaines. "Other major projects are underway or recently completed, as well. The Wheaton Community Recreation Center and a renovated library are slated to open next spring."
But that's not all. According to Gaines, some residents are pushing for even more trappings of a more urban environment, such as new pedestrian infrastructure, wider sidewalks, traffic calming, and dedicated bike lanes. Gwen Wright, director of the Montgomery County Planning Department even suggested a woonerf: closing Reedie Drive, "where it crosses the planned town plaza, remaining open only from Georgia Avenue to Triangle Lane to allow access to local businesses."