Planning for Bike Trails – Update
Town Council members Greg Silber and Shelley Winkler and I met with J.T. Thomas, Planning Section Manager, and Patricia Shepherd, Capital Projects Manager, Bikeways Coordinator of Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MDOT), Division of Transportation Engineering officials. The purpose was to determine the status of planning for bike trails connecting Washington Grove to other locations, walkways, roadways, and bike trails.
Some highlights include:
- A general budget under the County’s Capital Improvement Plan for Fiscal Years 2017-2022 has been approved at the County level; therefore, County staff expects something to be done about connecting bikeways in our area and elsewhere sometime within the next six years;
- MDOT’s “scope” only includes connecting other bikeways and roads/streets in the vicinity to paths and roads at the Town’s border, but not within the Town; bikeways through or within Town limits is not under consideration by MDOT;
- any number of possible ways to connect to Town thoroughfares will be assessed and may include, but may not necessarily be limited to, the end of Brown Street extended, Amity Road/Court and/or the development of the lower field, Railroad Street, via Oakmont, or other ways;
We asked that the Town be involved in the planning stages and be allowed to comment directly and through the public planning processes, and both Mr. Thomas and Ms. Shepherd readily agreed, indicating the Town input was important to their work. We also discussed MDOT staff addressing the Town, perhaps by joining a Town Council meeting, to discuss the planning and conditions study process, only. This is likely to take place in fall 2018. Public scoping and comment is likely to commence around spring 2019. Additionally, we have scheduled a meeting with Gaithersburg City Planners in early January to learn of their plans for a bike path in the City and how we can coordinate bike path efforts together.
McCathran Hall – Update
In December, a serious termite problem was discovered in McCathran Hall. It appears the Town will need to treat for pest removal and reconstruct support beams for portions of the building. While McCathran Hall may be rented for private events, please note this treatment and repair may interrupt scheduling. Please be sure to check with the Town Clerk for scheduling Town or private events. One additional note: The project for the prototype for a new Town Council meeting table design, which was voted upon at the last Annual Town Meeting, is on hold until this termite problem and construction is complete. Your patience is appreciated.
Wishing all a Happy New Year!
Joli A. McCathran, Mayor