Budget Change Would Move Up Construction Of New ‘Pike District’ Road Grid

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County Executive Isiah Leggett has proposed moving up the start of construction on a new road grid planned for White Flint and the newly-coined Pike District.

In a list of capital budget amendments released Thursday, Leggett added $4.4 million of construction funding for Main Street, Market Street and a realignment of Executive Boulevard that would start in the upcoming fiscal year.

The so-called Western Workaround project would create a new street grid on the west side of Rockville Pike and the White Flint Sector.

Leggett said he moved to accelerate construction of the roads in order to keep it as close as possible to the planned construction of a new parking garage on the north parking lot of the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center.

The east-to-west Main Street/Market Street will run through the existing Conference Center surface parking lot, as will the realigned Executive Boulevard before it hits Old Georgetown Road. The county has promised to replace the lost parking with the new garage.

The move would add about $7.4 million to the project’s cost in the current six-year capital budget, which runs through 2020. The new total cost of $62.7 million for the entire Western Workaround could be revised again next year, when Leggett and the County Council come up with a new six-year capital budget that runs through 2022.

The County Council must approve Leggett’s request to accelerate Main Street, Market Street and Executive Boulevard this spring.

Main Street/Market Street would be a two-lane, 1,200-foot long roadway connecting Old Georgetown Road to a yet-to-be-built extension of Woodglen Drive, just north of Marinelli Road. It would include a bikeway for the length of the street.

It could also allow for a domino effect of new development and, potentially, the new park envisioned as the civic center of the new-look White Flint area..

Gables Residential is planning a series of mixed-use retail and apartment buildings in the lot directly north of the Shriver Aquatic Center and Wall Park. But the development relies on the realignment of Executive Boulevard, in order to create a rectangular lot.

The 2010 White Flint Sector Plan envisioned a new Wall Park on the surface parking lot that now serves the aquatic center. The county is hoping to work out a deal with Gables to share a roughly 1,000-space parking garage that would serve the new development, aquatic center and park.

Earlier this week, the Friends of White Flint reported that Gables is preparing to start the approval process for its project in the first half of this year.

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