Planners to discuss Montrose Parkway extension in White Flint -- Gazette.Net


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Some people are worried that a plan to extend Montrose Parkway from Rockville Pike to Parklawn Drive would make it harder for local residents to get across the railroad tracks.

The project’s goal is to reduce congestion, and improve safety and access, according to a State Highway Administration presentation.

The SHA has offered two alternatives. One calls for closing Randolph Road at the railroad crossing to reduce accidents and establish a quiet zone. The other keeps the road open.

SHA recommended closing the Randolph Road crossing because of the high number of accidents, according to Montgomery County Planning Board documents.

Not everyone is on board with getting rid of the crossing.

Barnaby Zall of Friends of White Flint compared the plan to alien Vogons in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” who destroyed the Earth to make way for a hyperspace bypass. In a blog on the group’s website, he wrote that building the parkway — especially if it means eliminating the Randolph Road crossing — would make it harder for residents east of the railroad tracks to get to the rest of White Flint.

Chad Salganik, president of the Randolph Civic Association, said people in his area want to keep the at-grade railroad crossing at Randolph Road. While a parkway would be great for through traffic, he said, many residents would rather use the Randolph Road crossing than navigate an interchange for local trips.

“We like that connectivity,” he said. “To remove connectivity in favor of a parkway would be a mistake in this instance.”

Zall wrote that “Hitchhiker’s” author Douglas Adams “did warn us about the danger of letting off-ramps overwhelm neighborhoods.”

“Sometimes you destroy worlds, just so cars can move a little faster,” Zall wrote.

Salganik is not opposed to building a parkway, but he doesn’t see it as a replacement for smaller, local roads to connect the White Flint area.

“One of the hallmarks of the White Flint Sector Plan is dense urban planning,” he said. “... To go with a high-speed parkway at the expense of the local road if you can have both just seems at odds with the White Flint Sector Plan.”

The Montgomery County Planning Board is scheduled to discuss the Montrose Parkway extension at its meeting on Thursday.

ewaibel@gazette.net