2014 | News

Councilmembers Want To Stop Old Georgetown Road Redesign

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A group of councilmembers don’t want a redo of Old Georgetown Road in White Flint unless Montgomery County and the State Highway Administration agree to a more pedestrian-friendly road design.

Seven councilmembers put their name behind a capital budget amendment to be introduced Tuesday that would allow Old Georgetown Road between Grand Park Avenue and Hoya Street to be rebuilt only once — and only to the four-lane width prescribed by the 2010 White Flint Sector Plan.

Controversy over the county’s working designs for the road has been swirling for weeks, pitting residents and smart growth advocates against county officials who said they were upset by claims the county was “sabotaging” the pedestrian- and bike-friendly vision for a changing White Flint.

Last week, Councilmember Roger Berliner criticized the direction the county’s redesign is going.

Working designs for a rebuild of that part of Old Georgetown Road would maintain its six thru-lane structure with turning lanes almost the length of the section. Lindsay Hoffman, executive director of the Friends of White Flint nonprofit, said that would make the section of road feel more like an eight-lane highway.

State Highway officials, who have jurisdiction over the road, have said the road can’t be made smaller until the amount of daily vehicle traffic dies down. County officials have said they can easily rebuild the road a second time to White Flint Sector Plan standards.

The budget amendment to be introduced Tuesday would allow the county and state to rebuild the road only when it’s ready to build it to the four thru-lane and two left-turn lane configuration with six-foot wide bike lanes going each direction.

A Council public hearing is set on Nov. 25 at 1:30 p.m. To make an amendment to the capital budget, which the Council approved earlier this year, at least six of the nine councilmembers must vote for it.