The first of the long-awaited Georgia Ave. improvements in Montgomery Hills was implemented recently when the State Highway Administration (SHA) lowered the speed limit to 30 mph (from 35 mph) on Georgia Ave. from Spring St. to Wheaton. This speed limit was recommended in the Planning Department’s Montgomery Hills/Forest Glen Sector Plan adopted a few years ago. The speed reduction was just one of the significant improvements proposed for the corridor, including a green median, removal of the unsafe reversible lanes, wider sidewalks, a cycle track on the west side of the road, pedestrian-safety enhancements, a reconfigured Beltway interchange, and a new traffic light at Flora Lane.
A completed SHA design is expected by the end of 2022. Funding has been allocated for most of the necessary right-of-way acquisitions, and the county and state are cooperating to secure funds for utility relocation and construction. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen secured one million dollars in federal funding for the project in the recent infrastructure bill that Congress approved. Utility relocation could start as early as January 2024. State Delegates Jared Solomon and Lorig Charkoudian have worked tirelessly on this project to ensure that it continues to move forward and to secure necessary funding.
The second annual Montgomery Hills Street Fest took place on Saturday, September 21, 2019 on Columbia Boulevard. The Street Fest attracted more than 1,000 residents of the communities along Georgia Avenue for an afternoon of live music, local food, diverse vendors, and socializing.
Silver Spring brewery Denizens provided a selection of local beer and wide range of artisans, including North Woodside painter Gavin McSkean, sold art, jewelry and other handcrafts. Musical acts included Suzanne Brindamour, the Einstein High School Jazz Combo, and the Airport 77s.
The Street Fest also provided an opportunity to learn about initiatives underway to improve the Georgia Avenue corridor. The Montgomery County Planning Department discussed the draft sector plan update for the area, Friends of Forest Glen and Montgomery Hills answered questions about the state’s plan for improving Georgia Avenue, and local politicians pressed the flesh while giving their perspective on the future of Montgomery Hills.
Local elected officials in attendance included Senator Chris Van Hollen, Representative Jamie Raskin, County Executive Marc Elrich, as well as county council members Tom Hucker, Hans Reimer and Evan Glass. Members of the Maryland state assembly such as Jeff Waldstreicher and Emily Shetty also gave short speeches and talked with residents.
The Street Fest could not happen without volunteers to organize and staff the event. Many thanks to the North Woodside residents who generously volunteered their time and energy at this year’s Fest. Special thanks go out to North Woodside residents Heather Lair, Genevieve McDowell Owen, and Melinda Schnare who were part of the organizing team. If you are interested in helping to organize or volunteer at next year’s Street Fest, contact the organizers.