Week Ahead: Rockville City Council to Revisit Downtown Issues Tuesday

Plus: County Council to study pedestrian safety; School board to consider possible calendar change; Elrich will hold two “listening sessions.”

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Rockville City Council to hold second meeting on future of downtown

The Rockville City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss future plans for downtown Rockville, including the privately owned Rockville Town Square. The meeting will be in the format of a work session with no opportunity for public comment. The council will discuss several recommendations having to do with parking, density regulations, creating a downtown task force and doing more to promote science and the arts.

Among the suggestions for improving parking are removing parking validation in Town Square garages, and instead, allowing for two hours of free parking. Under this proposal, the city would be required to compensate the developer, Federal Realty Investment Trust, in order to offset lost revenue due to the change. Alternative proposals include lowering parking violation fees and providing one warning before issuing a parking ticket.

The council will also consider recommendations that would improve access to downtown Rockville, with one suggestion being to implement a dedicated shuttle service between the downtown and Montgomery College. With more than 15,000 students and staff, Montgomery College is one of the largest “activity generators” in terms of business, the city has found.

Tuesday’s scheduled meeting follows a City Council meeting last month, which was attended by more than 400 residents who were concerned over a recent spate of business closures that have included Mellow Mushroom and Dawson’s Market.

The meeting will take place Tuesday at Rockville City Hall at 7 p.m.

County transportation officials to share pedestrian safety data Tuesday

Officials from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation along with other county agencies will share data on pedestrian crashes from the last 13 years at Tuesday’s County Council meeting. The presentation comes one month after four students were hit by a car at a bus stop on Georgia Avenue in Aspen Hill. According to data from the county’s Vision Zero study, pedestrian crashes rose from 429 in 2005 to 494 in 2017. Through September 2018, 281 collisions had been recorded.

The study also found that the most common streets for pedestrian crashes to occur were Piney Branch Road, which has averaged 6.3 crashes per year since 2006, and Georgia Avenue, which has averaged 6.9 per year during that period.

School board to take action on 2019-2020 school calendar

The Montgomery County Board of Education is scheduled to meet Tuesday evening and is expected to take action on the 2019-2020 school year calendar and several handbook policies.

The school board will choose between two calendar options, one of which would revive Montgomery County Public Schools’ 10-day spring break after a one-year hiatus. The second option would function similarly to this school year’s calendar with a six-day spring break.

Also on Tuesday’s agenda is final action on Policy KEA, which would allow high school students to be excused for up to three days per year if they participate in political activities during school hours.

Elrich’s to hold “listening sessions” Thursday and Saturday

Incoming Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich will hold two “listening sessions” this week, where residents will have a chance to speak about issues they they believe Elrich should address in his new role. The first meeting will be held 7 p.m. Thursday at Cabin John Middle School in Potomac, and the second meeting will be 3 p.m. Saturday at Kingsview Middle School in Germantown.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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