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Posted at 6:55 PM ET, 03/18/2010

How Rockville Pike got the way it is

By washingtonpost.com editors

By Ken Hurdle
Rockville

The author of the March 12 letter “White Flint is too crowded already” had it backward. I’ve been involved from the beginning of the review of the White Flint Sector Plan on many levels: the Citizens Advisory Group, the steering committee appointed by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC), and the board of directors for the Friends of White Flint. I’m also on the MNCPPC Zoning Advisory Panel, which is reviewing the Montgomery County zoning code.

As a part of these groups, I have access to tremendous amounts of information, and it all points to the same things: The traffic on Rockville Pike is a result of sprawling land-use patterns that spurred car-dependent strip malls and a road design that was supposed to encourage higher vehicle speeds but resulted only in discouraging walking. Study after study has shown that slowing down vehicles actually allows traffic to move more smoothly and safely.

The “new” White Flint needs to be pedestrian- and bike-friendly, easy to travel and aesthetically pleasing, with excellent parks and public spaces. It needs to generate jobs and lively places of entertainment. It needs to create a sense of community.

The writer’s suggestion that we just continue more of the same old suburban sprawl as a solution to an overcrowded pike reminds me of another Yogi Berra quote, as well: “It’s deja vu all over again.”

By washingtonpost.com editors  | March 18, 2010; 6:55 PM ET
 
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