Maryland Residents React to Redevelopment Plan

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Montgomery County residents are reacting to the major redevelopment planned for Rockville Pike.

    The White Flint Sector Plan will transform Rockville Pike by taking people out of their cars and providing walking paths, biking trails and public transportation. After three years of study and debate, the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to approve the plan.

    Rockville Pike is known for heavy traffic. Pedestrians run and weave to avoid cars.

    The pike is lined with a lot of older shopping centers. Council member Roger Berliner called it a "strip mall on steroids."

    What is being proposed is a walk-friendly community with a rail system running down the center.

    Council member Duchy Trachtenberg said she lives right down the street from White Flint Mall and her neighbors "support the redevelopment."

    The centerpiece is already being built. At 24 stories, the North Bethesda Market is the tallest structure in Montgomery County. It will have retail stores, restaurants, a Whole Foods market, a health club and almost 400 residential units.

    But some Garrett Park and Kensington residents are concerned that there will be an increase in their traffic headaches.

    Donna Savage, of the Coalition of Kensington Communities, said there will be "9,500 new residents. Where are they going to walk or more importantly drive?"

    With a reported price tag of $895 million some Montgomery County activists are concerned about how the cost will be covered.

    "It's not the public responsibility," said Kensington View resident Virginia Sheard. "It's up to the developers."

    Developers will be responsible for about two-thirds of the cost, Berliner said, with the county picking up the rest. The White Flint Sector Plan will take between 25 and 30 years to complete and transform Rockville Pike into an environmentally friendly community.