Curb Appeal Is Goal for Silver Spring Transit Stop
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Montgomery County Planning Board members want to ensure the proposed Silver Spring Transit Center, which is projected to handle nearly 100,000 passengers a day by 2025, is a place that is appealing to pedestrians.
Officials met last week to discuss some lingering details before construction begins in the fall, including the size of crosswalks, appearance of sidewalks and the creation of a small park that may eventually contain a bike station.
"They talked quite a bit yesterday about really wanting to encourage walkable communities, and how this should feed into that," said Valerie Berton, media relations manager for the Planning Board. "They wanted it to be something that's very welcoming to someone on foot."
The $75 million project is intended to be more pedestrian-friendly than the existing Metro station, said Bruce Johnston, chief of capital development for the county's Department of Public Works and Transportation, who has worked on the project for four years.
Buses and pedestrians come into the existing station via the Wayne Avenue entrance, Johnston said. The new transit center would separate the bus access in two areas as well as provide more crosswalks.
"There are a number of traffic improvements which will help reduce the number of pedestrian conflicts with traffic and minimize congestion," Johnston said.
An area where buses now enter will be replaced by a 12,000-square-foot park that may eventually contain a 1,500-square-foot bike station, said Tom Autrey, supervisor in the transportation planning division for the Planning Board.
"I think that the intent here is to wind up with a place that attracts users of all different modes," Autrey said.
The transit center is slated to be completed by fall 2009. As part of the complex, developer Silver Spring Metro LLC plans a 200-room hotel and two residential towers with 450 units. There also will be 25,000 square feet of retail space.
Keeping the appearance of the development consistent with the rest of downtown Silver Spring is also important to Planning Board members. Officials are considering whether the third level of the transit center should have brick and tree-lined sidewalks.
The Planning Board also wants to make sure that sidewalks and crosswalks are wide enough to comfortably accommodate pedestrians. The walkways' dimensions are still in discussion.