One of three styles of park benches under consideration for use in downtown Silver Spring Credit: VIA MONTGOMERY COUNTY PLANNING DEPARTMENT

Montgomery County planners want to know what type of benches and trash receptacles residents would like to see in downtown Silver Spring. That’s why there will be a variety of options on display through July 31 at Royce Hanson Park for residents to check out as the county considers new items to be installed on downtown streets.

Three options each for trash cans and benches are displayed at the park next to the Montgomery County Planning Department at 8787 Georgia Ave., and residents are encouraged to try out the benches and fill out an online survey to rate the furnishings on a scale of one to 10 based on ease of use, comfort and aesthetic appeal.    

The survey of trash can and bench options is part of the county Planning Department’s effort to update the Silver Spring Streetscape Standards, which were first issued in 1979 and provide guidance for determining  sidewalks features, such as paving, planting, lighting and furniture such as park benches and trash cans, according to the website.

The original Silver Spring Streetscape Standards were updated in 1992. The current process of updating the 1992 guidelines is aimed at reflecting the increasingly urban nature of downtown Silver Spring, according to a briefing on the department’s website. 

“Since that plan was completed in 1992, Silver Spring has become a major urban center with a lively mix of shops, restaurants, offices, residential and civic uses,” according to the briefing. “These components need to be connected into an attractive, cohesive and safe environment with updated sidewalks, street trees, paving and planting details that reflect best practices.”

The decision to include input from community members on the new sidewalk features resulted from pressure by residents, business owners, community associations and local government agencies who wanted an opportunity to comment on the furniture before it is permanently installed, according to planning officials.  

In addition to the temporary installments of the furniture at the park, residents can also view photos of the proposed furniture on the survey website.

This fall, the department will review proposed updates to the standards, which will be based on input from the survey and the department’s preferences. Once the standards are approved, the new guidelines will apply to development proposed for downtown Silver Spring.