Montgomery County Ponders White Flint Redevelopment Challenges

A May 18 Gazette.net article discusses the challenges facing White Flint as it seeks to redevelop itself into a more mixed-use and pedestrian-friendly community.  With the addition of a new “anchor destination” that includes a Whole Foods, Seasons 52 restaurant and a LA Fitness Gym, the community hopes to replicate the revitalization that occurred in Bethesda after it developed an area of apartments and high-end destination stores, collectively known as Bethesda Row.  However, residents must be willing to embrace the new image and also be willing to give up their cars.

Changing the perception of White Flint could prove crucial not just to lease the apartments or office space, but also to the county, which is banking on the revitalization.

County planners say that while residents use the White Flint Metro station to get to work, high volumes of traffic, narrow sidewalks, and a lack of decent streetscape inhibit pedestrian movement, putting people in vehicles.

Changing that habit requires more than just physical changes, it involves convincing people to walk.  …

To push a change in White Flint to a more pedestrian-friendly urban area — and to accommodate the more than 10,000 residents expected to move there by 2030 — Montgomery County plans to invest more than $300 million in 20 years on roads and infrastructure improvements.  …

There are little more than 2,300 residences in downtown White Flint, and more than 22,000 people work there. That imbalance has resulted more construction in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area, not White Flint, in the past, according to a report from developer Transwestern. As more apartments are built in White Flint — estimated to reach an additional 12,000 by 2030 — the area will fill with people living and working in White Flint.

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