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Montgomery County Department of Transportation Seeks Community Input by Sunday, Oct. 18, on Temporary Expansion of Acorn Park in Silver Spring as Part of ‘Shared Streets’ Program

For Immediate Release: Thursday, October 8, 2020

In an effort to continue to support residents during the COVID-19 health crisis, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has closed a portion of Newell Street, which is adjacent to Acorn Park in Silver Spring, as a temporary expansion of public recreational space. The street closure to vehicles is a part of the Shared Streets program that aims to reallocate outdoor public space for dining, socializing and physical activity in a safe and socially distanced manner. Now MCDOT is seeking community feedback on the project.

MCDOT, along with guidance from the Regional Service Center, decided to leave the temporary park expansion in place as a part of the Shared Streets program at least through Oct. 25. This was to allow time to make the community aware of the resource and make observations on use of the temporary park.

MCDOT is asking residents to offer their thoughts by email through Sunday, Oct. 18. Emails can be sent to MCDOT.SharedStreets@montgomerycountymd.gov. All input will be considered by MCDOT, the Silver Spring Regional Service Office and other partners supporting Shared Streets. A determination will then be made as to uses in this portion of Newell Street beyond Oct. 25.

The closure to vehicular traffic on Newell Street runs from East-West Highway to Kennett Street and is intended to provide more outdoor space for the local community. Acorn Park is one of the nine designated Picnic in the Park locations, a collaboration between Visit Montgomery’s MoCoEats and Montgomery Parks. The program allows park users to receive food and drink deliveries from participating nearby restaurants that make their menus accessible by scanning QR codes with a mobile device.

Each of the parks in the Picnic in the Park program has a designated "delivery zone" that is marked with a sign, along with multiple picnic areas that are physically distanced. Montgomery Parks has provided picnic tables for the Newell Street closure and intends to further activate the space for residents if the closure is continued into fall. Montgomery Parks increased trash collection and security services in Acorn Park to support the Picnic in the Parks program.

MCDOT’s traffic engineers evaluated the Newell Street area before instituting the closure and during the closure. No safety concerns or resulting congestion or traffic flow issues have been observed. However, some residents have expressed concerns over the impact of the street closure on commuting patterns relative to East-West Highway.

A complete list of all Shared Streets locations and initiatives, including maps, can be viewed at MCDOT’s Shared Streets website at montgomerycountymd.gov/dot/sharedstreets/.

For ongoing updates, follow @MCDOTNow on Twitter, visit the department website at montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdotsubscribe to MCDOT news releases or subscribe to MCDOT’s ‘Go Montgomery!’ newsletter.

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Release ID: 20-578
Media Contact: Hannah Henn 240-777-8389