County To Modify Goldsboro Road Widening Project

County To Modify Goldsboro Road Widening Project

‘More environmentally sensitive solution’ considered after concerns voiced over tree removal

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County officials have agreed to revisit plans to widen Goldsboro Road in Bethesda after nearly 200 people signed an online petition condemning the plans.

Earlier this month, the county Planning Board discussed a Department of Transportation plan to widen a 1-mile stretch of the road between MacArthur Boulevard and River Road to include separated bike lanes and sidewalks, but neighbors are concerned the plans as presented will degrade an “environmentally sensitive” area along Minnehaha Creek. They said they don’t want to see trees removed to accommodate construction.

“Now, rather than restore the health of the stream and its forest buffer to ease local flooding, mitigate the effects of climate change, and improve public health, Montgomery County Department of Transportation has proposed destroying over 3 acres of the last remaining forest and animal habitat, along with constructing other engineered ‘improvements’ in this natural stretch of roadway – all in the name of bike and pedestrian safety,” the petition says.

People who signed asked county officials to revise plans to retain existing trees, present the revised plans and commit to replacing any forest loss within a 5-mile radius of the affected area.

Several people who signed the petition said they have childhood memories playing in the creek and want to preserve the area for future generations. Others said they worry adding bike lanes will increase rush-hour traffic congestion.

In response to the petition, “MCDOT does plan to revise the project to offer a much more environmentally sensitive solution,” a spokeswoman for the department said.

She did not elaborate on the changes expected.

Construction on the $21 million project is expected to begin in 2025.

Planning Board staff recommended exploring a lower speed limit along Goldsboro Road — from 35 mph to 30 mph — if the lanes and sidewalks are added.

Also included in plans is installing three new, mid-block pedestrian crosswalks east of an Exxon gas station, between Tulip Hill Terrace and Rannoch Road, and west of Wedgewood Road.

Caitlynn Peetz can be reached at caitlynn.peetz@bethesdamagazine.com

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