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Montgomery County Listening Sessions, January 8 and April 16, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Regionalism and Regional Planning  ♦ Mapping Support and Data ♦ Economic Development ♦ Housing ♦ Community Engagement the Volunteerism ♦ Transportation  ♦ Environment ♦ Community  ♦ FundingCommunication ♦ State AgenciesTechnical Assistance ♦ Planning

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Regionalism and Regional Planning

Montgomery County has a lot to contribute to the State, in terms of advancing best planning practices

The County wants to work with the State and other counties in the region to address the shared problems of transportation, housing and economic and community development

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Mapping Support and Data

Montgomery County will not be helped with more information and data

Data is not the problem today. Rather, we need to ask the right questions

Reduce redundant data collection and enhance data sharing

State could help by buying into expensive Big Data datasets

Montgomery has successful examples of this type of relationship

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Economic Development

A Better Maryland should focus on making Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties competitive with Northern Virginia

It is tough to make a living farming these days

Farmers are devising other ways to make money from their land

These newer uses (wedding venues, agro-entertainment) put a strain on rural roads and communities, including noise

The Maryland Department of Planning could help Montgomery County by researching agro-tourism and identify ways to do this successfully, both economically and environmentally

The loss of jobs in the county over the last 11 years is a real concern

Not growing our tax base

Virginia has an IT Corridor that Montgomery County lacks

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Housing

The County lacks affordable housing (reiterated by a local Park Ranger, who indicated she could not find housing)

There is no affordable housing – even to rent

Incomes are too high to qualify for assistance or get access to the County’s MPDU program, but not enough income to rent on our own

The Bonifant senior housing at 929 Bonifant is a best practice in affordable housing, subsidized by HUD and the County

There is need to help maintain the single-family home for the people in the donut hole – too rich for assistance and too poor to make ends meet

There is a need to preserve this group of housing

This is due to the scarcity of land

The length of time it takes to build a house or development is barrier to the county’s affordability problem. Time is money

Low income housing costs more to build because it must be vandal-proof

Rental housing is replacing homeowner units

The Purple Line route has been favorable for housing developers

The county should consider using a residential parking permit program like Washington DC had used to address its residential parking problem

Housing affordability is needed for everyone – even for people who make good salaries

The high cost of housing is because people who live here don’t work here – federal employees go to Washington DC

The largest employer in Montgomery County is Montgomery County

If we attract a high salary, large employer, the affordability problem will become even worse due to the high-income professionals

The county used to have a large artist community in Silver Spring, but they were forced out due to housing costs

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

A Better Maryland needs to educate people about the process and get them to participate

We need to organize existing resources into a format that the layman can use

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Transportation

Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) need to pay attention to the smaller details associated with these big developments, especially ensure walkability

A Better Maryland should help inform the Governor on how to address transportation concerns

Major projects should be multimodal

Have the County and State collaborate on needed rights of way to accommodate express bus lanes on major roadways

Utilize tolls (through public/private partnerships) to cover not only capital improvements but also operating and maintenance costs

There are concerns along the Georgia Avenue corridor

Keep TOD at the forefront of planning and land use decisions

Pay closer attention to the Red Line – small details

Glenmont – the street connection is not oriented to METRO

Need to address walkability, such as snow piles blocking sidewalks. Where do you put the snow from large snow storms?

We need to worry about moving more people, not more cars

Need to consider automated vehicle technology

Come up with ways to reconnect towns and job centers using transit

There is more pressure to create comprehensive transit systems. Seniors and millennials are driving less

Maryland should consider an information sharing system like the one WAZE app and Los Angeles have developed, in which both organizations share data and updates that benefit the mission/program of the other

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) recently completed a household travel survey, in which it recruited 14-15,000 Montgomery households to participate. The State should look into it

Educate people on transportation trends and incorporate these issues into planning policies

The County adopted a Vision Zero policy in 2017, which is a strategy to end traffic fatalities and injuries while enhancing safe, healthy, and equitable mobility on County roads by 2030. Maryland should develop a statewide Vision Zero policy

MDOT should be more aggressive in the goals it has established in its Towards Zero Deaths Program

Should also be expanding to include all modes

State should dedicate funding sources for traffic safety projects and initiatives

Increased transparency of and accessibility to crash data is needed

Access management strategies are key to a successful Vision Zero program

A Better Maryland should encourage site to share access and limit access to their roadways to reduce conflicts

A Better Maryland should include a traffic safety toolbox that includes topics such as traffic calming

State needs to focus more on multimodal planning

Change SHA’s focus from “moving traffic” to “moving people”

All State funded projects should incorporate Context Sensitive Solutions; a dynamic and effective approach to delivering transportation systems enhancing community, environmental, and economic resources

Pedestrian accommodation should be a priority

Safer and more comfortable bike accommodations are needed on state roads

Montgomery Planning is willing to share its research on bicycle level of traffic stress and its toolkit for determining appropriate bicycle facilities

The State’s commendable program to plant trees along highways should be expanding elsewhere and throughout Maryland

SHA should revise policy that bicycle facilities will only be designed on state roadways in urban areas. This is too limiting

Regional Transit:

The State should build redundancy into the regional transit network to manage service interruptions

Multiple Maryland counties would benefit from expanded transit service to Virginia

MTA should establish a goal of improving outer-suburban transit connections to regional employment centers such as DC and northern Virginia

Bus Rapid Transit should be a statewide priority

A Better Maryland should prioritize the reduction of single-occupancy vehicle trips

WMATA ridership has dropped 17%, this decline needs addressed

Drivers don’t know or follow state law regarding right-of-way to pedestrians

Driver behavior training/awareness is needed

Driverless cars may solve some of this

Major road corridors are state highways and they are cutting through our residential communities

There should be consideration between the Plan and what SHA is planning

More people, more jobs means more movements and more traffic – need to recognize this reality

Want to see more complete streets that accommodate, cars, transit, bikes and pedestrians

The county doesn’t have adequate infrastructure – particularly roads

Peak hour traffic jams start as early as 5 and 6 am on the west side of I-495 beltway

County needs to invest more in transit and promote transit oriented development

Need another bridge over the Potomac River

Only the State can build these roads

State roads (from the perspective of the number of roads, connections and general location) have not changed since the 1860s

We need more connections to Washington DC, and Fairfax County

There more connections between Montgomery County and DC and VA in 1860 than we have today

Maryland seems reluctant to consider another bridge across the Potomac River

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Environment

State needs to work on preventing devastation of the Ellicott City type floods elsewhere in the State

Need to update floodplain maps

Green buildings should exceed minimum standards

Help make local farm sourcing more robust

The county benefits by nearby woods and natural environment

The State Plan needs to focus on environmental qualities (i.e. air and water) that sustain life

Need cleaner water than what we get from the Potomac River

Need reservoirs like New York City has

Water quality is a statewide issue

Air and water know no boundaries

Need to consider environmental protection

There needs to be better coordination with Prince George’s County dealing with water and sewer service/infrastructure

The County’s Transfer of Development Rights (TDR) Program is very successful. It should be promoted and prioritized

Municipalities accepting TDR’s is unlikely

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Community

As wealthy as it is, Montgomery still has significant poverty

County is very interested in incorporating health consideration in all its policies and law

The Maryland Environmental Health Disparities Project, which is mapping environmental justice indicators, needs the State’s full support

A Better Maryland should review and consider the STAR Community Ratings System, a certification program for local sustainability

Education is Montgomery County’s greatest asset. We have high quality teachers, and we do education well. This is major attractor for employers

Montgomery County attracts “upper and middle income” families and people from around that world that want to better themselves

The County is very diverse, which is reason why people are attracted to the County

Diversity brings many skills to the county and the state

The socio-economic diversity of the county is one of its greatest strengths

Diversity is attributed to the county’s proximity to Washington DC

Diversity is valued and strengthens the tolerance of the community

The county has lots of neighborhood spirit and cohesion. While Montgomery is a large county, there is a local focus and interest in people staying here and aging in place

There is an intangible value focused on common goals that translate into local policy

People at the micro level are the ones that make the positive difference in the community

They can make a difference at the ballot box

They enrich local neighborhoods

The local government reacts to what people initiate or instigate

People are the implementers

Everything must depend on democracy

Everybody’s voice counts

The county planning board and county government is out of balance – turned upside down

The county council should be making more of the development decisions and not the planning board

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Funding

A portion of toll funding should go to the development of transit

For both operating and capital costs

Need to think differently about big roads like Rockville Pike

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Communication

Concerned that the comments made at this Listening Session are not reflective of all people in Montgomery County

These results and comments are unscientific and not representative of the community

This meeting was not well publicized

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State Agencies

State Highway Administration (SHA):

It is difficult to get SHA to consider how different landscapes fit together (rural, suburban, urban)

Road infrastructure needs can be challenging

Would like SHA to be involved earlier in the planning process

State and local road construction could be better coordinated

The Arts and Entertainment District Program should be more strongly coordinated with SHA’s guidelines to include placemaking features and public art in the right of way

There are many great examples of creative ways to do this from around the country

Montgomery is grateful that all state and local agencies are included in this effort

Encourage cooperation with MWCOG

Should meet with them soon to discuss A Better Maryland

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Technical Assistance

Brownfields need to be addressed, to include an inventory of smaller sites and more technical assistance from the State

Would like a map of brownfield sites in the county

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Planning

Connection between land use and transportation

A Better Maryland should encourage mixed-use development and reduce low-density sprawl

Promote and incentivize density around rapid transit stations

Plan should prioritize the reduction of vehicle miles traveled as a metric for good development

A Better Maryland should focus on communities like Frederick, Germantown, and Clarksburg as destinations instead of bedroom communities. The more attractive and sustainable mixed-use centers we create, the more likely we are to reduce distance of trips and congestion

Land use and growth should be concentrated in areas served by transit

Agricultural lands should be preserved

Good land use planning is important

A Better Maryland should reinforce a long-term smart growth vision for the State

The State must make growth management a priority

Recognizing that the State does not want to add regulatory requirements, Maryland should tie incentives to smart growth visioning and planning to encourage local participation

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