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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council Votes to Approve Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Council President Navarro: This plan combines several aspects of smart planning,
focuses on Vision Zero traffic safety goals and is informed by civic participation
of Veirs Mills community’s diverse population

 

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 23, 2019—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to approve the Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan, which focuses on improved safety for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders and motorists, compatibility with adjoining land uses, potential redevelopment opportunities and improved connectivity. The plan extends approximately four miles, from the City of Rockville to the Wheaton Central Business District. The Council held a public hearing on the plan on Feb. 7 at the Holiday Park Senior Center to hear directly from residents in their own community. The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan seeks to:

  • improve connectivity between transit and community uses and facilities;
  • enhance safety for all users of Veirs Mill Road;
  • support the existing residential scale and character; and
  • introduce limited redevelopment opportunities to strengthen the existing neighborhood centers and identity.

“This master plan combines several different aspects of smart planning in the County and is the first master plan to focus on our Vision Zero goals,” said Council President Nancy Navarro. “I am also proud of the work of my colleagues to emphasize the importance of preserving affordable housing in one of the County’s most diverse corridors. This plan should serve as the framework for how the Council reviews future master plans and engages with our constituents. I’m particularly proud of our efforts to strengthen, promote and facilitate the civic participation of the Latino and immigrant community through my office’s Latino Civic Project. The Veirs Mill Master Plan public hearing’s attendance was truly reflective of the Veirs Mill community.”

“I’m very proud of this plan, which responds to the concerns we heard from the community about the safety of Viers Mill Road and the need to keep the area affordable,” said Councilmember Hans Riemer, who chairs the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. “We are pioneering a new approach to allowing redevelopment while preserving affordability. If fully built out over the next 20-30 years, the plan would result in many more affordable units than exist today and calls for a sufficient amount of new units that conform to the County’s moderately priced dwelling unit policy to more than offset the loss of existing units. This was also our first Vision Zero plan – which looks closely at existing infrastructure to ensure that everyone is able to travel safely in our community – whether driving, walking, biking or taking public transportation. I want to especially thank my Committee colleagues, Andrew Friedson and Will Jawando, for working collaboratively with me to send an excellent plan to our colleagues.”

The plan recommends retaining the existing residential scale and character, with limited rezoning near future bus rapid transit stations, including the garden-style apartments in the Twinbrook area to “facilitate the redevelopment of higher density housing” close to transit. With concerns that redevelopment could impact the affordability of housing in the area, the Council recommended a policy of “no net loss” in market-affordable housing for the area, which includes a combination of moderately priced dwelling units, market-rate affordable units subject to a rental agreement with redevelopment, and other regulated affordable units.

The Veirs Mill Corridor Master Plan is the first plan to be developed following Montgomery County’s adoption of a Vision Zero policy in 2016.  The plan reimagines busy Veirs Mill Road as an integral component of the surrounding neighborhoods by improving connectivity and safety. This plan advances Vision Zero through short-term and long-term strategies to improve safety for everyone, whether they travel by foot, bicycle, transit or car. If fully implemented, this plan, with its Vision Zero focus, has the potential to make safety the number one priority and serve as a model for other corridors in our county.

The County Executive’s staff estimates the County cost of new capital improvements associated with the draft plan to be $175.3 million, all of which would be transportation improvements. The largest items are for the assumed County costs to construct the Council’s preferred design for the Veirs Mill Road Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Alternative 2.5 ($39.6 million) and, ultimately, to include continuous BRT lanes (Alternative 3, another $34.4 million); and grade separating Veirs Mill Road over the Matthew Henson Trail ($44.4 million). The $56.9 million balance is almost entirely for other bicycle and pedestrian improvements.

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Release ID: 19-138
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931