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Preliminary Recommendations for MARC Rail Communities Plan Presented to Planning Board

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, presented the preliminary recommendations for the MARC Rail Communities Plan to the Planning Board on Thursday, October 19. This master plan, launched in 2015, evaluates land use, zoning, design and access conditions at the Maryland Area Regional Commuter (MARC) stations in Boyds and Germantown.

The MARC Rail Communities Plan focuses on ways of improving the transit station areas in Boyds and Germantown in a manner consistent with the character and scale of these historic communities. Planning recommendations follow four principles:

- Preserve the historic character of the Boyds and Germantown communities.

- Connect Boyds and Germantown, both internally and externally, to ensure a viable range of transportation choices, including expanded MARC ridership, improved pedestrian and bicycle mobility, and efficient vehicular travel.

- Sustain the area’s natural resources while acknowledging and respecting the area’s environmental and infrastructure constraints.

- Renew the Boyds and Germantown station areas with new uses that support MARC commuter rail service, preserve and enhance community character, and serve community residents.

More specific recommendations are contained in the current draft of the plan. They include proposed and realigned roads in Boyds, separated bike lanes in Germantown, and expanded pedestrian and bike facilities along Great Seneca Highway. A network of high quality parks, trails and community gathering places is recommended for both Boyds and Germantown.

In Boyds, the Rural Village Center Overlay Zone is recommended to retain the historic setback patterns in residential and commercial areas. The plan also recommends that the current Germantown Transit Mixed Use Overlay Zone remains in place to facilitate the use of building lot terminations under the optional method of development.

Principles for the MARC Rail Communities Plan were established with the help of a four-day, public design workshop held in March 2016 at the Upcounty Regional Services Center. The purpose of this event was to gain feedback from public officials and the community about various aspects of the rail station areas in Boyds and Germantown. A visioning exercise that followed presentations by agency representatives provided initial ideas for the plan related to road access, parking, pedestrian and bicycle facilities, historic preservation and other topics. The event enabled all stakeholders to participate and become vested in the ultimate planning vision.

The working draft of the MARC Rail Communities Plan will be presented to the Planning Board in November and a public hearing about the plan will be held in December 2017.


Top: An artists’ rendition of an aerial view from the intersection of Middlebrook Road and Crystal Rock Drive from the MARC Rail Communities Plan.

Next: The general concept of the proposed planned improvements to the Germantown MARC train station.

Next: The general concept of the proposed planned improvements to the Boyds MARC train station.

Next: The potential Boyds MARC train station possibility.

Next: The potential Germantown MARC train station possibility.

Illustrations from the Montgomery County Planning Department’s MARC Rail Communities Plan briefing to the Planning Board.

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