SILVER SPRING, MD – A community plan for White Flint, which transforms large parking lots and suburban shopping centers into a mixed-use, compact urban center, won an award for best neighborhood/small area plan from the National Capital Area chapter of the American Planning Association.
Montgomery County Planning Department staff will receive the award at an October 26 ceremony in Washington, D.C.
The plan, which has been hailed as a model for smart growth, focuses development at the White Flint Metro station on Rockville Pike. The transit station opens up potential for a community scaled to pedestrians and cyclists, improving connections to transit as well as parks, retail, community facilities and nightlife.
Master plans envision land uses, zoning, transportation, community facilities, environmental assets and historic structures, among many other elements. The plans, after being reviewed and approved by the Planning Board and County Council, help planners and policy-makers guide proposed development and resolve community issues.
The White Flint Sector Plan calls for 9,800 new homes, including affordable and workforce units, and 5.69 million square feet of commercial and office development. Much of the new development will occur on 160 acres of surface parking lots. White Flint, planners say, holds huge potential for economic development.
The plan also specifies public facilities, such as an elementary school, library and recreation center, as well as new parks and open spaces, including a civic green.
Moreover, the White Flint plan redesigns Rockville Pike, with an expanded local network of streets, to create a safer, more walkable place. The Pike’s 150-foot right-of-way would be rebuilt into an urban boulevard with a treed median, street trees, on-street parking, bikeways and space for future bus rapid transit.