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County Council OKs MARC Rail Communities Sector Plan

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, announces that the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to approve the MARC Rail Communities Sector Plan on Tuesday, April 30. This plan, launched in 2016 and approved by the Planning Board in 2018, evaluates land use, zoning, design and access conditions at the Maryland Area Regional Commuter stations in Boyds and Germantown.

Plan recommendations aim to improve the transit station areas in Boyds and Germantown according to four principles:

Connect the Boyds and Germantown station areas to their respective communities, while ensuring a viable range of transportation choices. Recommendations include reducing dependency on cars and vehicles for all daily station trips by improving the pedestrian and bicycle environments, expanding public transportation options and managing roadways to minimize traffic backups and congestion. The plan recommends a road diet on Middlebrook Road, reducing the lanes adjacent to Seneca Valley High School from six to four and adding facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists. These initiatives will improve safety for walking and biking in the area, following Vision Zero principles for eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries by 2030.

Renew the Boyds and Germantown station areas by encouraging adaptive reuse of existing structures and design of infill projects that reflect the scale and character of their historic surroundings. Sensitively expand commuter parking areas in ways that support historic districts and create streetscapes that enrich community identities.

Preserve the historic character of Boyds and Germantown and interpret the shared history and historic resources of the communities to strengthen their identity and sense of place. Ensure future development and transportation improvements are compatible with the historic settings to maintain their integrity.

Sustain the area’s natural assets by protecting and enhancing tree canopy and water resources and adapting the built environment to manage storm water runoff. Celebrate the area’s distinctive setting while managing infrastructure and utilities to support community character and public health.

Development of the MARC Rail Communities Sector Plan relied on extensive public outreach, including an intensive four-day design workshop in Germantown and a series of community meetings designed to solicit the views, concerns and suggestions of affected residents, businesspeople and other stakeholders.

The plan builds on the recommendations of the 1985 Boyds Master Plan, 1989 Germantown Master Plan and 2009 Germantown Employment Area Sector Plan.


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 MARCH Rail Communities Plan.

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

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