WMCCA Newsletter


WEST MONTGOMERY COUNTY
CITIZENS ASSOCIATION NEWSLETTER

An Archive of past newsletters, back to the January 2003 issue, is now available on this website.

February 2009



President's Letter
Carol Van Dam Falk

A new day is dawning.  The Obama Administration is just getting started, but the President is committed to redoubling our efforts to protect and preserve our environment, as well as improving public transportation and transportation planning, with an eye toward green jobs.  In a White House statement, Mr. Obama vowed to invest heavily in public transportation, saying, “Public transit not only reduces the amount of time individuals spend commuting, but also has significant benefits to air quality, public health and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”  The administration will be working with state and local governments to create new and effective public transport systems and modernize the aging urban public transit system.

That’s where Councilman Marc Elrich comes in.  He’s working to convince County Executive Ike Leggett and the rest of the County Council to re-evaluate our approach toward solving Montgomery County traffic congestion and lowering our emissions.  Right now, if we do nothing, our carbon emission numbers will increase by 48 percent by 2030, and if we adopt California’s standard, our emission levels will increase by 22 percent by 2030.  Neither scenario is acceptable.

Mr. Elrich has a transit network plan that focuses on moving people between the region’s residential areas and job centers concentrated along I-270, Route 355, and parts of Silver Spring.  His plan involves rapid buses that are more like aerodynamic cars than today’s buses, as well as more comfortable and fuel-efficient, giving people a reason to switch out of their cars into buses.  Mr. Elrich sees a modern bus network as more advantageous than light rail for the recently approved Purple Line and proposed Corridor Cities Transitway.  He is in discussions with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, and more scoping meetings will take place between Mr. Elrich’s office and the Maryland Highway Administration, the Maryland Transit Authority, and the Maryland Department of Transportation, and as well as with Montgomery County agencies.

We can all participate in this process by asking questions and attending meetings – and we can leave our cars behind and rideshare, bicycle, walk, and bus to work, to errands, and to recreation.  

Planning and Zoning Report by George Barnes

West Montgomery has joined C. O. North in an appeal of a Department of Permitting Services ruling that Nextel is not required to file for and obtain a Special Exception to construct a telecommunication facility at the privately owned Cabin John Fire Department station on Falls Road.  WMCCA worked hard to have just such a requirement placed in the telecommunication legislation that the County Council adopted into law several years ago.  We believe that this requirement still exists and is necessary if we are to maintain some degree of control, or at least input, into what kind of equipment is placed in our neighborhoods and the equipment’s setback, appearance and screening from adjoining properties. 

Environmental Report – by Ginny Barnes

Greenbriar Local Park:  Last week, Governor O'Malley issued a press release announcing the use of Program Open Space funds for the construction costs on the Greenbriar Local Park on Glen Road. WMCCA worked closely with Park and Planning on the Facility Plan for this park since it includes much needed recreational facilities not available in the Potomac area including a soccer field, but the site is also environmentally sensitive.  Protecting the nearby Greenbriar Branch stream was also a priority.  However, the press release claims the park will serve a projected annual attendance of 50,000 visits!  During the design phase, Park and Planning did not even conduct a traffic study, reasoning that since Glen Road is designated a Rustic Road and only 70 parking spaces were planned, the site would serve no more than 40 visits per weekday at peak traffic times.  Where did 50,00 visits a year come from?
 
Pepco Tree Cutting: WMCCA has received a number of calls about roadside trees being cut or marked in red for cutting – with no explanation – observed on Seneca Road, Route 118, and even along Persimmon Tree Road.  Initial research has shown that Pepco is working with State Forestry on a project to eliminate what they call "nuisance trees" from roadsides with power lines.  Ever since Pepco invoked “homeland security” to cut everything that grows beneath the right-of-way for high voltage transmission lines, they have become bolder and more aggressive in the destruction of our roadside trees.  What do they consider constitutes a “nuisance tree?” 
 


West Montgomery County Citizens Association Newsletter


P. O. Box 59335
Potomac, MD 20854-9335
President - Carol Van Dam Falk, 301 963-6779
Newsletter - Lois Williams

The Newsletter is published monthly, and the Board of Directors meets each month. We welcome any suggestions for upcoming meeting topics and ways to further utilize our web site (www.wmcca.org).

Check the web site for information on issues we are working on.