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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 estab