Transportation makes growth possible. Land use planning makes growth possible. But too often these are viewed as separate processes, when in reality they have huge effects on each other.
Opportunities abound in Gaithersburg. The Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) will connect our western side to the Metro system and to points north. It runs right through the middle of our most vibrant economic corridor, home to NIST, Johns Hopkins’ planned Science City development, MedImmune, and much more. The CCT will spur growth of job centers and increased dining and shopping from Rio and Crowne through Belward Farm, Kentlands/Lakelands, and Parklands.
On the east side of the city, the planned route 355 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) runs past Olde Towne and LakeForest and through what were once our major shopping and job centers as well as the new Watkins Mill Interchange developments. Lakeforest is ripe for redevelopment, and the city is working with developers on planning a new mixed-use development. The IBM site on 355 near Montgomery Village Avenue, once a major job center but now nearly vacant, is an opportunity for the future. There is office space along Quince Orchard Road and Clopper Road and throughout our city that can be redeveloped into mixed use sites, wet labs, and other more modern uses.
Olde Towne is another opportunity where progress has been slow, but where there is much hope for the future. I will work hard to bring more shopping and dining to Olde Towne and to our other activity centers, to bring improved transit, to bring in more jobs and to support startups as well as established companies. We need to work with our Planning Department and with resources at the county and state to move plans forward and to coordinate these efforts. Did you know that the MARC trains, that stop in Olde Towne and near the MVA (and the new Parklands development near Watkins Mill) will run in both directions at some future time? Today, our service runs south, into the District, during the morning rush and north, back home, in the evenings. Having service running in both directions throughout the day is another, immense opportunity that could bring jobs to our city without adding to congestion.
Gaithersburg is not a bedroom community – we have more jobs in the city than we have workers, making us a job center. I want to see us grow the job base as mixed-use development, with corresponding new housing and transportation. The vision is to build the economic opportunities for all our residents without adding to gridlock.
Also see this post: Strategy for Growth